… Felix Nicholas withdraws from APC presidential race***
…As 13 aspirants slug it out at APC’s presidential primary election***
Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) on Tuesday stormed the Eagle Square venue of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Special Convention in Abuja.
The newsmen report that the officials went around the convention venue before finally, they took strategic positions.
However, the officials declined to comment when approached by newsmen correspondent at the convention.
Newsmen report that EFCC officials had made a similar appearance at the PDP Special Convention in Abuja on May 28, without making any arrest.
The visit might not be unconnected with recent social media reports indicating that delegates were paid hugely by presidential aspirants for votes at the convention.
in the meantime, Dr Felix Nicholas has withdrawn from the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential race.
Nicholas announced his withdrawal while addressing delegates at APC Special National Convention on Tuesday in Abuja.
He directed his supporters to vote for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the convention.
Former Gov. Godswill Akpabio, former Gov. Ibikunle Amosun and former Gov. Ibikunle Amosun had earlier withdrawn from the race urging his supporters to vote for Tinubu.
In another development, contrary to earlier media speculations that only five aspirants would contest the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket,13 aspirants are currently slugging it out at its Special Convention and presidential primary election.
Reports had emerged before the convention that most of the 23 presidential aspirants that bought the party’s Expression of Interest and Nomination forms, had stepped down.
The newsmen report that aspirants currently slugging it out at the Eagle Square, Abuja, venue of the convention include Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and Pastor Tunde Bakare.
Others are Ahmad Rufai Sani, Rotimi Amaechi, David Umahi, Rochas Okorocha, Gov. Yahaya Bello, Tein Jack-Rich, Christopher Onu, Ahmad Lawan, Ben Ayade and Ikeobasi Mokelu.
No fewer than 2,322 delegates from the 774 local government areas of the country including the six area councils in the FCT are currently casting their votes.
Newsmen report that nine aspirants had earlier stepped down, eight of whom asked their supporters to vote for Tinubu, while one asked his supporters to vote for Osinbajo.
Those who stepped down before voting began are Gov. Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Sens. Robert Boroffice, Ken Nnamani, Ibikunle Amosun, Dimeji Bankole, Ekiti’s Gov. Kayode Fayemi and Godswill Akpabio.
They asked their supporters to vote for Tinubu, just as the only female aspirant, Mrs Uju Ken-Ohanenye, followed suit.
Pastor Felix Nicholas, the United States of America-based aspirant also stepped down and asked his supporters to vote for Osinbajo.
A candidate, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, immediate past Minister of State for Education, was conspicuously absent at the convention
As of the time of filling this report, aspirants from 20 states had cast their votes, including those from, Adamawa, Borno, Delta, Anambra, Oyo, Rivers, Enugu, Edo, Taraba, Yobe, Gombe, Zamfara and Sokoto States, among others.
Delegates, particularly from the southern part of the country turned out in uniform attires popularly called “aso-ebi’’.
Delegates from across the country have so far been orderly.
Newsmen report that it was a night of long speeches as the aspirants addressed delegates to sell their candidacy before the commencement of voting.
President Muhammadu Buhari at a dinner with the party’s presidential aspirants on Saturday backed the rotation of power to the southern part of the country in 2023.
Newsmen also report that 11 governors from the northern parts had in a statement on Saturday, announced their decision to support power shift to the southern part at the end of Buhari’s tenure in 2023.
They urged aspirants from the northern part of the country to step down from the 2023 presidential race.
They stated that “the decision to support power shift to the south is in the best interest of the country.’’