APC National Covention: 19 aspirants risk disqualification —Okorocha
About 19 aspirants seeking for various positions in the All Progressives Congress, (APC) national secretariat risk disqualification. Imo state governor and chairman of the convention appeal committee, Governor Rochas Okorocha made the disclosure at the weekend.
He said his committee might act on the recommendation of the screening committee led by his Katsina State counterpart, Aminu Bello Masari.
There is anxiety in the camp of supporters of the incumbent national organising secretary of the party, Senator Osita Isunaso that he might lose out in the power game rocking the Imo state chapter of the party.
Senator Isunazo is seeking a fresh mandate to return to the party is National Working Committee, having been adopted by its South East zonal caucus.
But he is in league with a group, the Imo State APC Stakeholders which has upstaged Governor Okorocha in the battle for the control of the party structures in the state.
Speculation is rife that Okorocha is smarting to take his pound of flesh from the embattled Isunazo as the chairman of the appeal committee.
He told journalists on Saturday that his Committee had the power to disqualify those already screened and qualified.
“Yes, if you don’t make the appeal screening, you are disqualified because there is no other appeal after this,” he threatened.
Okorocha further disclosed that 18 aggrieved individuals had also petitioned his Committee.
He declared that if his committee upholds the recommendations of the screening committee on the 19 aspirants, “it means they have been disqualified from contesting the election. If there is anybody who has been screened and there is a petition against him, we have power to uphold his qualification or disqualify him based on the merits of the petition.
“As you can see, we have started receiving petitions and appeals. Right now, we have seven aspirants here. We have resolved to give everyone a fair hearing so that justice, equity and fairness will prevail so us to prevent crisis in the party. We are carefully selected Nigerians from all walks of life from different states that constitute membership of this committee.
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“We have two days to do this job and we will be submitting our report by Monday barring any other reason. We are here to work all day and all night and take our decision. The screening appeal is the final appeal in this case. After this appeal committee, the next appeal will be after election appeal which will come after the convention. We are unmindful of the fact that the convention committee will need time to start printing of ballot papers for the convention and so, we will ensure that we complete this job on time.
“So far, we have about 18 petitions before us and we have 19 persons that did not make it at the screening level. These are the things we are looking to see the merit or otherwise of their claims. We are going to use the screening committee report as a major guide to what we are doing. As soon as we are through with this, we are going to make it known to the public those who have succeeded at the appeals committee level.”
Governor Okorocha further revealed that only aspirants for the positions of national chairman and secretary had no petition against them.