The All Progressives Congress (APC) aspirants for Edo State governorship party ticket is on as Governor Godwin Obaseki, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Dr. Pius Odubu, Chris Ogiemwonyi, Osaro Obazee, and Matthew Iduoriyenkemwen appear with the screening panel in the Abuja.
The party’s national secretariat in Abuja has appointed the seven-man committee on Tuesday to screen the aspirants on Wednesday and Thursday.
A six-member Appeal Committee to hear the petitions of aggrieved aspirants after the screening was also inaugurated.
But, the party said it is National Working Committee (NWC) remains the final clearinghouse for all eligible aspirants seeking the ticket ahead of the primary slated for June 22.
National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole, who inaugurated the committees, said the party invited the “wise men and women” to assist it in screening aspirants to avoid the Bayelsa State experience.
Urging the committees made up of legal luminaries and academicians for a thorough job, Oshiomhole said the party had gone a step higher by displaying the credentials of aspirants at the national secretariat and the state office in Benin.
According to him, the decision was taken to enable members of the party and public to verify the information provided by the aspirants, with a view to providing any counter information that will help the screening committee in discharging their duties.
The party chair said: “After intensive consultations, we decided to have people who in our own judgment are sound and when they go through this process, their recommendations will be very helpful. Under our rules, we are expected to set up a screening committee before every election.
“The responsibility of the screening committee is to interact with all those who have aspirations to contest, strictly speaking, not yet aspirants. You become an aspirant after the screening committee has passed you.
“If anybody is dissatisfied with the screening committee’s recommendation, he/she will file an appeal and it will be forwarded to the Appeals Committee and after that, they will make a final recommendation to the National Working Committee (NWC) that has the final decision as to who is eligible or who is not eligible.
“In the past, we had always performed this role but maybe we did not give it the appropriate weight. Maybe we had assumed that people who want to aspire to certain offices, particularly high elective offices of executive governor, won’t submit documents containing information that may possibly lead to disqualification.
“In the past, this was more of a formality but with what happened to us in Bayelsa earlier this year, we decided to approach the issue of screening much more seriously than ever before.”
Oshiomhole, however, said should there be discrepancies at the end of the screening and appeal exercises, the “NWC can reject the screening result” stressing that, “the screening committee is High Court, Appeal Committee is Appeal Court and the NWC is the Supreme Court”.
The appeal committee will be sitting on Friday for any protest from the screening.
The screening committee, chaired by Prof. Jonathan Ayuba, has Dr. Rabe Nasir as Secretary while members are Prof. Agbo Madaki, Hon. Ibrahim Zailani, Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (Binani), Dr. Jane-Frances Agbu, and Hon. Fort Dike as members.
Prof. Abubakar Fari (Chairman), Daniel Bwala (Secretary), Prof Sadeeque Abba, Gbenga Olubajo, Mohammed Idris, and Esther Bepeh, are members of the screening committees.