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APC Presidential Primary: All Aspirants Agreed To Consensus Except One — Oyegun

A presidential aspirant of Nigeria’s ruling party. APC, reportedly told the party’s screening committee that he would only accept the option of a consensus candidate if he is the one selected.

John Odigie-Oyegun, the chairperson of the screening committee, disclosed this to journalists in Abuja Friday.

All the other 22 presidential aspirants reportedly agreed to the consensus candidacy option if there was ‘proper consultation.’

“We engaged every aspirant on the issue of consensus and it was a pleasant surprise that 99 per cent agreed that the party is supreme and whatever the party finally decides, with proper consultation, they were likely to accept.

“There is only one person that said I will accept consensus as long as it is based on me.

“So, I think it is a point I need to emphasize on it. That gives you a way in the hours ahead to trim down even more drastically. But finally, we think we should not be afraid of the contested primary if anybody insists on the contest,” the committee chairman said.

Mr Odigie-Oyegun did not mention the aspirant who took the stance although some Nigerians would believe it is the former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu.

He also said among those who presented themselves before the committee were young people who have achieved so much that they are confident of leading the country.

Oyegun also advised the ruling party to be mindful of the issue of power shift, saying some aspirants expressed the belief that power ought to shift to the south.

“First, we had 23 member aspirants that we interacted with. And my first comment is that we were very inoccupant. Those were 23 that presented themselves. We had a lot of others, prominent Nigerians both within and outside the country that had applied but for whatever reason, could not proceed with their applications.

“The point I want to make is the quality of the people that want to govern this country.

“The second point I want to make is that, we were surprised at the active participation of the youthful members of the party. Some of whom really surprised us at to what they have accomplished in life, their understanding of the situation in this country and why they want to have the privilege of governing this country. What was important was that they so believed in the country and the party that they were able to pay the sum that some of us considered princely handsome to participate in the process. And I think the party ought to path itself in the back for them.

“Our report is basically simple and short. I don’t want to beat about the bush. There were two aspects to it. The basic constitutional qualifications for you to aspire to be a president of the federal Republic of Nigeria. That was simple and straight forward.

“And on that basis, every single aspirant that presented himself qualified. Because it was basic and simple. But we are a governing party. And we are keen on continuing the process and replacing at the proper time with our president with yet another member of the party.

“It is also an opportunity to showcase the kind of people that exist within the party with their usefulness and kind of experience. Let the world know that this is a party that cares for the young and a party when we say the young can aspire, we really mean it. And this has been showcase in the report that we have written.

I will conclude by saying that we only drew a word of caution. That there is this cleavage that I gradually becoming the Centre stage in a national discourse. As between the north and the south and the presidency. And we just want to advise strongly that the party should please think of it in making its decision, address it and let it influence their thoughts because it has its own implications.

“Outside that, just on behalf of the wonderful colleagues you gave me to work with. I want to thank you very much. It was a sensitive assignment, a challenging assignment but very interesting assignment on which all of us have profited immensely from which the party will also profit.”

Mr Tinubu and his supporters have repeatedly insisted on a transparent primary exercise to elect the APC presidential candidate.

Recall how Mr Tinubu, on Thursday, elaborated on the reason he believes it is ‘his turn’ to be Nigeria’s president on the APC platform. He outlined his contributions to the party and how he helped President Muhammadu Buhari to power.

Mr Tinubu’s comments came a few days after President Buhari told APC governors that he wanted to pick his successor.

At his press briefing on Friday, Mr Odigie-Oyegun also said his committee disqualified 10 APC presidential aspirants. He, however, did not name those his committee disqualified.

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