ABUJA – As the ruling All Progressives Congress prepares to begin voting in today’s presidential primary election any moment from now, President Muhammadu Buhari is reported to have rejected the list of five names submitted to him by the APC Governors Forum following the avalanche of protests which has trailed the list.
Earlier today (Tuesday) seven presidential aspirants issued a joint statement condemning the list of five selected presidential aspirants submitted by the Governors Forum to President Buhari to choose a presidential flag bearer from.
The President, according to inside sources in the Presidential Villa is reported to have rejected the list as a result of complaints by other presidential aspirants, whom in joint statement complained of being marginalised in the selection process as against the President’s directive.
The source further revealed that Buhari has also instructed the National Chairman of the ruling party, Abdullahi Adamu to maintain status quo pending the outcome of the consultation process. The source said that Buhari was angry on the receipt of a joint memo from other presidential aspirants, who complained that they were not consulted before the compilation of the five names submitted to him.
While rejecting the list, Buhari mandated the governors to ensure that all aspirants be carried along in any decision on the matter.
Pleading anonymity, the source further revealed that Buhari maintained his earlier stance that all presidential aspirants from the entire zones must be consulted and should jointly agree to present a single candidate, saying that anything short of that won’t be acceptable to him.
“I can confirm to you that the President has rejected all the names given to him by the governors. The President wants all candidates to be properly consulted before any list is forwarded to him.
“As it stands, the President is unhappy with the complaints of marginalisation by other aspirants and he has asked the party Chairman to maintain the status quo,” the source said.
Sundiata Post recalls that the names submitted to the President in the morning by the governors are the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo; former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Governor Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti State); Rotimi Amaechi, former Minister of Transportation, and Governor Dave Umahi (Ebonyi State).
However in a swift reaction, seven other presidential aspirants rejected the list submitted to Buhari as most preferred by northern governors. The aspirants protested that they were not consulted before the northern governors arrived at the decision.
The aggrieved aspirants are Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade; former Minister for State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; former Minister for Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu; former Governor Rochas Okorocha and businessman Tein Jack-Rich. They made this known in a joint statement on Tuesday, distancing themselves from the list.
In what can be termed the confirmation of dispute in the list submitted by the governors, presidential aspirants from the South-East in another letter to Buhari requested him to select one of the aspirants from the South-East to emerge as party’s presidential candidate.
In the letter signed by the six aspirants from the South East Zone, they urged Buhari to intervene during the convention for “proper guidance”.
The letter was signed by Ikeobasi Mokelu; former ministers of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu; former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, and Mrs. Ken Uju-Ohanenye. Senator Rochas Okorocha was listed among signatories but didn’t append his signature.
In a similar development,the senior pastor of Citadel Global Community Church (CGCC), Tunde Bakare, dismissed the purported governors’ list saying that he is still in the race for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Bakare told newsmen on Tuesday afternoon that he had not been consulted by anyone in the party on the advice to step down.
“I have not heard. There are several news stories flying around, I have to be told officially. I have not been told.
“I will confirm the structure when I get to the venue (venue of the convention). But I remain in the race. I have not stepped down,” he said.
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello also met the President a few hours ago and insisted on contesting the election. He has angrily stormed our of the Northern APC governors’ meeting on Monday to protest his exclusion by the governors from the primary election.