‘An extreme joke’ — 5 presidential hopefuls reject APC governors’ list for primary


Five presidential hopefuls of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have rejected the “frontline candidates” recommended by governors to contest the party’s primary.


Simon Lalong, governor of Plateau, in an interview on Sunrise Daily, a Channels TV programme, said APC governors recommended five presidential hopefuls to participate in the primary.


The hopefuls recommended to contest, according to Lalong, are Rotimi Amaechi, former minister of transportation; Bola Tinubu, former Lagos governor; Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti governor; David Umahi, governor of Ebonyi, and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.


In the interview on Tuesday, Lalong said all other presidential hopefuls have been advised to step down, adding that the “frontline candidates” recommended by the governors are backed by the national working committee (NWC) members, and have been endorsed by President Muhammadu Buhari.


But in a statement issued after a meeting on Tuesday, the presidential hopefuls — Ben Ayade, governor of Cross River; Emeka Nwajiuba, former minister of state for education; Ogbonnaya Onu, ex-minister for science and technology; Rochas Okorocha; former governor of Imo, and Tein Jack-Rich — described the decision as a “joke”.


“In the past few hours, we have been bombarded with calls and messages from my supporters and concerned Nigerians on a list of five presidential aspirants submitted to President Buhari to choose from,” the statement issued by Onu, on behalf of his colleagues, reads.


“As long as we are concerned, no list has been submitted to Mr. President. The move by the governors is considered a joke taken to the extreme with the aim of playing with the intellect of Nigerians, particularly us from the South-East.

“Mr President’s directive is very simple; that all presidential aspirants, including those from the North, should meet and harmonise in order to produce a single candidate. As it stands, we have not been consulted or attended a meeting where it was agreed that such names be sent to Mr President.


“In the so-called list, out of the five names, only one was selected from the South-East, and we are talking about fairness and justice to the South. What the Governors have done is a mere picnic in the park. These are the same governors talking about equity, justice and fairness, yet in a clandestine manner, purportedly sidelined the South East.


“In the absence of any harmonised agreement, no list has been submitted to Mr. President. What they have done is just nothing but a charade which is bound to fail.


“We also have it on good authority that the majority of these Governors have been promised and also given various forms of gratifications to thwart the process in favour of one aspirant and such grand plot will fail woefully.


 “More so, the party led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu remains the official organ of the party through which decisions taken by stakeholders in the party will be communicated and acted upon. In the absence of that, any other move remains null and void.


“We urge all well-meaning Nigerians to disregard such information, as we remain in the race, hence no consensus agreement has been reached amongst all contestants.”

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