Twenty-five of the 29 presidential aspirants that purchased the All Progressives Congress (APC) expression of interest and nomination forms are now in the frame to face the party’s screening panel later today having submitted their completed forms at press time last night.
The screening will last two days ahead of the primary slated for May 28.
Those who beat the deadline yesterday include Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; President African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwunmi Adesina; immediate past Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and Senate President Ahmad Lawan.
But the same could not be said of former President Goodluck Jonathan and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele both of whom did not turn in the forms bought for them by “friends and well-wishers.”
A source at the APC national secretariat said the two men “have up till midnight to submit their forms. But as at 9 pm, we have not seen them or their agents.”
Simultaneously, a group approached a Federal High Court, Abuja praying it to bar the former president from participating as a candidate in the next presidential election, while a Delta State High Court, Kwale, restrained the board of the CBN and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from stopping Emefile from seeking an elective post.
The Nation gathered that the legal directorate of the party on Thursday began the vetting of documents submitted by all aspirants with a view to determining the authenticity of the papers.
A source in the department said the party leadership learnt a big lesson from the last minute disqualification of the party’s governorship candidate and his deputy in Bayelsa State due to some lapses in the documentation of the then deputy governor-elect.
“We are going through all the papers filed by all the aspirants in order to avoid any avoidable mistakes. Anyone with past criminal records or convictions will not be allowed to contest. We want to mitigate any post-election litigation that can upturn our victory,” the source said.
Other presidential aspirants whose nomination forms were received at press time were former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; former Minister of Niger Delta Development, Sen. Godswill Akpabio; former Imo State governor, Sen. Rochas Okorocha; and former Ogun State governor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun.
Others were Pastor Tunde Bakare; Cross River State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade; his Ebonyi State counterpart, Gov. Dave Umahi; Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Minister of State, Education, Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba; former Senate President, Sen. Ken Nnamani; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; Jigawa State Governor Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and former Zamfara State governor, Sen. Ahmed Yerima.
Also on the list of presidential aspirants that filed their papers were Senator Ajayi Borroffice; the only female aspirant, Mrs Uju Kennedy Ohnenye; Pastor Nicholas Felix Nwagbo; former House of Representative Speaker Dimeji Bankole; former Minister of State, Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva; former Minister of Information, Chief Ikeobasi Mokelu; and Mr Tein Jack Rich.
Emefiele steps back from presidential contest
Central Bank (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele remained at his desk at the Abuja headquarters of the apex bank last night with no official word from him on his perceived presidential ambition.
Although sources close to his office said a statement would be issued to categorically state Emefiele’s position on the presidential race, there was no such statement at press time.
A CBN source said the governor was “on his seat in his office attending to official matters”.
The source said CBN officials were busy making arrangements for the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) scheduled for next week.
Emefiele, during a visit to President Buhari on Thursday, told reporters to ‘expect news’. He said he was having fun with speculations about his presidential ambition.