Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Okorocha beats deadline, appears before APC presidential screening committee

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Rochas Okorocha, one of the presidential aspirants of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Tuesday night, appeared before the party’s seven-man 2023 Presidential Screening Committee.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Okorocha, the immediate past Governor of Imo represents Imo West in the Senate.

He had been under the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commision, EFCC, over an alleged N2.9 billion fraud case.

He was, however, granted bail by a Federal High Court in Abuja early Tuesday and was to pay N500 million for his bail with one surety in like sum.

The possibility of Mr Okorocha appearing before the John Odigie-Oyegun-led APC presidential screening committee for screening had been a topic of political discourse, following his ordeal in the hands of the EFCC.

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Justice Inyang Ekwo granted the former Imo governor bail after dismissing a counter-affidavit the EFCC filed against him.

The EFCC had through its lawyer, Gbolahan latona, urged the court to allow Mr Okorocha remain in custody, alleging that he posed a flight risk.

The prosecution alleged that Mr Okorocha not only breached the administrative bail it earlier granted him, but equally made himself inaccessible, a situation that led to his forceful arrest on May 24.

He told the court that the former Imo governor, who was facing a 17-count money laundering charge, had the capacity to interfere with some of its proposed witnesses.

However, counsel to the defendant, Solomon Umoh, SAN, assured the court that his client would be available to face his trial.

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The defence lawyer stressed that his client, being a responsible citizen and a presidential aspirant, would not conduct himself in any manner that would undermine the sanctity of the court.

NAN reports that Okorocha was the last aspirant to be screened by the APC 2023 presidential primary on Tuesday night.

Other aspirants screened by the committee were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi, and Ahmad Lawan, President of the Senate.

Also screened were former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and oil magnate, Tein Jack, among others.

The committee had on Monday screened 12 presidential aspirants, including Tunde Bakare and Bola Tinubu, one of the party’s leaders and a two-term former governor of Lagos State.

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Gov. Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, former Governor of Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun, former Governor of Zamfara, Sani Yerima and Rotimi Amaechi, former Minister of Transportation were also screened on Monday.

Others are former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; Felix Nicholas, the only female presidential aspirant, Uju Ken-Ohanenye and Ajayi Boroffice.

Former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani and Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi were also screened on Monday.

The APC Special Convention for its presidential primary had been fixed for June 6 and 8 at the Eagle Square, Abuja.

NAN

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