_* More aspirants to withdraw today_
As the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) holds its special convention today to elect the party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 poll, the contest has been narrowed down to a three-horse race.
The major contenders for the APC presidential ticket are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi.
The three presidential aspirants are from the Southern region in line with the clamour and agitation by different blocs in the ruling party who are favourable to Southern presidency in 2023. While Tinubu and Osinbajo are from the South-West, Amaechi is from South-South.
AN24 gathered from reliable sources that APC governors in the early hours of Tuesday submitted the names of five presidential aspirants to President Muhammadu Buhari in line with the President’s advice on the need to reduce the number of aspirants.
The governors submitted the names of Tinubu, Osinbajo and Amaechi, as well as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and his Ebonyi State counterpart, Dave Umahi (Ebonyi State).
The decision of the APC governors to submit five names to President Buhari after a series of meeting with the President, APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the party’s National Working Committee(NWC) and other stakeholders, has ended the aspirations of other 18 other presidential aspirants screened by the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun Presidential Screening Committee.
APC governors with the nomination of the five aspirants have also tactically ruled out the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who was announced on Monday by the APC National Chairman as the party’s consensus presidential candidate.
Lawan’s emergence as a consensus candidate was rejected by the party’s NWC and APC Northern Governors, who insisted on the Southern presidency in 2023.
With the recent development in the party, AN24 gathered that some presidential aspirants will step down before the commencement of the presidential primary election or announce their withdrawal from the race during the special convention held today at the Eagles Square, Abuja.
It would be recall that out of the 23 presidential aspirants screened by the party, Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State and former Senate President, Ken Nnamani has already withdrawn from the race. More aspirants, especially those from the South will follow suit due to the ongoing consultations.