The All Progressives Congress (APC) Tuesday inaugurated 37 screening committees to screen more than 3,000 of its members jostling for House of Assembly seats nationwide.
The leadership of the party constituted each committee per state and also for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Each committee has seven members per state, while the screening appeal committee has five members per state, including the FCT.
‘May 30 date remains’
The party has, however, denied altering the date of its presidential primary scheduled to hold between May 30 and June 1, 2022.
There were reports in some sections of the media suggesting that the ruling party had altered the date of its presidential primary from May 30 to May 28, the same day the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would hold its own version.
However, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Felix Morka, in a statement issued Tuesday described the report as fake.
The party stated categorically that should an adjustment become necessary, such changes would be communicated via its official communication channels.
He said: “Our attention has been drawn to a story of purported adjustment to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Timetable/ Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Elections which is making the rounds on social media.
“The story should be disregarded as fake news.
“The party’s timetable/schedule of activities for the 2023 elections remain as earlier published:
Governorship-Friday, 20th of May, 2022; State House of Assembly – Sunday, 22nd of May, 2022; House of Representatives-Tuesday, 24th of May, 2022; Senate – Wednesday, 25th of May 2022; Presidential-Monday, 30th of May to June 1st, 2022.”
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Tuesday, Deputy National Chairman, North, Senator Abubakar Kyari, said the screening would be conducted simultaneously alongside the election of local government and state delegates.
He said: “Initially we are supposed to have two processes, but we have decided to combine both exercises so that you all can conduct the exercises one after the other or simultaneously if the situation permits.
“This is the foundation of all the primaries. We have just conducted the screening of the gubernatorial, senatorial and House of Representatives aspirants.
“But the basic foundation is what you people are going to do, which is the election of local government and state delegates. APC, we are in government today simply by championing the call for economic and social change.”
Kyari said after seven and half years, members of the party could beat their chest that the party had achieved what others were unable to do.
“We are at the verge of electing new leaders for the post Buhari era and that is why you are chosen to spearhead it and I have no doubt in my mind that with the caliber of people I’m seeing here, we would do just that. Politics is dynamic and ambition is dynamic. You will face challenges but that is why you are there to succumb to those challenges,” Kyari added.
Also, National Organising Secretary, Suleiman Argungu, has described the assignment as one of the critical segments of the party’s transition to the 2023 general election.
He said: “We will provide each chairman and secretary of each committee the guidelines specifying roles of the committee which include minimum requirements; APC requirements; educational requirements; payment of form fees which qualifies each aspirant to contest; sponsors and if anybody goes against Section 84(3) of the Electoral Acts as amended stands disqualified.”
Argungu said each committee would be provided with an aspirant assessment verification form that the committee would follow diligently to ensure justice is done to each of the aspirant who has purchased forms and submitted.
On his part, Chairman of Kebbi state appeal screening committee and Director General Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, said the assignment was about building a foundation for the new leadership of the country that would emanate from the candidates of the various political parties.
He said: “In our own instance in the All Progressives Congress, what we are going to do in our various states is to screen those we think are qualified to run for the House of Assembly.
“We have over 3000 aspirants contesting across the country. And for us to do a good job, we want to make it easier for the electorate by presenting those who are better, more qualified, that meet all the conditions, one of which is being a Nigerian, having gone to secondary school and being of good behavior. This is our job.
“We are going to elect five (5) delegates per ward and there are 8,809 wards in the country. Those elected 5 delegates per ward will go to the state and elect the governor.
“We are going to elect three (3) delegates from each of the 774 local governments who will elect the president. But the first job is the screening and the delegates would be elected and the delegates would in turn elect the guber and presidential candidates.”
The implication is that a total of 2,322 elective delegates are expected at the presidential primary, while 44,045 delegates would elect the governorship candidates of the party across the states.