Upholds disqualification of Babatunde Irukera, Abubakar Audu’s children, Mustapha and Mohammed
The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday cleared five more aspirants to contest the party’s governorship primary in Kogi State.
It brings to nine the number of contestants in the primary holding in Lokoja on Thursday, August 29.
It would be recalled that the APC seven-member screening committee headed by the party’s candidate in the 2019 governorship election in Imo State, Mr. Hope Uzodinma had, on Monday, disqualified 12 of the 16 aspirants vying for governorship seat in the Kogi State on November 16, 2019.
The disqualified aspirants included Mohammed and Mustapha Audu, sons of the late Governor Abubakar Audu.
Others were Admiral Usman Jubril (retd), Prof. Seidu Ogah Mr. Ms Hadiza Ibrahim, Messrs Yakubu Mohammed, Bashir Gegu, Sani Lulu, Tunde Irukera, Mohammed Onaili, and Usman Jibrin.
The Uzodinma committee however, cleared the sitting governor, Yahaya Bello, and three others. The others are Hassan Abdullahi, Ekele Blessing, and Abubakar Bashir.
The party’s reasons for disqualifying the aspirants ranged from some of them being non-financial members, invalid nomination forms, invalid age declaration, and invalid membership cards.
The national publicity secretary of the party, Mr. Lanre Issa-Onilu said in a statement in Abuja that the party widened the political space after a “comprehensive review of the submissions by the two committees.”
He also said the NWC relied on the party’s guidelines and the provisions of the Electoral Act in reviewing the qualification of the aspirants.
Those cleared to contest in the primary are the incumbent governor, Mr. Yahaya Bello, Hadiza Iyoma Ibrahim, Ekele Aishat Ibrahim, Messrs Yahaya Odidi Audu, Sani Lulu Abdullahi, Mr. Abubakar Bashir, Danlami Umar Mohammed, Yakubu Mohammed, and Hassan Abdullahi.
The party, however, approved the disqualification of Prof. Mohammed Seidu Onaili, Gen. Patrick Adenu Akpa, Ms. Rukayya Ibrahim, Messrs Usman Oyibe Jibrin, Mustapha Mona Audu, Babatunde Irukera and Muhammed Abubakar Unukwu Audu.
The statement reads: “After a comprehensive review of the submissions by the two committees, relying on the party’s guidelines and the provisions of the Electoral Act, nine aspirants were finally cleared to contest the August 29, 2019 indirect governorship primary.
“Seven other aspirants did not meet the requirements for participation in the exercise.
“Those cleared by the NWC are Governor Yahaya Bello, Hadiza Ibrahim, Yahaya Audu, Sani Abdullahi, Abubakar Bashir, Danlami Mohammed, Yakubu Mohammed, Hassan Abdullahi and Blessing Ekele.
“The aspirants who are not cleared are Prof. Mohammed Onaili, Usman Jibrin, Mustapha Mona Audu, Rukkaya Ibrahim, Gen. Patrick Akpa, Babatunde Irukera, and Muhammed Audu.”
On Bayelsa, Issa-Onilu said the NWC upheld the reports of the screening and appeal committees clearing six of the seven aspirants that bought nomination forms.
“Of the total seven governorship aspirants that were screened, six were cleared to participate in the governorship primary in Bayelsa State. They are: Mr. Aganaba Preye Steven, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, Prince Ebitimi Christopher Amgbare, Ms. Diseye Nsirim Poweigha, Mr. Lyon David Pereworimini, and Engr. Prof (Mrs.) Ongoebi Maureen Etebu.
“Dr. Briyai Oyeins Frankland was not cleared to participate in the Party’s governorship primary
“The APC NWC upheld the disqualification of Dr. Briyai Oyeins Frankland based on Section 3 Paragraph “L” of the Party’s guidelines for the nomination of candidates which requires that aspirants are card-carrying member of the party for a period of one year.
“The party also found no record of his membership of APC and was therefore considered ineligible.”