By John Ikani
Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has commenced screening of aspirants seeking its presidential ticket for the 2023 poll.
The screening ongoing at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja is being held amid tight security ahead of the APC presidential convention slated for June 6.
Heritage Times (HT) gathered that former National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, is leading the seven-man Presidential Screening Committee (PSC).
Initially, the National Working Committee had fixed the screening for May 14-15. It, however, was postponed till May 23.
The exercise was subsequently postponed indefinitely by the party, while the national convention was postponed from between May 29 and 30 to June 6 and 8.
Although journalists are being barred from the venue, local online medium Cable News reports that 23 aspirants will be screened.
They are former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa; Robert Boroffice, the senator representing Ondo North; Uju Ken-Ohanenye, the only female in the race.
Also to be screened are Nicholas Felix, a U.S based pastor; Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State; Tunde Bakare, a popular pastor; former Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State; former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu; former governor of Zamfara, Ahmed Sani; immediate past Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole.
Others on the list are former Senate President, Ken Nnamani; Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; former Governor of Akwa-Ibom, Godswill Akpabio; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; and former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha.
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State; Tein Jack-Rich; immediate past Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu; Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River; and a former Minister of Information, Ikeobasi Mokelu are also part of the aspirants awaiting screening.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan is not on the list though he has been linked with the ticket.
It would be recalled that more than 20 party faithful comprising serving members of the President’s cabinet, governors, lawmakers, and business leaders, among others have picked the APC presidential nomination and expression of interest forms sold at N100 million.
While the presidential hopefuls paid for the forms themselves in some cases, various interest groups purchased the nomination tickets for their preferred aspirants – a move that was rejected by some of the beneficiaries.
Among those who have publicly rejected the APC nomination and expression of interest forms purchased for them included the former President Goodluck Jonathan and the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina.
The names of the duo, as well as that of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, have been removed from the list of those to be screened.