Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has screened and cleared all the twelve aspirants who have shown interest in the governorship ticket of the party.
Ondo State Deputy Governor and the chairman of the screening panel, Agboola Ajayi, said yesterday in Abuja that all the 12 aspirants were eligible to contest the governorship primary.
While presenting the report of his committee, he commended all the aspirants saying the party “is one in Anambra state.”
He said all the aspirants complied with the guidelines and all signed an undertaking assuring the party that they would all support whoever eventually emerges the candidate of the party.
The National Organising Secretary, Osita Izunaso, who congratulated all the aspirants for being competent to stand for the primary, added that the next phase will be that of appeal panel if need be.
He also commended the aspirants saying “so far we have not received any report of violence among all the aspirants. We urge you to carry on and we are very hopeful that one of you will eventually emerge as the next governor of Anambra state.”
Speaking with newsmen shortly after he received his clearance certificate, Senator Andy Uba, assured that he would stand with APC whether he eventually wins the party’s ticket or not, adding that the incumbent governor of the state “must pack his load and go because APC must win Anambra.”
Meanwhile, the APC in Bayelsa yesterday said it would not quit the disputed secretariat of the party in Yenagoa, the state capital, as directed by the state government.
A statement by the party’s Spokesman in Bayelsa, Mr. Fortune Panebi, said the timing of the quit notice was suspicious, but did not directly address the question of whether the party were legal occupants of the building.
The government through the state Ministry of Justice had on Friday petitioned security agencies and the Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun requesting them to obey a court order which directed the party to move out of the building.
Solicitor-General of the state and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice, Mr. Preye Agedah, who spoke on behalf of government, had said government bought the building and spent N43 million on the renovation.
He added that after the property was bought, the keys were subsequently handed over to Chief Dikivie Ikiogha, then Chief of Staff to Governor Seriake Dickson, who eventually defected to the APC. It insisted that the party “forcefully” took over the structure and had been operating from there since then.
According to Agedah, who addressed journalists in Yenagoa, since two APC factions are now laying claim to the party secretariat in the state, it may prompt a crisis leading to damage to the building and a breach of order.
But in its response yesterday, the APC described as “shameful and misplaced” the move to take over the building located on Kpansia, Mbiama/Yenagoa road.
The party maintained that the genuine owners of the secretariat building were in court with the state government over the issue of ownership, adding that the Bayelsa government cannot lay claim to the structure until the issues were resolved.
It accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led Bayelsa government of inducing the crisis which has torn the party between erstwhile Chairman, Tiwei Orunimighe, who was expelled by the National Executive Council of APC last week, and ex-Governor Timipre Sylva.
“It is also good to note that the timing of the letter by the Governor Seriake Dickson-led administration on the less important issue of APC secretariat is convenient and a pointer to the hands behind the recent protest and rebellion by a few in the party.
“Why is it so convenient that it was when some dissidents within the party in Bayelsa were suspended and expelled that the Dickson’s administration woke up and remembered its ownership of the secretariat?”, the APC queried.
According to the APC, instead of the current administration to focus on more serious issues of governance, it was “ busy chasing shadows”.
The party urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to treat the claim of an impending security breach made by the government with seriousness, “because we know that when such claims are made, it is another mischievous way to lay a solid ground for violence and attack by sponsored persons.”
It added, “While we commend the Nigeria Police for their proactive reaction to political issues in the state, we urge them to seriously investigate the matter raised by the Governor Dickson administration and increase security surveillance over the property.”