Ajimobi heads APC 7-member Ondo governorship screening committee •Agunloye picks SDP form •Don’t heat up polity, civil society group warns

THE National Organising Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Osita Izunaso, on Wednesday, at the party’s National Secretariat, in Abuja, inaugurated a high-powered seven-member screening committee and three-member screening appeal committee for the 2016 Ondo State governorship election primaries.

The seven-member screening committee is chaired by the Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi. Other members are Mr Joe Igbokwe, Honourable Fatsuma Talba, Chief Felix Nwachukwu, Mr Aminu Jacob Momoh, Alhaji Mustapha Abubakar and Alhaji Umar Duhu (Secretary).

The three-member Screening Appeal Committee is chaired by former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Agunwa Anaekwe. Other members are Honourable Sadiq Abdullahi and Dr Bashiru Ajibola (Secretary).

The APC National Organising Secretary charged the seven-member screening committee to carry out comprehensive screening of all documents submitted to the party by aspirants. He said all candidates must meet eligibility requirements provided by the 1999 Constitution (as amended), 2010 Electoral Act (as amended), the party’s constitution and the party’s 2014 guidelines for the nomination of candidates for public office.

He said: “The assignment of this committee is a very serious one. You are expected to look at the qualifications of the aspirants that have bought forms to contest for the Ondo State governorship on the platform of our party. Their qualification must be looked at in line with the 1999 Constitution and in line with our party’s guidelines as well. You must also make sure aspirants have paid the N5million for the nomination form and N500,000 for the expression of interest form. There must be evidence of this payment. You must also look at the aspirant’s contributions to the party at ward, state and even at the national level. You must also look at their knowledge of the party’s manifesto.

The APC National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso, stated that the screening exercise is mandatory for all aspirants and aspirants are not to be screened by proxy.

Speaking at the inauguration, Chairman of the Screening Committee, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, expressed confidence that the APC would win the Ondo State governorship election. He also said all aspirants will be treated fairly during the screening exercise.

Also, former Minister of Power, Dr Olu Agunloye, on Wednesday, raised the alarm over the increasing rate of poverty in the country and called on President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to shift its fight to the scourge in the interest of democracy.

Speaking in Abuja shortly after he picked his nomination form to contest for the governorship ticket of Ondo State on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), he cautioned the Federal Government that the ongoing fight against corruption should not be fight of individual but about institution.

While presenting the form to the aspirant, the party’s Deputy National Chairman, Dr Abdul Ahmmed Isaiq, said the PDP government in Ondo State had failed woefully.

Meanwhile, civil society groups under the umbrella, Coalition of All Civil Society Organisations in Ondo State, on Wednesday, called on political parties and politicians to desist from heating up the polity in the state.

The group, which also faulted the just-concluded voters registration exercise conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of the election, called on the electoral umpire to analyse the last exercise.

Speaking to journalists during a press conference in Akure, chairman of the group, Franklin Oloniju, noted that the registration exercise was marred with irregularities, saying “people were brought in from neighbouring states to register as voters in Ondo State.”