- Only nine aspirants serious with contest -Source
- Osinbajo, Lawan, Tinubu, Umahi, Okorocha lead race
- Others buy Senate forms, pay N120m
There were indications that of the 25 presidential aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) only 9 of them are really in contest of the position.
The 9, who are said to be seriously in contest are: APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha; the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello; Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi; President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan and former governor of Zamfara State, Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima.
However, investigation has shown that about 60 per cent of the Presidential aspirants of the party, also obtained nomination forms of the party’s Senatorial ticket. For them, it is a situation of if the Presidential ticket did not work, the Senatorial ticket would work.
A party source revealed that no Presidential aspirant with Senate Nomination forms would be denied Senatorial ticket.
The cost of Presidential nomination forms and Senatorial nomination forms is put at N120 million. While the Presidential nomination forms cost N100 million, the Senatorial nomination forms is N20 million.
According to the party source, no aspirant would pay N120 million and would be denied the two tickets.
The source explained the reason most of the Presidential aspirants have picked the Senatorial nomination forms.
Among those, who were alleged to have also picked the Senatorial nomination forms are: Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; former Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha; Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi; former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio; former APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and some others.
Investigations also revealed that some Presidential aspirants joined the race because they believed the ticket was going to be zoned to their zones.
Such aspirants that entered the contest on zoning are Fayemi and Ibikunle Amosun (South West), Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Senator Ken Nnamani, Chief Ikeobasi Mokelu, Senator Godswill Akpabio (South East and South South) and Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima and Senator Ahmed Lawan (North)
Also some were drafted into the contest by some other aspirants. Such aspirants are: Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Chief Timipre Sylva, a source said
A party chieftain said the surge in the aspirations of party members for presidential ticket was the inability of the party to categorically state the zone its Presidential ticket would go to as a result of the emergence of the National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
Adamu had kicked against zoning of the Presidential ticket of the party to the South as a sitting Senator. Recently, also at the Presidential Villa, he told newsmen that the APC had not zoned its Presidential ticket.
A Chieftain of APC, reacting to this said: “The utterances of the National Chairman on zoning has led to the emergence of a number of the Presidential aspirants, including aspirants from the North, who were hitherto not willing to join the race.
“This might have dangerous consequences for the party, if not properly addressed.
“Proper zoning of the Presidential ticket would have reduced the litany of aspirants and possible reduce the impending crisis in the party.”
Some of the aspirants, who collected and returned their nomination forms are: Amosun, Onu; former Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole; Amaechi, Fayemi, Osinbajo, Tinubu and Nwajiuba.
Others are Umahi, Okorocha; Gov. of Jigawa State, Abubakar Badaru; Pastor Tunde Bakare, Dr. Ibrahim Bello Dauda, Dr. Nicholas Felix, Mrs. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye, former Senate President, Dr. Ken Nnamani; former APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige and Governor of Central Bank, Mr. Godwin Emefiele are said to have withdrawn from the contest after obtaining the Nomination forms.
The party source said: “APC is expected to raise enough money to prosecute its Presidential election since it is not expected to put its hands in the government vault to finance its elections.
“Also, the party is expected to be financially strong after the sales of forms and elections. Beyond the Expression of interest and nomination Forms, there are other monies some aspirants are asked to pay.”
In a statement issued by the Iyke Ekeoma, from the Media office of the Senate President, he said: “The Senate President joined the race after sustained pressure from concerned compatriots representing different geo-political divides. As a member of the National Assembly since 1999, many believe the country needs a man endowed with such experience to navigate the polity.
“Remarkably, Lawan hails from Yobe State in the North-East. That part of the country is the only zone that has never produced a President since Independence in 1960.
“The first president, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe emerged from what is today referred to as South-East. President Shehu Shagari hailed from the North- West just like Presidents Musa Yar’adua and Muhammadu Buhari.
“The South- West produced Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo while Dr. Goodluck Jonathan filled the slot of the South -South.”
Meanwhile, the party yesterday inaugurated the screening committee for the governorship and National Assembly aspirants. Inaugurating the committee, the Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Abubakar Kyari, said: “We have a very strong party. We have a big party. And we’re committed that we deliver the right candidates for the forthcoming elections. We have no doubt that the distinguished ladies and gentleman.”
Also, the National Organizing Secretary, Alhaji Suleiman Arungun, gave a break down of the aspirants.
He said: “We have so far, 145 aspirants for the governorship and we have constituted three panels to screen the governorship aspirant; 351 Senatorial aspirants that have also returned their senatorial aspiration forms, while we have 1,197 aspirants for the House of Representatives with 10 panels.
“The panels for the Senate is going to be four. In addition to that, we have the guideline of our great party that will be given to each of the panels for screening and indeed the Appeal Committee.
“We also have a set of guideline an aspirant assessment and verification form that will be given to each of the committee for the screening and also each of the panel will be given collections of the forms names, expression of interest forms and the guidelines of our party, each of these for guidance.
“We expect that this work will be done between today and tomorrow. Like the previous speakers have said, this are gentleman, who are also conversant with this type of job. We believe this is not going to be a big assignment to all of you and we pray you will do justice to all the aspirants so that by 2023, we will have very credible candidates that are going to contest on the platform of our great party.
“As we all know, with the love people have for the APC, we also appreciate to have credible leaders that will add value to the party in 2023 election.”