*Six Petitions filed against him
Eleven days left to the Edo State governorship primary election, the All Progressives Congress APC, screened its six aspirants with the screening committee receiving six petitions against Governor Godwin Obaseki and one against Mr Mathew Iduoriyekemwe.
This development is similar to that of the former Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, where he had challenges with the National leader of the APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
Recall that, Ambode’s fate was sealed at a meeting held in Abuja where Tinubu, reportedly ruled him out of the election on the platform of the APC.
Tinubu was said to have told the governor pointedly at the meeting that he (Ambode) could get some other position in the APC but certainly not the ticket of the party for Lagos governorship in the 2019 polls.
Obaseki and the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for a while now have been having serious differences.
iBrandTV had reported a series of issues between the two Statemen, the recent involves the Governor moved to arrest Oshiomole, but was held back by the court.
Meanwhile, iBrandTV gathered that Obaseki came out of the screening room around 10 pm expressing doubt over the committee operations.
The Governor noted that with Comrade Adams Oshiomhole dictating affairs of the party, he knows he cannot get justice.
In his words: “The last time I came here, I asked that Oshiomhole recuse himself from the process in the interest of peace and justice. But as a party man, I have had to go through the screening like everybody else.
“Since he is the judge and the jury in this matter, I will just wait for the outcome of the screening. I have given them all the information they need; the controversial certificate from the University of Ibadan has been tendered.
“Like I said, as a party man I have engine through the screening process but I do not believe that I will get justice because Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is an interested party in the Edo process.
“One of the questions that were asked was why did I issue a gazette that will prevent the party from performing direct elections in Edo. That did I not see it as an anti-party activity? I just felt that if we put politics above the lives of the people of Edo State, we may be missing the point.”
Moreso, party sources who confirmed the number of petitions against the duo, however, declined to reveal the identities of the petitioners or the contents of the petition.
Obaseki had stormed the national secretariat with his supporters at about 1 pm, but no sooner had he entered the secretariat than he rushed back into his car and left the premises.
The four aspirants who were screened aside Obaseki were former Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Odubu, former Minister of State, Works, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Hon. Osaro Obazee. While Odubu left the secretariat at 5:30 pm, Ize-Iyamu left an hour later. The report of the committee is expected to be submitted to the National Working Committee NWC of the party on completion of its assignment.
Addressing journalists before going into the closed-door screening, Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Jonathan Ayuba who explained that the responsibility of the committee was to verify the documents submitted by the aspirants, added that his team is not a quasi-judicial body and therefore could not pass any judgment.
He said: “We took this challenge not because it is easy. It is complex and we are putting our integrity at stake. We are not a judicial committee and we are not investigating. Ours is to verify and verification of whatever is submitted to us is based on evidence and also facts. So, that is what we are going to be dealing with.
“Ours is to do our assignment, ours is not to pass judgement because we are not a court of law, Ours is to make recommendations. And I urge you to wait for the official release of such recommendations by the party.
“We are going to interact with all those that indicated interests and if there are any issue, we will raise it with them. There is a difference between a judicial commission because we cannot make a pronouncement because we are not a court of law. The document before us is the same document we are going to present to all those that have purchased the forms. So our interaction is based on that.”
Obaseki returns for Screening
At about 7:59 pm, Gov. Obaseki, however, returned to the national secretariat of the APC to be screened to participate in the June 22 Governorship Primary Election of the party.
He was accompanied by his associates including Sen. Domingo Obende.
Minutes before he returned to the Secretariat, the governor had raised an alarm about alleged attempts by the committee not to screen him.
At about 9:15 pm, when Mr Iduoriyekemwe arrived at the party secretariat for screening.