The All Progressives Congress (APC) has screened, cleared and now released a list of the governorship aspirants cleared to contest for the party’s ticket in 26 states.
The cleared names of aspirants in 10 states are yet to be released. That may be the reason why the party announced today that it is postponing the governorship primaries by a day.
We observed five things about the list released on Thursday night by the party’s spokesman, Yekini Nabena.
- Biggest shocker: Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, was not cleared by the screening committee and no reason was given. Alhassan’s disqualification is shocking not only because she serves in the federal cabinet, but also because she was the party’s candidate in 2015. She lost that election but was declared winner by the election tribunal. However her petition failed at the higher courts which ruled in favor of Gov. Darius Ishaku of the PDP and dashed her hopes of becoming Nigeria’s first ever female governor. Alhassan’s endorsement of her political benefactor, Atiku Abubakar, last year however dimmed her favorability within the APC. She was queried by the party and was accused of disloyalty by influential party members including Gov. Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna. She however refused to defect to the PDP to join Atiku. Her next move would be closely watched.
- No female aspirant: Alhassan’s disqualification carries even more weight because out of the 152 people cleared by the APC in 26 states, there is no single woman. 10 states are still being expected, and – of course – there are scores of other parties, but on the face of this, 2019 is already looking like another bad year for women inclusion in governance in the country.
- Mixed fortunes for Buhari’s ministers: Alhassan was not the only minister in the federal cabinet to be disqualified. Her colleague in the ministry of communications, Adebayo Shittu, was also disqualified by the screening committee because he does not possess an NYSC certificate. It is curious that Pres. Buhari continues to retain him in the cabinet despite the clear provisions of the law. The one positive news for the Buhari ministers came from Cross River, where the Niger Delta minister, Usani Uguru Usani, was cleared to contest.
- What is going on in Borno state?: There is something about the situation in Borno state that is attracting governorship aspirants. Of the 26 states, Borno has the highest number of governorship aspirants – a whopping 21 people seeking to succeed Governor Kashim Shettima who rounds up his second term next year. The number of cleared Borno APC aspirants is almost double that of the state with the next highest – Taraba with 11.
- Last man standing: Of all the APC candidates who ran in 2015 and lost to the PDP, only one – Mohammadu Inuwa Yahaya – still has a chance of emerging candidate again for 2019. Yahaya was the APC candidate in Gombe in 2015. He lost however to Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of the PDP. All the other APC losing candidates in the class of 2015 either chose not to contest or were not cleared.