The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has commenced the screening of its presidential aspirants after about two weeks of delays and postponements.
The screening is ongoing at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
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, it was gathered 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.
APC stalwarts and presidential aspirants at the party’s pre-election screening
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.
Ex president Jonathan had rejected the form procured for him by some groups. However, his name continued to be linked to the APC ticket even as his membership in the party has become a subject of public discourse.
The verdict of the Federal High Court in Yenagoa, which cleared Jonathan to contest another term, also added to the speculations. Coincidentally, the national convention was postponed on that same Friday that the judgement was given. Jonathan is currently in Milan, Italy, attending a high-level advisory board meeting of the European Corporate Council on Africa and the Middle East (ECAM Council).
This may have put to rest the speculations he would run for president in 2023 on the platform of the ruling party.
At the close of the sale of forms on May 10, 28 nomination forms and expressions of interest were bought by/for different aspirants.
Akinwumi Adesina, the President of African Development Bank, had rejected the form, while the Governor of Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, did not submit the form procured for him by proxies.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, and his colleague at the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, opted to stay on their jobs.