APC presidential primary: Delegates’ accreditation begins amid tight security
Delegate accreditation for the All Progressives Congress (APC) Special Convention for the presidential primary election is currently ongoing at the Abuja International Conference Centre amid tight security, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
NAN also reports that no fewer than 2,322 delegates from the 774 local government areas of the country are expected to vote at the presidential primary, including the six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The delegates, three from each local government area, were seen in different uniforms popularly called “aso-ebi”, especially those from the western and southern regions.
The delegates in a queue would cast their votes for their preferred aspirant that would emerge as the party’s 2023 presidential candidate.
Although 23 presidential aspirants bought the party’s presidential Expression of Interest and Nomination forms to contest the presidency, 13 were cleared by the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun Presidential Screening Committee.
President Muhammadu Buhari at a dinner with the party’s presidential aspirants on Saturday backed the rotation of power to the southern part of the country in 2023.
This limited the number of aspirants that would be contesting the presidential ticket at the primary to those from the South if a consensus candidate was not picked.
NAN also reports that 11 governors from the North had in a statement on Saturday, announced their decision to support a power shift to the South
after Buhari’s tenure.
The governors, while urging presidential aspirants from the northern part of the country to step down from the 2023 presidential race,
said, “the decision to support a power shift to the south is in the best interest of the country.”
Meanwhile, there is watertight security at the Abuja Eagle Square located in the Central Business District, venue of the APC special convention, as vehicular and human traffic had been restricted.
All roads leading to the Eagle Square had been cordoned off, with mobile policemen positioned at strategic positions.
There is also gridlock in most parts of the city, including Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Ibrahim Babangida Way and other areas, as commuters are seen trekking to cover some distance.
Some residents of the FCT said the day should have been declared a public holiday, while journalists slated to cover the event struggle to get accreditation tags from the convention accreditation committee as they are seen hanging around.
The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, enters Day 2 of its presidential primaries and National Convention today.
Day 1 saw the ruling party hold meetings after meetings to reach an agreement on a consensus candidate, which we understand, proved abortive.
From all indications, it looks like the ruling party would settle for the primary election proper and allow the ad hoc delegates to decide the fate of these aspirants.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday told the Northern Governors elected on the platform of the party, that they should allow the delegates to decide, saying, “..Allow the delegates to decide. The Party must participate, nobody will appoint anybody.”
There was, however, confusion in the ruling party after the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, was said to have picked Senate President, Ahmad Lawan as the consensus candidate of the party.
This move was vehemently rejected by the Northern Governors, some members of the APC National Committee, and other chieftains of the party.
Moreso, the Northern governors went ahead to propose five candidates for the primary election in the persons of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Rotimi Amaechi, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; Kayode Fayemi and David Umahi.
The APC sold 28 forms to 28 different aspirants at the rate of N100 million each and 23 of these contestants were screened last week.
Among the 23, 13 of them were said to have passed the screening exercise, according to John Oyegun, Chairman of the party’s presidential screening committee, while 10 others were ‘disqualified’.
But the National Chairman of the party countered the Screening Committee’s report, saying that no aspirant was disqualified. He said that all the aspirants would battle it out for the party’s sole presidential ticket.
Also recall that three aspirants, namely: the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele; and the Minister of Petroleum for State, Timipreye Sylva; did not submit their forms, while former President, Goodluck Jonathan and Akinwumi Adesina did not show up for screening.
The APC has a total of 2,340 delegates who are set to cast their votes for the aspirants.
And from all indications, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chibuike Amaechi, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and Ahmed Lawan are the leading contenders for the party’s ticket.
Among the others ready to fight it out for the party’s flag are: former Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio; former Minister of Education for State, Emeka Nwajiuba; former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello; former National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, former Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu; former Ogun State governor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosu.
Others are Pastor Tunde Bakare, Cross River State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi, Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Jigawa governor Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and former Zamfara State governor, Sen. Ahmed Yerima.
According to the Electoral Act, all the candidates must agree to step down for one of them for a consensus to be reached and if this is not the case, they have to battle it out in the primaries.
The ruling All Progressives Congress has today and Wednesday to decide who bears its flag for the 2023 presidential election.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has already emerged as the presidential candidate of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP while Peter Obi, who dumped the PDP earlier, is now the flagbearer of the Labour Party, LP. Both men and their parties are keenly watching the developments in APC.
Follow this thread for updates and results of the APC presidential primary election.