The All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) has screened 24 governorship aspirants and adjudged them qualified to contest in the party’s primaries.
Also yesterday, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State and presidential aspirant of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) scaled through the hurdle of the party’s screening committee for presidential aspirants headed by former Vice President, Namadi Sambo.
Top on the list of the APGA aspirants in Abia State is Chief Alex Oti, who was the party’s candidate at the 2015 governorship election.
He contested against the incumbent Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, who won the election.
In Imo State, Dr Sam Amadi, a former chairman of Nigeria Electric Regulatory Commission (NERC) is the top contender for the APGA ticket.
Again, Senator Aranume, a former governorship candidate on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who has been in the race for a number of times and about 11 other aspirants are seeking the party’s nod to slug it out with Dr. Amadi.
In Benue State, Archbishop Jimoh Kewu, is seeking APGA’s endorsement to contest the governorship race.
Amadi told journalists in Abuja on Monday that, “I think the screening is the most transparent I have ever witnessed.
“The panel members were there in the open, while the aspirants were seated until they called you. They gave us forms containing questionnaires and we filled them and they engaged us in a question and answer session.”
On whether he was intimidated by the number of aspirants from Imo state, Amadi said:, “When we entered this race, we wanted to show to Imo people that we are the best to tackle the challenges they are faced with.
“There are so many aspirants out there, some are strong for having been there for too long, while others are coming out with experiences they gathered in other fields of endeavours. But my belief is that the party and the people of Imo State clearly needs a Dr. Sam Amadi to fix their economy and infrastructural decay.
“I am prepared to provide leadership no matter who is running against me. Certainly, not all of us are qualified to be governor in my own assessment,” he said.
Oti, who is re-contesting the Abia State governorship position against Ikpeazu said that the screening was targeted at getting the right candidate to displace the incumbent governor in 2019 and to serve as a true representative of the party.
He noted that if 2015 proved to be difficult, 2019 would be easier to win, adding that “in 2015 the incumbent governor of Abia State hadn’t been tested, but now that he has been there for three years he hadn’t been able to prove himself and meet the aspirations of the people.
“I am sure that if there were people who voted for him in 2015, a lot of them would be feeling remorseful because he has not done well”.
Meanwhile, Tambuwal has named Dr. Okey Ikechukwu as the spokesperson and Head of Media and Strategic Communications for his 2019 presidential campaign
In the letter of appointment dated Friday, September 21, 2018, and signed by Governor Tambuwal, Ikechukwu is charged with the responsibility of overseeing all media contents and outputs related to the Tambuwal Presidential Project (TPP) as well as being the official media face and voice for the governor’s presidential project.
A statement from his media office stated that Ikechukwu is a “philosopher and public communications expert with rich and very wide experience in youth mentoring, political campaigns and media management.
“He is to oversee every aspect of the campaign that would impact on the profile, general perception and branding of Governor Tambuwal as a presidential candidate.”
A certified professional mediator and conflict resolution practitioner, Ikechukwu is a Senior Fellow of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Business School, Executive Director of Development Specs Academy and a human capital development and training partner of the Nigerian Army Resource Centre.
He was, at various times, lecturer, Department of Philosophy, University of Lagos, Chairman Editorial Board and Editorial Page Editor of The Comet Newspapers (now The Nation) Newspapers), Member, and later AG. Chairman, Editorial Board and Editorial Page Editor of The Guardian Newspapers, member of Daily Trust Newspapers Editorial Board, Chief of Staff/Special Assistant to the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Special Assistant to the Presidential Adviser on Legal and Constitutional Matters, Special Adviser to the Presidential Communications Unit in the Presidency, Adviser to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Special Assistant to the Minister of Transport and Head of Communications, Federal Ministry of Education.