The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) commenced the screening of 17 presidential aspirants on its platform on Friday.
This is ahead of the party’s primary election next month.
The party however, disqualified two aspirants.
The process, coordinated by the presidential screening committee, held at Legacy House, Abuja.
The aspirants appeared before the panel led by former Senate President, David Mark.
And at the end of the exercise, Mr Mark told journalists that of the 17 aspirants, two were disqualified.
He, however, failed to disclose the aspirants or the reasons for which they were eliminated.
Among the aspirants screened were former vice president, Atiku Abubakar; former Senate Presidents, Bukola Saraki and Pius Anyim; former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi; Bauchi and Sokoto State Governors, Bala Mohammed and Aminu Tambuwal.
Others were River State Governor, Nyesom Wike; publisher, Dele MomodU; former banker, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen; pharmacist, Sam Ohabunwa, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom and the only female presidential aspirant, Olivia Tariela.
Also screened were former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose; a lawyer, Charles Okwudili; Chikwendu Kalu and Cosmos Ndukwe.
Part of the screening process is the verification of aspirants’ membership status and other vital credentials, Mr Anyim told journalists after his turn.
He described the process as peaceful and commended members of the panel.
Mr Mohammed’s songs of praise for the committee and the party was no different.
When asked about the controversy surrounding his “emergence” as one of the consensus candidates for the North, the governor said he would wait for the PDP to make a decision.
He also appreciated what he called “the attestation” he has received from northern leaders.
While he pledged to run the race without rancour and violence against another contender, Mr Mohammed maintained that he would likely not run should the former president, Goodluck Jonathan, decide to join the race.
Take a bow
Mr Momodu, who was given the traditional “off the hook” treatment. was asked to “take a bow and go”, so he told journalists after his screening.
He said after they checked the originals of his documents and then said “take a bow” to his surprise.
“The chairman said he was impressed with my powerful articles which speak the minds of Nigerians.”
He assured that he will not “step down for anyone” and urged delegates not to sell their conscience.
On his part, Peter Obi said he will not impose himself on delegates as he admonished them to reflect on the nation and decide what to do to guarantee a better future.
And on zoning, he said the party has the final say.
“I can’t have a thought. I’m a member of a party. If the party says this is where they want the party to go. If you are a member of an organisation, you respect that organisation and that is why I said whatever we do.”
Ms Tariela was, however, firm on her thoughts on zoning – which she believes should be given to women.
“The men have been in power for 61 years. It is about time they zone it to a woman.”
The screening took place behind closed doors.
The party has fixed May 14 for the primary.
It has, however, remained silent on its decision on zoning as well as the mode of elections that will be used at the primary.
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