Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Any hopes Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki may have had of still contesting re-election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were dashed Saturday with the party’s screening appeal panel upholding his disqualification, the party’s national leadership having confirmed his ineligibility to participate in the party’s upcoming state primary.
Presenting the report to the National Working Committee (NWC), the panel revealed that though only one of the three disqualified aspirants appealed the decision of the screening committee, they upheld the disqualification after reviewing the petitions against them.
The panel, in upholding the decision of the screening committee, noted that the trio of Governor Obaseki, Chris Ogiemwonyi and Matthew Aigbuhuenze Iduoriyekemwen was guilty as charged and stood ineligible to participate in the primary election scheduled for June 22.
The Chairman of the Appeal panel, Abubakar Fari, said: ‘We looked at the grounds on which he was disqualified and I would like to say his disqualification was based on solid grounds.’
The committee chairman added: ‘We found the screening committee findings on the other two as justified. In respect of Mathew, the appeal committee in the course of reviewing the report of the screening committee observed that it failed to make a finding and draw a conclusion of his prejudicial finding of filing a legal action against the National Chairman and the party itself.
‘We reached the conclusion that such conduct runs contrary to Article 21(D) 5 of the party’s 2014 constitution as amended, having failed to exhaust internal mechanisms for seeking redress in the party prior to instituting the action and pursuant to the same provision. As a result of that, we upheld the decision of the screening committee that he should be disqualified and he is so disqualified by the appeal committee,’ he said.
The appeal panel chairman said in regard to Governor Obaseki: ‘This committee finds that although the screening committee disqualified Obaseki on the evidence of the documents he presented, however, the committee did not take into account their contradictions in the various petitions submitted to the committee against Godwin Obaseki. We take the liberty to highlight these discrepancies.
‘In the affidavit sworn to by Godwin Obaseki before the High Court Abuja, he stated under oath that he graduated from the University of Ibadan with a BA degree in Classical Studies in 1976. However, the university certificate he attached to his nomination form bears 1979 which is a material contradiction,’ he said.
Commending the committee for meticulously doing a job well done, APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole warned that with the conclusion of the processes towards the Edo primaries, attention will be focused on Ondo governorship poll.
While confirming the reports of both committees, Oshiomhole said that apart from the certificates, the two committees also indicted the governor of arbitrary powers of ruling the state without a properly constituted legislature.
‘We note with satisfaction that all members of the committee endorsed the reports. We are satisfied that the appeal committee did a thorough job and we the NWC unanimously approved the reports both the screening and appeals committees submitted,’ he remarked.
The party also announced the indefinite suspension of two of its members in Edo State, Kenneth Asekomeah and Matthew Aigbuhuenze Iduoriyekemwen, ruling that they are guilty of dragging the party to court without exhausting the internal resolution mechanisms.