The All Progressives Congress (APC) has inaugurated its screening and appeal committees for the upcoming Ekiti governorship election.
Former Bayelsa State governor, Timipre Silva, is the chairman of the screening committee, while the appeal committee is chaired by Abuzarri Ribadu.
The National Organising Secretary of the party, Ositta Izunaso, on behalf of National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun, inaugurated the two committees on Wednesday, urging the members to discharge their duties without fear or favour.
The Ekiti state governorship election is scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to hold July 14.
Towards the election, APC had released a timetable showing its scheduled activities starting with the sale of forms from April 9 to 17, after which the aspirants will be screened from April 23 to April 25.
Not less than 29 aspirants have either written or visited the secretariat of the party to indicate their interest to contest although some are yet to publicly declare.
Some of the aspirants include former governors Kayode Fayemi and Segun Oni; Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojudu; former senator Gbenga Aluko; former State House of Assembly speaker, Olufemi Bamisile; former Labour Party candidate, Opeyemi Bamidele; and former chairman of the Ekiti State Hospitals Management Board, Bamidele Faparusi.
The APC is seeking to oust the Peoples Democratic party (PDP), whose candidate in 2014, Ayo Fayose, defeated the sitting APC governor, Mr Fayemi.
The APC screening committee has been mandated to access all aspirants and documents presented by the aspirants for the election to enable the party come up with a suitable candidate while the appeal committee will address whatever issues arise afterwards.
Mr Isunazo stressed that the screening is mandatory for all aspirants.
“The screening committee is supposed to carry out its duties without fear or favour. The screening is mandatory for all aspirants its not optional. So let no aspirant say that he is busy in Ekiti campaigning, it is mandatory. If you don’t attend the screening you are automatically disqualified from contesting the election,” he said.
“It is your duty also to comprehensively screen these people by being diligent, looking at all their credentials, their statement of claim, result submitted,” he told the committee members. “The office will help you if you want to write to institutions like WAEC and other institutions to cross check within 24 hours.
“You’re also to verify all claims, all documents and supporting materials brought by the aspirants. Some of these documents might not be correct so you are supposed to verify those documents properly.
“We believe that the calibre of men and women that were assembled to do this work is such that their work will be thorough, but in line with the constitutional requirement, we will also have an appeal committee that will look into your work.
“The majority of you, once you sign a report it is valid. There is nothing like minority report here but you can submit an audit report for our evaluation. But once the majority has endorsed the report, that becomes the report. So it is important that you attend all the sessions and agree and disagree.
“Thereafter it will be sent to the appeal committee. If there is any petition arising from your work it will be sent to the appeal committee, that is why we have the appeal committee the same day. They will work when you finish but will be available because of the short time.
“If there is any petition, such a petition should be forwarded straight to the appeal committee. But if for any reason it is sent to the screening committee they will also forward it to the appeal committee. The screening committee will send two reports, their report comes to us and to the appeal committee.”
He also revealed that the delegates list will be passed to the aspirants through the screening committee.
“The party has decided to pass the delegates list to the aspirants through the screening committee so we are going to give you 33 copies of delegates list. So when you screen a candidate and pass the person, you give him a copy.”
The chairman of the screening committee expressed confidence in the persons appointed to his committee and promised they will deliver on their responsibility.
“I believe that our job is very very simple, the guidelines are clear. We match the qualification of the aspirants against the guidelines that have been given to us against our party constitution and against the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“if you qualify, it is easy for us to say you are hereby qualified.This responsibility although simple is very critical to the election because it is through this that we can select the best and most qualified for the election. if we don’t do our job correctly, we can have a situation that even after our victory, it can be snatched from us.
“We will take our responsibility very serious. Looking across the table, I will like to thank our party that they have carefully chosen the people. I see they are people with proven integrity and that we will do a very thorough job together.
“On behalf of all of us I give you a commitment that we will do a thorough job and make sure no misfit or nobody that is not qualified will pass through these committees; the screening committee and appeal committee.”
Members of the screening committee are former Bayelsa State governor, Timipriye Sylva as chairman, Denton Oghuihi as secretary, while Samaila Yusuf, Amina Gwamawa, Ayo Afolabi, Biyami Shikafi, and Muhammed Mustapha are members.
The screening appeal committee is chaired by Abuzarri Ribadu, with Tunde Esam as secretary; and Kayode Oseni, Osaro Bizugbe and Eden Selong as members.
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