13 aspirants slug it out at APC’s presidential primary election

Contrary to earlier media speculations that only five aspirants would contest the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket,13 aspirants are currently slugging it out at its Special Convention and presidential primary election.

Some of the APC Chieftains that attended the dinner include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan and former National Chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun. (Twitter/@animolenikun)

Reports had emerged before the convention that most of the 23 presidential aspirants that bought the party’s Expression of Interest and Nomination forms, had stepped down.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that aspirants currently slugging it out at the Eagle Square, Abuja, venue of the convention include Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and Pastor Tunde Bakare.

Others are Ahmad Rufai Sani, Rotimi Amaechi, David Umahi, Rochas Okorocha, Gov. Yahaya Bello, Tein Jack-Rich, Christopher Onu, Ahmad Lawan, Ben Ayade and Ikeobasi Mokelu.

No fewer than 2,322 delegates from the 774 local government areas of the country including the six area councils in the FCT are currently casting their votes.

NAN reports that nine aspirants had earlier stepped down, eight of whom asked their supporters to vote for Tinubu, while one asked his supporters to vote for Osinbajo.

Those who stepped down before voting began are Gov. Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Sens. Robert Boroffice, Ken Nnamani, Ibikunle Amosun, Dimeji Bankole, Ekiti’s Gov. Kayode Fayemi and Godswill Akpabio.

They asked their supporters to vote for Tinubu, just as the only female aspirant, Mrs Uju Ken-Ohanenye, followed suit.

Pastor Felix Nicholas, a United States of America-based aspirant also stepped down and asked his supporters to vote for Osinbajo.

A candidate, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, immediate past Minister of State for Education, was conspicuously absent at the convention.

A DELEGATE CASTING HIS VOTE AT EAGLE SQUARE, VENUE OF ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC) SPECIAL CONVENTION AND PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION ON WEDNESDAY IN ABUJA

As at the time of filling this report, aspirants from 20 states had cast their votes, including those from, Adamawa, Borno, Delta, Anambra, Oyo, Rivers, Enugu, Edo, Taraba, Yobe, Gombe, Zamfara and Sokoto States, among others.

Delegates, particularly from the southern part of the country turned out in uniform attires popularly called “aso-ebi’’.

Delegates from across the country have so far been orderly.

NAN reports that it was a night of long speeches as the aspirants addressed delegates to sell their candidacy before the commencement of voting.

President Muhammadu Buhari at a dinner with the party’s presidential aspirants on Saturday backed the rotation of power to the southern part of the country in 2023.

NAN also reports that 11 governors from the northern parts had in a statement on Saturday, announced their decision to support power shift to the southern part at the end of Buhari’s tenure in 2023.

They urged aspirants from the northern part of the country to step down from the 2023 presidential race.

They stated that “the decision to support power shift to the south is in the best interest of the country.’’

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