*Screening panel summoned at villa
*Obaseki is our alumnus, UI replies APC
By Ezeocha Nzeh
Amidst fear and suspense, the All Progressives Congress (APC) commenced screening of the party’s six governorship aspirants yesterday at its national secretariat in Abuja
The screening which was earlier billed to commence by 10am, was delayed for siome hours with reports that the Professor Jonathan Ayuba led seven man committee was summoned to an emergency meeting at the villa.
Speaking while inaugurating the seven man Screening Committee and five man Appeal Committee on Tuesday in Abuja, APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, warned that the party must be very strict in screening of it’s aspirants in order to avoid a repeat of its ugly experience at the Bayelsa State governorship case which it lost out of improper screening of its candidates
“After intensive consultations, we decided to have people who in our own judgement 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 have always performed this role but maybe we did not give it the appropriate weight. May be we had assumed that people who want to aspire to certain offices particularly high elective offices of executive governor, we expect that no one will submit documents contain information that may possibly lead to disqualification. In the past, this was more of a formality but with what happened to us in Bayelsa state earlier this year, we decided to approach the issue of screening much more seriously than ever before….”
While speaking on the role of the NWC, Oshiomhole maintained that the NWC will be at the end of the screening exercise if there are discrepancies
“NWC can reject the screening result. In this case the screening committee is High Court, Appeal Committee is Appeal Court and the NWC, the Supreme Court.”
The screening exercise which started with two frontline aspirants, the incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki and his arch rival, Pastor Osagie Ize – Iyamu generated tension at the APC secretariat, following reports that the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole was backing APC new entrant, Ize – Iyamu as against incumbent Obaseki
The other aspirants included Chris Ogienwonyi, former deputy governor to Oshiomhole, Pius Odubu, Hon Mathew Aigbunuenze and Hon. Osaro Obazee
As at midday of Wednesday, several supporters of the incumbent, Godwin Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, had already stormed the secretariat drumming support for their own.
Although the supporters of Ize-Iyamu did not brand themselves, the supporters of the incumbent had dressed in branded white vests, occupying one side of the road outside the secretariat singing and chanting intermittently especially when the incumbent arrived and left.
A supporter of Governor Obaseki, who spoke a t the APC secretariat exoressed confidence that the governor will scale through the screening exercise and emerge victorious at the June 22 party primary, despite all odds. He hover expressed cautious concern of the situation, hinting that they have been informed that the situation might degenerate into a physical battle.
‘As you see here, I am afraid because they have told us that there is every likelihood that enemies of Obaseki might mobilise protesters to attack us. They have put us on security alert and that was why I had to park my car far away from here. I am not very comfortable seeing some if these hostile faces arriving. However, I can confirm to you that we are ready for anything. You can see we are poised for war from them,’ he said.
Screening Committee in stormy villa meeting
Similarly, the activity of the screening committee, which was supposed to resume at 10 am, was delayed till later in the day because, according to a source, they were summoned by the party leadership after arriving in the early hours.
It was later gathered that the committee were dragged to an emergency meeting at the villa which lasted for hours before they returned to the APC national secretariat to commence work
Obaseki is our alumnus, UI replies APC inquiry
Meanwhile, the management of the University of Ibadan may have doused the tension created by the APC leadership over the authenticity of the certificate submitted by Governor Godwin Obaseki, who is seeking the party’s ticket for a second term in office
The University has confirmed that the Governor of Edo State, graduated from the institution in 1979. The confirmation was in response to a call reportedly made by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, that the institution should confirm the results tendered by the embattled governor for his participation in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state.
University of Ibadan, in a statement signed by the Registrar of the institution Mrs Olubunmi O Faluyi, it stated that the governor studied classics in the institution and graduated with a second class(lower division). The statement reads: “Mr Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, the Governor of Edo State graduated from the University of Ibadan where he studied Classics”. “Mr Obaseki gained admission to the University in 1976 and graduated in 1979 with a Second Class Honours, Lower Division. “Records of his admission and graduation are intact in the archives of the University.”
Reacting to the development via his Twitter handle shortly after the confirmation, Obaseki retweeted the story on the confirmation published by a media platform and wrote, “Posterity will always vindicate the just.”