The Northern Governors elected under the platform of the All Progressive Congress, APC, have forwarded the names of five southern presidential aspirants to President Muhammadu Buhari for consideration as a consensus candidate.
The shortlisted aspirants are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu; Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; former Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi; and Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State.
The Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, who confirmed the shortlist said those whose names were submitted had been graded by the party screening committee based on specified metrics.
Lalong, however, noted that the Northern Governors being only one section of the party, the shortlist will not bar other aspirants from contesting the primaries.
The governors had, on Monday, met with Buhari to officially inform him of their stance to zone the ticket to the south.
They met the president around the same time the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, announced that President Buhari had endorsed Senate President Ahmed Lawan as the consensus candidate.
The Presidency immediately denied the announcement, saying that Buhari, at the time, had not anointed any candidate.
Recall that President Buhari had asked the governors to reduce the number of aspirants after consultations.
According to PUNCH, a media aide to one of the governors confirmed that aspirants were shortlisted without giving their names.
He, however, emphasised that no one was disqualified nor eliminated from the primary.
He also hinted that the names may be reduced to two before the primary.
“Yes, they shortlisted but never disqualified or eliminated any aspirant. What they did is similar to what the screening committee did. They just recommended aspirants that will make APC remain in power,” he said.