President Buhari has directed the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Adamu, to work with governors of the party and shortlist 10 presidential aspirants, from which he would pick one as his preferred successor.
The President issued the directive to Adamu on Thursday, before he departed for Malabo to attend African Union Extra-Ordinary Summit, a source with knowledge of the development said Friday, asking not to be identified.
The source further said that President Buhari gave Adamu approval to begin the screening of the aspirants. Although, it is uncertain whether the process has commenced as of Friday night, even as the party’s timeline for its primary slated for Sunday and Monday may be adjusted, following INEC’s readiness to approve a 7-day extension for political parties to conclude their primaries.
“It now appears the President is now ready to formally make his preferred successor known to the governors and party leaders and this should happen after they have selected 10 aspirants for him to choose from. So he is allowing the leaders to narrow the aspirants to 10 from about 23 aspirants that bought nomination forms and then he would pick his successor from that group of aspirants. This way, no one will say he is imposing a candidate on the party. So it is a win-win for everyone”, the authoritative source told THEWILL.
Some of the contenders in the APC are Vice President Yemi Osibanjo; former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu; ex-Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; former Minister of Niger Delta Development, Sen. Godswill Akpabio.
Others are Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade; Dave Umahi of Ebonyi; Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; ex-Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba and former Senate President, Sen. Ken Nnamani.
Also, Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar; ex-Zamfara State governor, Sen. Ahmed Yerima; former Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu; former Imo State governor, Sen. Rochas Okorocha and former Ogun state governor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun.
The party had said it would screen all aspirants that obtained its nomination forms, its National Organising Secretary, Suleiman Argungu, who made this known said, “As far as the party is concerned all the 28 aspirants that paid and picked the forms for the nomination as Presidential aspirants, nobody has formally written to us that he has withdrawn his aspiration. All the forms of the 28 aspirants will be taken to the screening committee at Transcorp Hilton Hotel.”