By Emmanuel Adeleke
Five presidential aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have rejected the names of five aspirants submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari, as the most preferred by the governors.
The aspirants disclosed this in a joint statement issued on Tuesday.
The aspirants are Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade; former Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; former Minister for Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu; former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and businessman Tein Jack-Rich.
The aspirants distanced themselves from the list, saying that they were not consulted before the northern governors arrived at the decision.
The list submitted to Buhari include the names of former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
“In the past few hours we have been bombarded with calls and messages from our supporters and concerned Nigerians on a list of five presidential aspirants submitted to President Buhari to choose from.
“As long as we are concerned, no list has been submitted to Mr. President, the move by the Governors is considered a joke taken to the extreme with the aim of playing with the intellect of Nigerians particularly us from the South East.
“Mr President’s directive is very simple, that all Presidential aspirants including those from the North should meet and harmonise in order to produce a single candidate. As it stands we have not been consulted or attended a meeting where it was agreed that such names be sent to Mr President.
“In the so-called list, out of the five names only one was selected from the South East and we are talking about fairness and justice to the South. What the Governors have done is a mere picnic in the park. These are the same Governors talking about equity, justice and fairness yet in a clandestine manner purportedly sidelined the South East.
“In the absence of any harmonised agreement, no list has been submitted to Mr. President, what they have done is just nothing but a charade which is bound to fail.
“We also have it on good authority that the majority of these Governors have been promised and also given various forms of gratifications in order to thwart the process in favour of one aspirant and such grand plot will fail woefully.
“Moreso, the party led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu remains the official organ of the party through which decisions taken by stakeholders in the party will be communicated and acted upon, in the absence of that, any other move remains null and void.
“We urge all well-meaning Nigerians to disregard such information, as we remain in the race, hence no consensus agreement has been reached amongst all contestants.
“The names, according to the source, included that of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Governor Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti State), Rotimi Amaechi, former Minister of Transportation, and Governor Dave Umahi (Ebonyi State).
“The governors after meeting with the President said they will return to the villa after meeting with the party’s National Working Committee and other stakeholders.
“They picked one from South-East, one from South-South and three from South-West geopolitical zones in line with their position that power should shift to the South,” the statement read.
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