The All Progressive Congress (APC) on Tuesday announced a shortlist of five aspirants pruning the list from 13 following a meeting between APC governors and the National Working Committee of the party.
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state who doubles as the chairman, Northern Governors Forum made the disclosure in an interview on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily.
The APC will hold its presidential primaries today at the Eagle Square in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital as the election to pick a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari reaches its crescendo.
Lalong disclosed that the five persons shortlisted are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi and Rotimi Amaechi.
He said the five aspirants were shortlisted following rating of the APC presidential screening committee which was led by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. The committee ranked Prof. Osinbajo as the top aspirant.
“I told you that consensus is possible because right from yesterday up to today we have been doing consultations like Mr President said, “I give you the opportunity to work on it,” Lalong explained.
Noting that, “The APC governors and National Working Committee will continue on that consultations. As at yesterday, we were able to even reduce for us, we made recommendation of about five persons, you can imagine. From 23, to recommendation of 13, not disqualifying anybody, then within that 13 that was graded by the screening committee, we now looked at it and for us recommended. That was jointly done between the progressive governors and member of the NWC.
“For our own recommendation as of this morning, we recommended five people and in alphabetical order they are His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu; His Excellency, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi; His Excellency, John Kayode Fayemi; His Excellency, David Umahi and His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
“Those were the ones who made recommendation and we said we should put them forward. Don’t forget, that all these delegates also came from different states and it is the governors that brought them, so the governors themselves are in touch with their delegates at every moment in time. That is what consensus means.
“So at the end of the day, what we are saying is that when we discuss this, it will not stop anyone from contesting because our recommendation is to allow us give direction to some of our delegates who are also waiting for direction from each of the various States.
Asked why this five people were recommended, he said, “I told you that the screening committee submitted a report and from that report and even when they did not say we are disqualifying anybody, they made sure that everybody had grades, they were graded. If you go into an interview like that, you are graded.
“They will say this is our cut off mark you are moving to the next level but we think that within the cut off mark these people scored more marks that are recommended, so it is out of that, we now said if this was the recommendation, we cannot go with everybody but we are not saying we are stopping anybody but for us we believe that these are the people that will go in.
Quizzed on how the APC presidential candidate will emerge, Lalong said, “As of yesterday we gave them a hint and we said out of these five people if you can all go and sit down and within yourselves bring out one person because the President said out of these, anyone selected, I am confortable with.
“So the next phase is to allow the contestants to also go back, sit down and possibly bring out one person, otherwise we are moving into the elections.