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Onu, Okorocha, others reject five names submitted to Buhari for consensus

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SEVEN Presidential aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have rejected the names of five other aspirants some Northern governors submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for consideration as the party’s leaders continued with efforts to prune the number of aspirants to participate in the presidential primary holding today.

The dissenting aspirants included the Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade; a former minister of state for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; a former minister of science and technology, Ogbonnaya Onu; a former Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha; and a businessman, Tein Jack-Rich.


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The aspirants, in a joint statement issued today by Onu on their behalf, distanced themselves from the purported list, saying they were not consulted before the governors arrived at the decision.

They described the move as shambolic and an already failed attempt to sideline other aspirants, particularly those from the South-East and South-South.

The statement described the move as a joke taken too far, complaining it was total absurdity, as against the directive of Buhari.

According to them, the motive of the governors was in their personal selfish interest and not the South.

They argued that at no time did the President equivocally support zoning of the Presidency to the South, saying that though they were in support of shifting the party presidential ticket to the South, especially the Southeast, neither them nor other South-East presidential aspirants were consulted before such a decision was taken.

Urging Nigerians to disregard the report, Onu stressed that neither the Governors Forum nor Northern Governors had any moral or constitutional jurisdiction to determine the political fate of the South.

The aspirants queried the alleged selection of only one candidate from South East, which had never produced Nigeria’s President, and the picking of three from the South West, a zone they noted had had 16 years at the Presidency.

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They also complained of the inclusion of one aspirant from the South-South, a zone they pointed out had also produced a President for six years.

Onu alleged that the governors were merely acting based on gratifications being promised them by a certain Yoruba aspirant from the Southwest, who was also included in the list.

He also said that five of the northern governors had been promised the office of Vice President, which he said had suddenly prompted some of the governors to push for the zoning of the APC presidential ticket to the South.

According to him, the governors were merely paying lip service to their “equity and justice” reason for zoning the Presidency to the South, arguing that if truly they meant their words, the Southeast should have been considered first for the Presidency and its aspirants subsequently tabled before Buhari to select from.

Rallying support for the National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, the Presidential aspirants commended the decisions made so far by the party leadership. The aspirants also held that the party leadership remained the official organ through which decisions were made and adhered to, while urging all stakeholders to galvanise support for the Adamu-led executive.

The statement read, “In the past few hours, we have been bombarded with calls and messages from my 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.”

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