On Friday, June 3, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential screening committee chaired by the party's former national chairman and former governor of Edo state, John Odigie-Oyegun, submitted its report.
Odigie-Oyegun announced at the presentation of the report that 13 aspirants were cleared while the remaining 10 were disqualified.
In his remarks, the APC national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu said the report will be considered by the National Working Committee (NWC).
Here is the text of the speech made by the chairman of the screening panel, Odigie-Oyegun, as posted on Facebook by Senator Babafemi Ojudu, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Political Matters.
"It is our pleasure to be here with you today to present our reports. I will be very brief.
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"Having been a tenant in this building before, Mr chairman, I came in I thought I was in the wrong premises. I want to say you have performed something short of a miracle in this building. And I can thread properly now that I am in the secretariat of the governing party.
"I thank you for the assignment that you gave us an enormous and how short time has been. I know the environment on which you took over. And so, we are quite happy to do as much as we could to make the work of the party lighter.
"We had the privilege of being inaugurated by you. Precisely on the 30 of May and we immediately started work that very day after a brief meeting. I will just summarize the main thing.
"First, we had 23 member aspirants that we interacted with. And my first comment is that we were very inoccupant. Those were 23 that presented themselves. We had a lot of others, prominent Nigerians both within and outside the country that had applied but for whatever reason, could not proceed with their applications.
"The point I want to make is the quality of the people that wants to govern this country.
"The second point I want to make is that, we were surprised at the active participation of the youthful members of the party. Some of whom really surprised us at to what they have accomplished in life, their understanding of the situation in this country and why they want to have the privilege of governing this country. What was important was that they so believed in the country and the party that they were able to pay the sum that some of us considered princely handsome to participate in the process. And I think the party ought to pat itself in the back for them.
"Our report is basically simple and short. I don't want to beat about the bush. There were two aspects to it.
The basic constitutional qualifications for you to aspire to be a president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That was simple and straight forward.
"And on that basis, every single aspirants that presented himself qualified. Because it was basic and simple. But we are a governing party. And we are keen on continuing the process and replacing at the proper time with our president with yet another member of the party.
"So, the ability to lead, background, experience and your understanding of the Nigerian situation, your ideas as to how issues, difficulties and problems can be addressed and how the country can be moved forward became a critical consideration. It is on that basis who are you, what have you achieved, your understanding of the nation and things you can contribute to move the nation forward. It was on the basis of that we made our final shortlist. I don't list the names. I think I will leave that to you. We have a shortlist which brought the number down to 13. We could have cut it a little shorter. But we wanted a pedigree with a longer element to surface. For them to be seen whether to be noticed, who knows? We hand them over to the party. And it is for the party to decide who their preferred candidate will be.
"It is also an opportunity to showcase the kind of people that exist within the party with their usefulness and kind of experience. Let the world know that this is a party that cares for the young and a party when we say the young can aspire, we really mean it. And this has been showcase in the report that we have written.
"I will conclude by saying that we only drew a word of caution. That there is this cleavage that I gradually becoming the Centre stage in a national discourse. As between the north and the south and the presidency. And we just want to advise strongly that the party should please think of it in making its decision, address it and let it influence their thoughts because it has its own implications.
"Outside that, just on behalf of the wonderful colleagues you gave me to work with. I want to thank you very much. It was a sensitive assignment, a challenging assignment but very interesting assignment on which all of us have profited immensely from which the party will also profit.
"Against every aspirants, the issue of consensus and it is pleasant surprise that 98 to 99% agreed that the party is supreme. And that whatever the party finally decides with proper consultation, they will likely to accept. We had only one exception who said yes, he will accept consensus so long as it is built on him. So, I think it is a point that needs to be made and emphasize. So, that gives you a lot of leeway in the days and hours ahead to trim down even more drastically. But, finally we think you should not be afraid for a contested primary if anybody insists on the contest.
"I thank you very much Mr chairman. It is now my honor and privilege on behalf of the committee set up to present to you the report.
Oyegun speaks on screening Jonathan
Meanwhile, the committee also reacted to claims that it screened former President Goodluck Jonathan.
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Odigie-Oyegun on Friday denied the report as he submitted the list of cleared aspirants during the meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC).
To substantiate his position, Oyegun said Jonathan was not even seen at Transcorp Hilton where the screening exercise took place.