APC Screening Panel: Why We Disqualified Obaseki, 2 Others

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•It’s hatchet job, says Oyegun

By Adedayo Akinwale

The screening committee set up by the All Progressives Congress (APC) which disqualified Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, Engr. Chris Ogemwonyi, and Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, from the June 22 gubernatorial primary election has given reasons for their disqualification.

The chairman of the committee, Prof. Jonathan Ayuba, while giving details of the outcome of the screening on Friday, said that every member of the committee signed and agreed with what was decided at the committee level.

The committee chairman said that the committee was thorough in the manner in which it conducted the exercise.

He explained that the Committee recorded live, the interactions with each of the aspirant, adding that the unedited clip was submitted as part of its report.

According to him, “We want to be judged by what we have done and not by what a third party says or by rumour. The methodology we used is clear. It was evidence-based. All we did was an interaction. We screened six aspirants, three were eligible to contest and 3 were deemed ineligible to participate.

Ayuba stressed that the first candidate screened was Mr. Osaro Obazee, stressing that after his screening and the verification of the candidate’s documents, the committee found him eligible to contest the primary.

He noted that on the part of Ogemwonyi, the name on all the certificates he presented were contradictory.

The panel chair added that considering the discrepancies in all the certificates presented and also the difference in the names contained in the sworn affidavit of June 2016, the committee decided that Ogemwonyi did not meet the requirement to participate in the primary of the APC.

The committee chairman said that Obaseki in his nomination form claimed to have obtained a Higher School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) from an Institute of Continuing Education, Benin.

Though, the attestation presented by the governor, which was on display at the party secretariat for two days, showed that he offered English, Literature, General paper and Economics for the Higher School Certificate (HSC), Ayuba said: “It was observed however that no educational certificate such as Higher School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) is known in Nigerian educational system. Even then, the same HSLC was never presented in the course of the screening exercise. The aspirant admitted that he had never collected it.

“The attestation from the Institute of Continuing Education, Benin from where the alleged HSLC which was indicated in the field of attendance as obtained is of no consequence, as it only attests that Obaseki was a student of the Institute. So what we had was like an attendance, it was not a result.

“Although, the Committee received a petition on his University of Ibadan Bachelor of Arts Classics certificate which he submitted to INEC in 2016, when he first contested as governor. The committee on further probing was presented with original certificate issued by the University and the original was sighted.

“On the NYSC certificate dated 6th August 1980, the committee observed that he bears the name “Obasek” Godwin. While this may be an error on the part of the issuing authority, we observed however that the aspirant has not taken any step ever to have the anomaly corrected by the issuing authority.

“In our interaction with issues raised, we concluded that HSLC was defective, the NYSC certificate and based on the party’s Constitution, this has made us to recommend that the above candidate therefore, Obaseki, is not eligible to participate in the election.”

Ayuba also noted that Iduoriyekemwen was disqualified because he had instituted a case before a court against the party.

However, the committee cleared Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Dr. Pius Odubu and Hon. Osaro Obazee for the June 22 governorship primary.
Speaking after the screening committee made its outcome known, the national chairman of the party, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, said that the screening committee report was still subject to the appeal committee if those disqualified wished to appeal.

He said, ” Like I mentioned at the inauguration, the screening committee report is still subject to the appeal committee. And the appeal committee would give opportunity to all those who have participated to take advantage of the appeal if they have reasons to disagree with the findings of the Committee.

“As of yesterday, those aspirants have been advised to take full advantage of of the appeal mechanism if they wish to. The appeal committee has been put on notice to hear the appeal arising from this report.”

Meanwhile, a former national chairman of the party, Chief John Oyegun, has described the disqualification of Obaseki by the screening panel as a hatchet job.

Oyegun, in a statement issued on Friday through his Public Affairs Adviser, Chief Ray Morphy, said Oshiomole was the one guilty of anti-party, not Obaseki, adding that the national chairman was the one who is acting unconstitutionally not Obaseki.

Oyegun stated: “The disqualification of Obaseki by the APC screening panel is a hatchet job aimed at installing a stooge that will allow some people unfettered access to Edo Treasury.

“While not a surprise, that disqualification is clear indication that internal democracy has been murdered in APC, a party which we founded on the principles of fairplay and good conscience!

“I daresay that APC will suffer dire consequences in Edo state if this disqualification is not speedily reversed.

I hope that Oshiomole will not go down in history as the undertaker of APC.”