The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), has dissociated the Adams Oshiomole-led National Working Committee (NWC) from the allegation that it influenced the just concluded screening of the party’s governorship aspirants in Kogi State.
Yahaya Bello, the Governor of Kogi, and three other others were cleared by the six-member committee while 12 others were disqualified mostly on the grounds of not being “financial members” and “invalid nomination form”.
PREMIUM TIMES had earlier reported Mustapha Audu, one of the disqualified aspirants and son of the late Abubakar Audu, alleging that Mr Oshiomhole was doing the bidding of Governor Bello rather than ensuring a level playing ground for all aspirants.
Reacting to these allegations the party’s spokesperson, Lanre Issa-Onilu, denied the involvement of the NWC in the screening.
He called on the aggrieved aspirants to seek redress with the appeal panel as the screening followed the party’s constitution.
“Screening of aspirants is a constitutional issue. There are clear procedures for the conduct of screening of aspirants in our party’s constitution and the Electoral Act,” he said. “The screening itself is not the final stage in the qualification process. Aspirants who have objections to outcomes of screening have the opportunity of presenting their case before the Appeal Panel.”
He said both the screening and appeal committees are independent of the National Working Committee “as far as their activities are concerned”.
“By practice, having selected people believed to be credible as members of these committees, the NWC does not interfere in any way in their activities,” he said. “Aspirants have the comfort that the reports would eventually be presented to the National Working Committee where a final look will be taken on a case by case basis to ensure the outcomes are in strict compliance with our party’s constitution and the Electoral Act.”
He also said, “there was no controversy on the current screening process to choose eligible aspirants who will contest at the party’s primaries to choose our candidates for the upcoming governorship elections in both Kogi and Bayelsa states.”
The party primary has been slated to hold on August 29 while INEC slated the main election for November 16.