Ahead of its primary election scheduled to hold on Thursday, June 25, the PDP on Saturday screened Edo Governor, Godwin Obaseki, a new entrant vying for the party’s ticket to contest the September 19 governorship poll.
Mr Obaseki was screened at the party’s headquarters in Abuja.
Speaking with reporters shortly after he was screened by the Kingsley Chinda-led screening committee, Mr Obaseki commended the party for the exercise, and expressed optimism that he would secure the PDP ticket.
“The screening exercise was fair and professional; I saw objectivity in it,” he said.
Mr Obaseki said he was not a divisive candidate, adding that he was “speaking with all the aspirants”.
“My hope and purpose for the PDP is to have a united and very strong party.
“Party primary should not be divisive because we, as a party, are focused on the same objective, but because we are individuals, our approaches may be different.
“So, party primary, in my view, should not be acrimonious and destructive. There are common grounds, common interests and I am very hopeful that I will get it even as there are quite a number of delegates for the exercise,” he said.
Asked of the credentials he presented to the committee, Mr Obaseki said: “I presented all my certificates, my secondary school, higher school, university and my National Youth Service certificate, so that they can look at them and see if there are inconsistencies.
“You can ask the screening committee if there are any inconsistencies in any of them,” Mr Obaseki said.
Also asked if he still enjoyed the sympathy of All Progressives Congress (APC) governors, Mr Obaseki said he enjoyed national support, “not just support from his colleagues from the APC”.
“There are elder statesmen who are apolitical; there are traditional rulers; I have people from different spectrums of the society who come around on solidarity with me.
“I think Nigerians are generally fair-minded people. They are people who do not accept injustice. From what I have seen over the past several weeks and months, the support is just across the board. It is not just from APC governors alone,” he said.
Mr Obaseki, however, urged political parties, who were wooing him to their parties, to support his aspiration under the PDP platform.
“I believe they made overtures to me because they believe that we share something in common; that there is something I can offer their platform.
“So, my message is that those hopes and aspirations which they were hoping for, which was the reasons they wanted me to join their parties, can still be realised under the platform of the PDP.
“I will encourage them and woo them to join me in the PDP,” he said.
Mr Chinda, speaking earlier, assured Nigerians that the screening committee would be fair, transparent and would do justice to whoever appears before it.
“We are not unaware that he is a serving governor, but that has nothing to do with us as members of the screening committee.
“We want to assure everyone that whatever our findings are, we shall report to the party. But rest assured that we will be fair as human beings,” Mr Chinda said.
The party, on June 5, conducted a screening exercise for three aspirants – Kenneth Imansuangbon, Omoregie-Ogbeide Ihama and Gideon Ikhine.
The party on Friday granted waiver to Mr Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shuaibu, to enable them seek reelection under its platform, while it also shifted its primary election from June 23 to June 25.
Mr Obaseki left the ruling party after months of acrimonious political tussle with his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole, the now-suspended chairman of the APC. (NAN)