By Lanre Oloyede
There is palpable confusion and uncertainty at the national secretariat of All Progressives Congress, APC, over the list of presidential aspirants that will face the screening committee of the party at the exercise that is expected to hold today.
Party sources hinted to Nigerian Pilot that the party has concluded plans to hold its presidential screening today at Transcorp Hilton hotel Abuja, though APC authorities were yet to confirm the authenticity of the information to journalists as calls and messages sent to the National Publicity Secretary, Barr Felix Morka, were neither answered nor returned.
It is however, not certain if the screening will hold today as speculated as president Muhammadu Buhari is expected to meet with the presidential aspirants on Wednesday.
Barr Morka, had in the late hours of Sunday announced the postponement of the Screening Exercise for presidential aspirants earlier scheduled to be held yesterday Monday, May 23rd.
Though Morka stated that a new date for the exercise would be announced shortly, there was no official word on that as at the time of filing this report.
Also, indications emerged that contrary to an earlier report that 23 aspirants were expected to attend the screening following the withdrawal of some of them, all 28 aspirants may likely face the screening panel today.
It is being speculated that the aspirants that would likely be screened include former President Goodluck Jonathan, Minister of Labour and Employment Dr. Chris Ngige, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele and African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwunmi Adesina, all of whom had initially withdrawn their aspirations or denied ever nursing an ambition.
APC National Organising Secretary Sulaiman Arugungu had told newsmen that all 28 aspirants who paid and picked the party’s presidential nomination and expression of interest forms will be screened as the party was yet to receive any official communication from any of the aspirants stating their withdrawal.
He 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paid and picked the forms for the nomination as Presidential aspirants, nobody has formally written to us that he has withdrawn his aspiration.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, on Tuesday, God’s willing, at Transcorp Hilton Hotel.”
Also yet to be cleared is the list of the screening panel and Chairman of the committee.
Our correspondent had gathered that a 7-man panel had been set up for the exercise but as at the time of filing this report, the party authorities were yet to come clean on the details and modalities surrounding the screening exercise and its committee as the National Working Committee NWC were locked in a marathon meeting.
The source further hinted that the presidency was yet to back down on its choice of former president Jonathan as the preferred flag bearer of the party for the 2023 general elections.
He further stated that contrary to the disclaimer by the former president, his nomination and expression of interest forms were secretly submitted by proxies at the party’s national Secretariat to meet the party’s deadline.