The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Friday disqualified Governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki, and two other aspirants from contesting the party’s June 22 primaries.
Sun news erepoirted that the panel further announced that while Pastor Ize-Iyamu, Pius Odubu and Osaro Obazee were qualified to contest the primaries, Matthew Aigbuhuenze Iduoriyekemwen and Chris Ogiemwonyi were disqualified along with Givernor Obaseki.
Before being disqualified, Governor Obaseki had after appearing before the screening committee expressed worry that he will not get justice from the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC), urging him to recluse himself from the Edo nomination process as an interested party.
“The last time I came here, I asked that Oshiomhole recluse himself from the process in the interest of peace and justice. But as a party man, I have had to go through the screening like everybody else.
“Since he is the judge and the jury in this matter, I will just wait for the outcome of the screening. I have given them all the information they need; the controversial certificate from the University of Ibadan has been tendered.
“Like I said, as a party man I have engine through the screening process but I do not believe that I will get justice because Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is an interested party in the Edo process.
“One of the questions that was asked was why did I issue a gazette that will prevent the party from performing direct elections in Edo. That did I not see it as an anti party activity? I just felt that if we put politics above the the lives of the people of Edo State, the we may be missing the point,” he lamented.
However, the Chairman of the Screening committee, Prof Jonathan Ayuba, hinged Obaseki’s disqualification on defective certificate while speaking at a world press conference at the party’s secretariat.
The Chairman said:
“This assignment came in at the most difficult times of democracy in this country. The issue of trust in the electoral process, nomination process and the task we were given was considered by the committee as extremely difficult but we accepted because of the nature of process.
“We accepted the job not because of APC but the country. We are staking our integrity. The integrity of the process in this country in order to arrive at what we have done. Mr Chairman, our report is conclusive. Every member signed and has agreed with what we have decided at the committee level. This is essential because we want to be judged by what we have done and what we are presenting.
“We were thorough in the manner in which we conducted the exercise. We recorded live the interaction with each of the aspirants. The unedited clip is what we are giving as part of our report. We want to be judged by what we have done and not by what a third party says or by rumour.
“The methodology we used is clear. It was evidence-based. All we did was an interaction. We screened six aspirants, three were eligible to contest and three were deemed ineligible to participate. The first candidate was Osaro Obaze. The committee after screening and the verification of the candidate’s documents, found him eligible to contest the primary. Based on the committee’s observation above, the candidate is cleared
“On Chris Osa, the name on all the certificate presented by the aspirant are in contradiction with one another. Also the sworn declaration of aged deposed to by one Capt. Steven on June 3, 2016 bore two conflicting names of the aspirant. Considering the discrepancy in all the certificates presented and also the difference in the names contained in the sworn affidavit of June 2016, and having regards to the federal republic of Nigeria, the Electoral Act, APC constitution and the party’s guidelines for the nomination of candidates and the reliance on the cases that have been settled by the supreme court and the court of appeal, it is the considered view of the committee that this aspirant does not meet the requirement to participate in the primary of the APC.
In view of the findings of the committee above, Engr Chris is not cleared,” he said.
“Though, His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki in his nomination form claimed to have obtained a Higher School Certificate (HSC) from an Institute of Continuing Education, Benin. It was observed however that no educational certificate such as Higher School Leaving Certificcate is known in Nigerian educational system.
“Even then, the same HSLC was never presented in the course of the screening exercise. The aspirant admitted that he has never collected it. The attestation from the Institute of Continuing Education, Benin fro. where the alleged HSC which was indicated in the field of attendance as obtained is of no consequence, as it only attests that Obaseki was a student of the Institute. So what we had was like an It was just an attendance, it was not a result.
Although, the Committee received a petition on his University of Ibadan Bachelor of Arts Classics certificate which he submitted to INEC in 2016, when he first contested as governor, the committee on further probing was presented with original certificate issued by the University and the original was sighted.
“On the NYSC certificate dated 6th August 1980, the committee observed that he bears the name “Obasek” Godwin. While this may be an error on the part of the issuing authority, we observed however that the aspirants has not taken any step ever to have the anomaly corrected by the issuing authority.
“In our interaction with issues raised, we concluded that HSC was defective, the NYSC certificate and based on the party’s Constitution, this has made us to recommend that the above candidate therefore, Obaseki is not eligible to participate in the election,” the defended the committee’s decision.
Speaking after receiving the report, the national chairman urged those disqualified to seek redress from the Appeal panel after commending the committee.