Suspense as APC Screening Committee Summons Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu, Others

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  • Panel to submit appraisal report today
  • Appeal committee to begin sitting

Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja

The fate of all the six Edo State governorship aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) hung in the balance thursday as the party’s Screening Committee to determine their suitability or otherwise for the contest wound up sitting without a report.

THISDAY learnt that the committee would submit its report today during which each aspirant would know his stand.

Ahead of the submission of the report, the committee has summoned all the aspirants, who were screened between Wednesday and thursday to appear before it at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.

Those in the race are the incumbent Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; a former Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Pius Odubu; a former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu; Mr. Chris Ogiemwonyi; Mr. Matthew Iduoriyekemwe and Mr. Osaro Obaze.

THISDAY gathered last night that the screening committee was still putting together its report, as at the time of filling this report, and is expected to submit its finding to the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.

A member of the committee told THISDAY that a text message had been sent to all the aspirants informing them to report at the party secretariat for the sitting of the Appeal Committee, slated to begin at 10am.

It was gathered that all the aspirants were summoned so that anyone disqualified who needed to seek redress would have the opportunity to do so immediately.

The source said: “I don’t know who was cleared and who was not; as I am talking to you, they are still compiling their report. And the party had already sent messages to everybody that Appeal Committee will sit tomorrow, Friday.

“Since the NWC does not know who is cleared and who is not cleared, we have sent messages to all of them, informing them about the Appeal Committee sitting on Friday.”

The source added that by today, all the aspirants will come to the party’s headquarters to check whether they have been cleared to take part in the June 26 primary or not and whoever needs to see the Appeal Committee will do so.

Another party chief confided in THISDAY that the chances are high that the screening committee might disqualify Obaseki, who has been having a running battle with APC National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, on account of alleged anti-party activities.

It was gathered that the governor allegedly filed multiple cases both at the Federal High Court and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on Wednesday to restrain the Screening Committee from going ahead with its assignment but ‘’failed woefully.’’

‘’The constitution of our party is very clear; there are internal mechanisms for resolving our problems before going to court. It will amount to anti-party activities for any party member to take the party to court – with the sole aim of preventing the party from conducting a primary for Edo State governorship election’,’ the source stated.

Should he be disqualified from running on APC platform, it would not come as a surprise to Obaseki.
Shortly after he was screened late on Wednesday, the governor had said he might not get justice from the party and accused Oshiomhole of being a judge by proxy in his case.

Obaseki who had arrived at the national secretariat on Wednesday, had stayed longer than the other aspirants that were earlier screened.

“The last time I came here, I asked that Oshiomhole recuse himself from the process in the interest of peace and justice. But as a party man, I have had to go through the screening like everybody else.

“Since he is the judge and the jury in this matter, I will just wait for the outcome of the screening. I have given them all the information they need; the controversial certificate from the University of Ibadan has been tendered.

“Like I said, as a party man, I have gone through the screening process but I do not believe that I will get justice because Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is an interested party in the Edo process.

“One of the questions that I was asked was that why did I issue a gazette that will prevent the party from performing direct elections in Edo State – that did I not see it as an anti-party activity? I just felt that if we put politics above the lives of the people of Edo State, we may be missing the point,” he had said after he was screened.