•Aspirants attend double screening
Emameh Gabriel in Abuja
Two factions of Labour Party (LP) yesterday simultaneously held parallel screening at different locations in Abuja, ahead of its April 15 gubernatorial primaries for apirants in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa State.
The exercise was conducted to screen eligible aspirants for the governorship elections in the affected states.
This was just as the Bashiru Lamidi Apapa-led National Working Committee (NWC) warned that aspirants who failed to turn up for the screening would have themselves to blame at the weekend.
THISDAY gathered that over 20 aspirants loyal to the Abure-led NWC were at the party’s campaign office for the screening, but also later appeared before the Apapa screening committee at the party’s national headquarters.
As at the time of filling this report, over 13 aspirants had been screened by Apapa at the party’s national headquarters with all of them expressing confidence in the process.
Some of the aspirants were: Engr. Udengs Eradivi from Bayelsa State; Chief Ikechuwku Ukaegbu from Imo State; Ihechi Ike from Imo State; Sen. Nneji Achonu, from Imo state.
Others were Chief Diekivie Ihiogla from Bayelsa; Col Abu Vincent Enemona from Kogi State; Donald Daunemigha; Ari Marshel Isaac Aifia, from Kogi state; among others.
Addressing journalists briefly before the screening commenced, Apapa said the total number of candidates to be screened were 24 from the three states: Imo Kogi and Bayelsa.
He expressed optimism that the exercise would go seamlessly, adding that there would be a committee to address grievances, should any arise after the primaries.
He explained: “Right now we have screened four gubernatorial aspirants, we have screened two from Bayelsa and two from Imo state. So far, they have all done their best and they have convinced us and the committee has screened them and they are qualified to appear for the primaries that will come up on the 16th of this month.
“We are expecting 13 aspirants from Imo State and we are equally expecting nine aspirants from Bayelsa and we are also expecting two from Kogi State. They are 24 altogether. If anybody has an issue, he/she should bring his appeal by tomorrow and the committee is already waiting to attend to those that have an issue,” he added.
An Imo State aspirants, Ukaegbu, who spoke to pressmen after the exercise, said if considered as the party’s candidate, he would channel efforts towards ensuring that the spate of insecurity in the state was addressed.
Ukaegbu, who described himself as a teacher and a trader, also expressed optimism to emerge winner of the gubernatorial election in Imo state.
He said: “Being a teacher and a trader you must know that as a teacher you must be conservative and what governance is all about is for you to be conservative so that you can take care of the people. I acquired such experience as a trader and that will help me manage money.
“I am the financial stakeholder of the Labour Party in Imo State and I have been in the Labour Party for over 14 years. I am well prepared for this governorship, not those who heard of Peter Obi so they came in.
“I am prepared to govern Imo State and in Imo State today I am the owner of Imo solution. I have my structures in all the 27 local governments, 305 wards and 4738 booths in Imo state.
“And you cannot be talking about winning elections when you don’t have a structure. So, I am not an opportunist. I have planned to govern Imo state and I am ready.”
While speaking on how he would end the spate of extrajudicial killings in the state, he said: “Insecurity is a problem. But, the only way you can be able to handle insecurity is to project the private sector. By projecting the private sector, you create jobs so that the youths can be gainfully employed.”
Meanwhile, while the screening continued at the party’s headquarters in Abuja, the Apapa-led NWC has warned aspirants to show up for the screening to avoid being disqualified at the primaries.
Speaking with pressmen after the second batch of screening, the National Publicity Secretary, Abayomi Arabambi, said the party would only accept aspirants who presented themselves for screening ahead of the April 15 primaries.
He said: “So far we have screened 12 aspirants, one is still under screening and we are expecting others before we closed screening today.
“For us, as far as we are concerned only 12 that showed up for this screening but for the 12 that came these are the people that will go to their state and do primary and the primary, we have scheduled it for April 15.
“Anybody who is not screened here at the party’s national headquarters, is not qualified to contest, he said.