The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Screening Committee, yesterday, screened 11 of the party’s 23 presidential hopefuls, ahead of the primary election scheduled to take place between June 6 and 8 at Eagles Square, Abuja. The exercise commenced shortly after the committee’s inauguration.
The inauguration of the seven-man screening committee, chaired by former National Chairman of APC, Chief John Oyegun, took place at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, with journalists barred from covering the event and the screening.
Those screened yesterday included former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu; former governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun; former Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi; Jigawa State Governor Abubakar Badaru; and former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba.
Others also screened were Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi, Felix Nicholas, Senator Ajayi Borroffice, former Senate President Ken Nnamani, Mrs. Uju Ken-Ohaneye, and former Governor of Zamfara State, Sani Yerima.
The screening, which ought to have been done last Monday, started yesterday and was scheduled to end today, with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, and others on standby for today’s exercise.
Tinubu, who arrived the venue at 5:50pm, was accompanied by Hon. James Faleke and Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, among others. He was screened at 8:20 pm, while Sanwo-Olu left at the time the committee was about to screen Tinubu. Tinubu left Transcorp at 8:56pm but refused to grant interview to journalists, who had laid siege to him.
But speaking with journalists, Pastor Tunde Bakare said he would not challenge the authority of the party if he was asked to step down for the party to come up with a consensus arrangement, because the party was supreme.
Bakare stated, “The party supremacy is the utmost essence. You cannot force your way through a party’s structure. The party has the final say. And when we get to that bridge, we will know how to cross it.
“The screening exercise is to check who is guilty and who is not. And it depends on the people, who are doing the screening. By God’s grace, we have complied with everything demanded for. We have supplied every information.
“And every information given is accurate and there is no miscommunication anywhere. Therefore, we will listen to what they have to say to us. And we trust God for accurate answers and deserving answers to all questions.”
On her part, the only female aspirant, Ken-Ohaneye, also said she would step down if the party asked her to do so, provided the party would be willing to carry on with her economic blueprints.
Ken-Ohaneye said, “I want you to know that we are a family politically, and if I am asked by the party to step down, I will not challenge the party, because, like they say, charity begins at home.
“I will never see it as a problem to my party, because I am going to respect them. I am going to do whatever it takes to promote my party and make them relax so that they can make a better decision.
“So, if their decision is to ask me to step down, I will not have choice than to step down. As long as they can carry over my blueprints on board, definitely, I will respect my party.”
She disclosed that the approach deployed by the screening committee was a huge incentive for her, as she was more relaxed in responding to questions and the conversation was very frank and straight to the point.
Other presidential aspirants to be screened today are Governor of Cross Rivers State, Professor Ben Ayade; President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan; Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello; Mr. Tein Jack-Rich; former Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu; former Minister of Information, Chief Ikeobasi Mokelu; former Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole; former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha (if allowed to attend from his detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC).
Culled from THISDAY