Bola Tinubu, a frontline presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday appeared before the party’s John Odigie-Oyegun-led seven-man Presidential Screening Committee.
According to a statement issued by Mr Bayo Onanuga, Director-General Tinubu Campaign Organisation, the former two-term Lagos State governor answered questions bordering on his upbringing, educational and professional background at the screening.
Onanuga said Tinubu, who is also one of the leaders of the APC, told the panel why he is qualified to fly the flag of the APC as its 2023 presidential candidate.
“He cited his success as governor of Lagos State, his raising the internal revenue generation of the state from a paltry N600 million monthly, which has now grown to N51 billion today.
“He also cited his invitation to Enron to begin the first state-backed power generation in Nigeria and how Nigeria will need to take the power transmission lines as a highway.
“Tinubu in his answers demonstrated vast knowledge in economic management and a perfect understanding of Nigeria’s political economy,” Onanuga said.
He added that the screening committee expressed satisfaction with Tinubu’s knowledge of the economy and socio-political issues that were currently affecting the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 11 other aspirants were screened by the committee, including former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Jigawa Governor, Abubakar Badaru.
Others are Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi, Pastor Tunde Bakare, General Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, former Minister of State, Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba and the only female presidential aspirant, Mrs Uju Ken-Ohanenye.
The rest are Sen. Ajayi Boroffice, Pastor Felix Nicholas, former President of the Senate Ken Nnamani, former governor of Ogun, Sen. Ibikunle Amosu and former governor of Zamfara, Sen. Sani Ahmed.
NAN further reports that though 28 presidential aspirants bought the APC Expression of Interest and Nomination forms, only 23 are listed for screening, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan being touted as a likely consensus candidate for the APC is, however, not on the list of aspirants to be screened by the Odigie-Oyegun led screening committee.
Members of the screening panel were inaugurated by Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, the APC National Chairman behind closed doors before the commencement of the screening at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja.
Tinubu, who arrived the venue at 5:50 p.m., was accompanied by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and some chieftains of the Tinubu Support Groups led by James Faleke and former Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal.
A source in the screening committee said Tinubu was ushered in at about 8:20 p.m. and left after less than an hour with the panel.
Rotimi Amaechi, who came in on the heels of Tinubu, was the last to be screened last night.
Aspirants left to be screened are Vice President Osinbajo, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, former Speaker Oladimeji Bankole, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi and former Minister of Niger Delta Development, Sen. Godswill Akpabio.
Also left to be screened are Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Tein Jack-Rich, former Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu, Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade and former Minister of Information, Ikeobasi Mokelu.
Mokelu served as Minister of Information in the military administration of late Gen. Sani Abacha.
Though slated for screening today, the fate of Sen. Rochas Okorocha, the immediate past governor of Imo who is presently in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is unknown.
The former governor will have a date in court today over allegations of misappropriating N2.9 billion. He has also filed a N1 billion suit against the commission to challenge his arrest.
Missing on the screening list of aspirants to be screened, apart from Jonathan, are the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwunmi Adesina and Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emifiele.
Also missing on the list is the Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige and Minister of State, Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.
The APC special convention for its presidential primary had been fixed for June 6 to June 8 at the Abuja Eagle Square, while the screening of its presidential aspirants is expected to be concluded Tuesday.