By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The drama unfolding in the Edo state governorship primaries of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has assumed a fresh twist as the screening panel set up by the chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday barred all journalists from observing the exercise.
The screening which commenced around noon yesterday, recorded the attendance of four candidates, including Pius Egberanmwen Odubu, Osaro Obazee, Chris Osa Ogianwonyi and Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
However, Governor Obaseki came in and quickly breezed out of the Secretariat, promising to return, but he was not seen as at the time of filing this report, while Iduoriyekemwen Matthew Aigbuhuenye, who is alleged to be sponsored by Governor Obaseki, was not seen throughout yesterday at the complex .
The screening is billed to last for two days, meaning that the remaining aspirants (Godwin Obaseki and Iduoriyekemwen Matthew Aigbuhuenye), who could not get screened yesterday may be called today for the exercise.
None of the aspirants agreed to speak to journalists after the screening as they quickly entered into their vehicles already in wait and drove off the Secretariat.
As at the time of filing this report around 6:30pm, journalists, political aides and associates still thronged the APC headquarters in wait for the embattled Edo governor to return.
Recall that on Tuesday, the chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, assembled professors and lawyers to screen the six aspirants on the party’s platform and to consider the appeals arising from the screening of the six aspirants.
This came amidst the allegations that Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, forged his certificates, an allegation threatening to quash his chances of securing the APC governorship ticket for a second tenure as Edo governor.
The screening committee is chaired by Prof. Jonathan Ayuba, while Prof. Abubakar Fari will lead the Appeals Committee.
Members of the screening committee are Prof. Agbo Madaki, Hon. Ibrahim Zailani, Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed “Binani”, Dr. Jane- Frances Agbu, Hon. Fort Dike and Dr. Rabe Nasir who would serve as Secretary.
Also, the members of the Appeals Committee are Prof. Sadeeque Abba, Barr. Gbenga Olubajo, Mohammed Idris, Esther Bepeh and Barr. Daniel Bwala who would serve as Secretary.
Inaugurating the screening committee members at the APC national Secretariat in Abuja Tuesday, Oshiomhole who said the NWC of the party still retains the final say on the recommendation of the screening committee on all the aspirants, also inaugurated another panel to serve as an appeal committee for the issues that will arise from the screening processes.
He expressed hope that the committee would work towards ensuring that the Bayelsa experience does not repeat, in which the ruling party’s victory was nullified by Supreme Court due to alleged certificate forgery by its governorship candidate.