By Uche Amunike
After keeping Nigerians in suspense over the weekend, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) national convention screening of aspirants for different elective offices has finally commenced, ahead of their National Convention on Saturday.
This was announced in a statement, Monday in Abuja by the Secretary of the APC National Convention Screening Committee, Emmanuel Otagburuagu who confirmed that the aspirants would undergo screening in two batches at the Katsina State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja.
The statement partly reads: ‘The National Convention Screening Sub-Committee has invited aspirants for the exercise.
‘Gov. Aminu Masari, Chairman, Dimeji Bankole, Co-Chairman of the APC 2022 National Convention Screening Committee, hereby invite all the aspirants to the screening exercise’.
‘The schedule for the screening is as follows:
‘1. Tuesday, March 22, 2022: Screening of National Chairman and other National Working Committee (NWC) aspirants, while time will be communicated to aspirants later.
‘Venue: Katsina State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja’.
‘2. Wednesday, March 23,2022: Screening of aspirants into the zonal offices’.
Venue: Katsina State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja.’
According to Otagburuagu, the affairs of the APC is presently being managed by the Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), but after the national convention on Saturday March 26, the new national executives will be expected to take over the management of the affairs of the party.
Part of those to undergo the APC national convention screening are two former Nasarawa State Governors and serving Senators, Tanko Al-Makura and Abdulahi Adamu, as well as former Benue State Governor and Minister of Special Duties, George Akume; former Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Saliu Mustafa; Senator representing Niger East, Mohammed Sani Musa and 37year old Mohammed Etsu.
Reports reaching us however say that there was chaos at the venue as several National Women Leader and Deputy National Women Leader, including National Chairman and National Treasurer hopefuls were shut out of the premises, Tuesday night even as more aspirants struggled unsuccessfully to forcefully have their way inside the premises.
There was as expected, a heavy security presence in the premises and Chairmanship aspirants, Tanko Al-Makura and Sani Musa were lucky to make it through the crowd, even as some other aspirants and their aides were seen trying to identify themselves by showing their nomination forms to the security agents in order to be granted access.
A Zonal aspirant from the south-east, Dozie Ikedife was also seen during the Chaos, as he complained about the state of affairs at the gate and his frustration as zonal aspirants would be screened, Wednesday.
The secretary of the screening committee also made it clear that the screening process involves each aspirants presenting their credentials and other documents required through the screening panel even as background checks are being carried out on them. He added that even though the forms were picked up at high costs, aspirants can be disqualified without any refund if found wanting by the screening committee.