The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee (NWC) has cleared six more aspirants to contest the party’s governorship primary scheduled for tomorrow in Lokoja.
This brings to ten, the number of aspirants out of the 16 that purchased nomination forms, who will contest the election.
It also approved the disqualification of six others.
The immediate past Resident Electoral Commissioner for Cross River State, Frankland Briyal was disqualified for Bayelsa State governorship primary, saying it could not find evidence of his membership of the party, having joined less than one month to the primary.
Those disqualified in Kogi the two sons of late Prince Abubakar Audu – Mustapha and Mohammed Abubakar Audu; Prof. Mohammed Seidu Onaili, Usman Oyibe Jibrin, Mustapha Mona Audu, Rukkaya Ibrahim, Gen. Patrick Adenu Akpa, Muhammed Abubakar Unukwu Audu.
The screening committee headed by Senator Hope Uzodinma had disqualified 12 of the 16 aspirants for not meeting some of the requirements spelt out in the guidelines.
Those, who will now contest the party’s ticket, are Governor Yahaya Bello, Babatunde Irukera, Hadiza Iyoma Ibrahim, Yahaya Odidi Audu, Sani Lulu Abdullahi, Abubakar Bashir, Danlami Umar Mohammed, Yakubu Mohammed, Hassan Abdullahi and Ekele Aishat Blessing.
APC National Publicity Secretary Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu said in a statement that the party relied on the provisions of its guidelines and the electoral act in arriving at a final decision.The National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has cleared a governorship aspirant, Babatunde Ayo Kunle Irukera to contest the Party’s Kogi governorship primaries.
Ironically, Irukera, who was initially listed among those who were disqualified, was announced late yesterday that he successfully met the conditions provided by the party’s guidelines for the nomination of candidates within the time granted to clarify his claims.
Issa-Onilu’s statement reads: “The APC National Working Committee has deliberated on the reports of the screening and appeal committees for the party’s Kogi governorship aspirants.
“After a comprehensive review of the submissions by the two committees, relying on the party’s guidelines and the provisions of the Electoral Act, nine aspirants were finally cleared to contest the August 29, 2019 Indirect Governorship primary. Seven other aspirants did not meet the requirements for participation in the exercise.”
On Bayelsa, Onilu said the NWC upheld the reports of the screening and appeal committees, clearing six of the seven aspirants that bought nomination forms.
He said: “Of the total seven governorship aspirants that were screened, six were cleared to participate in the governorship primary. They are: Mr. Aganaba Preye Steven, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, Prince Ebitimi Christopher Amgbare, Ms Diseye Nsirim Poweigha, Mr. Lyon David Pereworimini and Engr. Prof (Mrs.) Ongoebi Maureen Etebu.
“Dr. Briyai Oyeins Frankland was not cleared to participate in the party’s governorship primary.
“The APC NWC upheld the disqualification of Frankland based on Section 3 Paragraph “L” of the party’s guidelines for the nomination of candidates, which requires that aspirants are card-carrying members of the party for a period of one year.
“The party also found no record of his membership of APC and was therefore considered ineligible.”
But, a group of protesters on the platform of Kogi Mandate Group, yesterday evening, blocked entrance to the APC national secretariat, demanding explanation why Irukera was not initially cleared to contest the primary.
The group alleged that the party’s NWC deliberately omitted the name of Irukera from the list of cleared aspirants even after the Appeals Committee set up by the party had cleared him for the contest.
Irukera was disqualified by the Screening Committee for invalid declaration of age, not attaching his academic credentials and supporting documents and for his nomination form not duly signed.
But a copy of the appeal committee’s report sighted by The Nation claimed that they found no evidence to support the claim by the screening committee after listening to oral submission by Irukera and therefore cleared him for the primary.
However, the group accused the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC of the party of deliberately shutting out Irukera to pave way for Bello to emerge unopposed at the primary billed to hold in Lokoja today.
Spokesperson for the group, Amos Alfa, expressed surprise that the party went ahead to disqualify Irukera in spite the fact that he was cleared by the screening committee of the party.