By EMMANUEL MOGBEDE
ABUJA- Security around the Abuja Eagle Square, venue of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Special Convention is tight as security operatives are seen keeping surveillance.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this is especially as the processes leading to the election of the party’s 2023 presidential candidate kicks off.
Most roads leading to the Eagle Square, venue of the convention had been condone off by security operatives making vehicular movement within the area and Wuse two from the Nitel junction through Aminu Kano Crescent difficult.
There is also a grid-lock on Ibrahim Babangida way in Wuse two as commuters were seen trekking to cover some distance.
As delegates continue to arrive Abuja for accreditation, journalists were seen hanging around the APC national secretariat waiting for accreditation tags to cover the event.
Most journalists had to park their cars far away because of the traffic situation to trek down to the party’s national secretariat located on Blantyre Street in Wuse two.
“I had to park my car at a junction far away to trek down here,” one of the journalists said.
Another one said: “getting here was not funny today. It’s Herculean getting here, it took me like one hour from Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent to get here.
“Going out from this place is even a problem, and I wouldn’t want to try that, at least not now, I advise anyone that doesn’t have anything serious in this area to just remain at home.
“It is hell driving from one point to another in Abuja today. I was in one hold up for almost one hour thirty minutes,” said Bode Olagoke, Deputy Online Editor of Blueprint Newspaper.
Another journalist who does not want his name mentioned while narrating his experience, said it took him over 40 minutes to access the Federal Secretariat located in the central area.
Posters and billboards of presidential aspirants are seen at various locations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), from the city gate to Eagle Square and the party’s national secretariat.
Investigation by NAN revealed that most hotels in the FCT had been fully booked ahead of time.
No fewer than 2,340 delegates from the 774 Local Government Areas in the country and Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are expected to cast thier votes to elect the APC’s 2023 presidential candidate.
Though 23 presidential aspirants bought the party’s presidential Expression of Interest and Nomination forms, 13 were cleared by the 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 numbers of aspirants that would be contesting the party’s 2023 presidential ticket at the primary to those from the South.
NAN also reports that 11 governors from the North had in a statement on Saturday, announced their decision to support power shift to the South after the end of the tenure of Buhari.
The governors, while urging presidential aspirants from the northern part to step down from the race, said, ”the decision to support power shift to the South is in the best interest of the country”.
As political pamutations and calculations continued ahead of the primaries, it is expected that the number of the party’s presidential aspirants would be further brought down.
Some of the party’s stakeholders that spoke with NAN on grounds of anornimity, said if the party failed to arrive at a concensus candidate before the end of the day, it may end up going for elective primaries with four aspirants.
This they said include: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Sen. Bola Tinubu, a former two-term governor of Lagos State and one of the party’s leaders, Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi and Rotimi Amaechi, the immediate past Minister of Transportation (NAN)