2023: Why Tinubu must not be our presidential candidate — APC chieftain writes screening committee
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has petitioned the John Odigie-Oyegun committee seeking the disqualification of Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
In the petition dated May 17, the petitioner with membership registration no KN/TRN/38/08417, urged the committee to painstakingly scrutinise all credentials submitted by Tinubu to avert a recurrence of what happened in Bayelsa when a certificate forgery issue against the deputy governorship candidate made APC to lose the state to PDP.
The petitioner attached various documents against Tinubu to back up his claims.
Meanwhile, after weeks of sluggish preparations for its presidential convention, things appeared to have picked up for the ruling , APC, as it finally began screening of its presidential aspirants yesterday.
The party which had continued to maintain utmost secrecy regarding the exercise, also barred journalists from the venue.
Chairman of the screening panel and former National Chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun, did not immediately respond to media inquiries regarding the activities of his team, Vanguard reported.
The development came as former governor of Borno State and chieftain of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, denounced those who have launched a presidential campaign for him by placing his posters in strategic points across the nation’s capital.
Also, former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, was yesterday at the national secretariat of the APC where he had a closed door session with its National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
Although he did not speak to journalists, Ekweremadu’s visit to the ruling party’s national chairman has fueled defection rumours, following his loss in recent Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship primary election in Enugu State.
Epileptic start to convention
Since the party few days ago indefinitely postponed the screening, it had kept mum regarding the composition of the screening panel and new date for the exercise.
First to be screened was the former Minister of State Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, Jigawa State governor, Abubakar Badaru, only female aspirant, Uji Kennedy Ohanenye, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Senator Robert Ajayi Borroffice and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was still being screened at press time.
Ohanenye told journalists that she would step down if the party asked her to do so, as long as the party would be willing to carry on with her economic blueprint.
She said: “I will never see it as a problem to my party because I am going to respect them. I am going to do whatever it takes to promote my party and make them relax so that they can make a better decision.
“So, if their decision is to ask me to step down, I will not have choice than to step down so long as they can take over my blueprint.”
She disclosed further that the approach deployed by the screening committee was quite a huge incentive for her as she was more relaxed in responding to questions and the conversation was very frank and straight to the point.
On his part, Pastor Bakare expressed confidence in the ability of the screening committee to come up with a credible report.
He said: “The party supremacy is the utmost essence. You cannot force your way through a party’s structure. The party has the final say. And when we get to that bridge, we will know how to cross it.
“The screening exercise is to check who is guilty and who is not. And it depends on the people who are doing the screening. By God’s grace, we have complied with everything demanded by the committee. We have supplied every information.
“Every information given is accurate and there is no miscommunication anywhere. Therefore, we will listen to what they have to say to us. And we trust God for accurate answers and deserving answers to all questions”.
Meanwhile, Senator Sheriff has denied nursing any presidential ambition, saying those placing his campaign posters across the city had launched a propaganda against him.
In a statement yesterday, the Director, Media and Publicity of the Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff Compaign Organisation, Alhaji Babandede Isa, accused an unnamed serving senator of being behind the propaganda.
He said: “A serving Senator has again started his propaganda war against his (Sheriff’s) person, insinuating and making up infantile allegations against him.
“This is especially with regards to a campaign poster in circulation purporting that Sheriff is running for the presidency in 2023, with a popular politician from the South South and the allegations that he is into arms deals.
“We are fully aware that the serving senator who was also a former governor of Borno is behind such propaganda.
“We, therefore, warn that he stopped all such negative propaganda war against the respected Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff forthwith, else we will be forced to take legal actions against him and his co-travellers.
“Sen. Ali-Modu Sheriff disassociates himself from the campaign posters currently in circulation in parts of the country and any form of arms dealing.
“The public should disregard the allegations because there is no iota of truth in it, it should be seen as efforts of a mischief maker trying to insinuate what is not correct.
“If Ali-Modu Sheriff wants to contest the presidency in 2023, he would be bold to tell Nigerians of his intention and seek their support without going through the back door or doing so by proxy.”