…Govs in marathon meeting in Abuja
…Screening committee invites Buhari
Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Ahead of its scheduled primaries, palpable tension continues to engulf the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as tendencies in the party are divided over mode of selecting candidates for next year’s election.
This is even as President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to appear before the APC screening committee today to defend his bid to re-contest in 2019.
The APC has been split over contentions as to the adoption of direct or indirect primaries to select candidates for various elective positions. While the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party had directed that the party would adopt direct primaries to select its presidential, governorship, National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly candidates, governors prefer indirect primaries.
State chairmen of the APC, in aligning with governors, had, a few weeks ago, rejected direct primaries, asking the NWC to change the decision.
Presently, the party is divided between direct and indirect primaries, with some state chapters adopting the former and others opting for the latter.
In a bid to resolve the crisis, governors elected on the platform of the APC held a marathon meeting for hours in Abuja last night.
Sources revealed that the governors wanted to reach a consensus on the mode of primaries to use in picking candidate.
It was gathered that the governors considered adopting both direct and indirect primaries, with the state chapters deciding which one to use.
The governors, sources revealed, would make representation to the APC NWC on their decision, with the view to seeking ratification.
Meanwhile, APC has released a screening procedure for the president, governorship and National Assembly aspirants. The screening committee would drill aspirants from today to Saturday, at the Transcorp Hilton and Sheraton Hotels, in Abuja.
In statement signed by the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole and the National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, said, “the National Working Committee (NWC) has approved the screening of all the aspirants who obtained and submitted their Expression of Interest and Nomination forms.
“Screening of the aspirants into the office of the president shall take place in Abuja. Screening of aspirants for governors, Senate and House of Representatives shall take place in Abuja. Screening commences today and ends on Saturday, September 22, from 9:00am daily.
“There shall be for each zone three committees for the screening of aspirants for governor, senate and House of Representatives. Transcorp Hilton and Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, have been selected for the purposes of the screening exercise.”
President Buhari, despite being the sole aspirant for the presidency in APC, will today face the screening committee.
Sources said the committee would talk top Buhari, asking him why he wants a second term. Also the committee is expected to look at the documents Buhari submitted with his expression of interest and nomination forms.
After the screening, the committee is expected to clear President Buhari for the election, in accordance with the guidelines.
In a related development, the APC has shifted its presidential primary election from September 20 to September 25.
APC National Organising Secretary, Emma Ibediro, made this known in a statement he released in Abuja, yesterday.
Ibediro said the primary elections of the party’s governorship, Senate and House of Representatives would hold on September 29, October 2, and October 3, respectively.
He also said the House of Assembly primary election and the national convention to ratify the APC presidential candidate would hold on October 4 and 6, respectively.