The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday began the screening of governorship aspirants for next year’s elections.
Mixed reaction by contestants trailed the process across the six geo-political zones.
Eleven aspirants from Oyo, Lagos and Ogun states appeared before the PDP screening panel at the Zonal Office, Ibadan.
The committee is headed by Sen. Ahmed Makarfi.
Ogun aspirants are Segun Sowunmi, Ladi Adebutu and Jimi Lawal.
Governor Seyi Makinde and Hazeem Gbolarumi are from Oyo State.
Lagos aspirants are Shamsideen Dosumu, AbdulAzeez Adediran, David Kolawole, Jimi Karmal, Adedeji Doherty and Rhodes Gbadebo.
37 aspirants in Southeast
Former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu was among the 37 aspirants from Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu states at the party’s zonal office for the process in Enugu.
Aspirants from Ebonyi are: Fide Nwankwo; Chris Usulor; Chief Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii (Anyichuks); Igwe Nwagu and Anayo Edwin.
Others are Chukwuma Nwazunku; Augustine Nwazunku; Sylvester Ogbaga; Emmanuel Eze; Anayo Edwin and Obinna Ogba
Abia aspirants include Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Nnanna Nwafor; Don Lulu; Senator Emma Nwaka and former VC ABSU, Prof. Uchenna Ikonne, who is said to be Ikpeazu’s anointed candidate.
Others from Abia include Chima Anyaso, Ude Oko Chukwu, Lucky Igbokwe; Hon. Samson Orji; Chief Ncheta Omerekpe and Engr Nana Nwafor.
Enugu aspirants are Ekweremadu; Denge Joseph Onoh; Chinyeaka Ohaa, Barth Nnaji, Dr. Gabriel Ajah and Prof. Hilary Edeoga.
Others are Chijioke Edeoga, Peter Mba, Senator Gil Nnaji; Capt Evarest Nnaji; Beloved Dan Anike; Rev. Raph Nwoye; Chief Chikwado Chukwunta; Dr. Kingsley Udeh and Barr. Nwabueze Ugwu.
Some of the screened aspirants commended the screening committee for transparency.
Ike Ekweremadu rated the exercise high, saying: “Today, the PDP is holding the screening exercise of its gubernatorial aspirants in the South East and all over the country, zone by zone. In the South East, the exercise is taking place in Enugu and it is an important step in the party’s preparations for the 2023 general election.
“But, because there is no governorship election coming up in 2023 in Imo State where there is already an All Progressives Congress (APC) in place and Anambra where an All Progressives Grand Alliance Government (APGA) government was recently installed, based on an off-season election, the screening in the Southeast is only holding for Enugu, Abia, and Ebonyi aspirants.
“So, I have gone to meet with the panel and I have been successfully screened. It was quite smooth and the people were quite friendly and courteous. The system is perfect and we hope that the exercise will continue to be smooth as I met it.
“I want to thank the officials of the PDP in Enugu State and the Southeast for a job well done so far”, he stated.
Abaribe said the exercise is credible.
“I am impressed with what I have just passed through. It does show how remarkably improved PDP has become in its process.
“The people know who their champions are. We have all it takes and we have been screened.”
For Obinna Ogba, who wants to succeed Governor Dave Umahi in Ebonyi State, the party’s process has immensely improved.
Tight security in Port Harcourt screening centre
There was security beef up at the zonal secretariat in Port Harcourt, following the commencement of the exercise.
Aspirants from Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Cross River, and Edo states turned up for the exercise.
Security operatives mounted surveillance at the entrance.
Rivers State aspirants at the screening included the former state chairman of the PDP, Felix Obuah, Senator Lee Maeba, former Transport Minister, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, and David Briggs.
There was drama, following the arrest of a House of Representatives member, Dr. Farah Dagogo, by the police.
Police stormed the venue and whisked away Dagogo, who is one of the governorship aspirants.
Dagogo was on Wednesday declared wanted by Governor Nyesom Wike, who accused him of sponsoring cultists who attacked the PDP secretariat.
The governor, in the statement, directed the police to arrest Dagogo, who immediately denied the allegations and vowed to attend the screening exercise.
Sokoto State Deputy Governor Muhammad Manir Dan Iya lauded what he described as an orderly exercise.
He spoke in Abuja after he was screened by the Northwest Gubernatorial Screening Committee at the Sokoto State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro.
The committee was headed by Amb. Oluwateru Omolade. Other members are Baba Kassim (Secretary), Mohammed Mabo, Dr. Ibrahim Umar, Mulikat Adeola Akande, Hajiya Hauwa Musa Kida and Barr. Mustapha Shittu.
He promised to focus on building on the achievement of his boss, thanking Governor Aminu Tambuwal for providing a level playing ground for the six contenders.
“I promise to strengthen and give more emphasis on mineral resources exploration to boost the state revenue so as to enhance better welfare for the people of the state. This will encourage more beneficial schemes as people-oriented government.”
PDP screens Fintiri, Bauchi SSG, others
Aspirants from Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe appeared before the screening committee.
However, the Secretary to the Bauchi State government, Ibrahim Muhammad Kashim, who made a sudden appearance at the venue to be screened, said he would consolidate on Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed’s achievement in the last 3 years.
But, it could not be ascertained whether the SSG had tendered his resignation letter.
Until yesterday, only the eldest son of former Governor Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu had indicated interest to contest the 2023 governorship election, while Kashim did not publicly declare an interest.
Ahmed Ahmadu Mu’azu had purchased the PDP nomination form since the governor is now contesting for the Presidential seat, but he was not present at the screening.
A clearance certificate was given to Governor Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State, who is seeking a second term in office. He commended the committee for a hitch-free exercise while calling for unity of purpose in the party.
Other PDP aspirants are Aminu Ayuba, Joseph Albasu Kunin (TarabKunine) Dr. Babayo Ardo Kumo, Gombe: Jamulu wanna Ishiaku and Dr. Ali Tikau Adamu (Yobe).