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The Peoples Democratic Party, on Friday in Abuja, disqualified two of its 17 presidential aspirants.
The Chairman of the Screening Committee, Senator David Mark, disclosed this to journalists shortly after the conclusion of the exercise at the Legacy House, Abuja, the presidential campaign headquarters of the main opposition.
The screening, which began around 11 am, lasted till 7 pm and involved all the aspirants.
Mark, however, declined to reveal the identities of the disqualified aspirants or the reasons for their disqualification.
He simply noted that the aspirants did not meet the requirements set by the panel.
While it was not clear what yardstick was used to weed out the two aspirants, it might not be far from the requirements of the Independent National Electoral Commission, which had the power to disqualify candidates on grounds of non-compliance with extant electoral laws.
Mark added that the report of Friday’s screening would be transmitted to the PDP National Working Committee for consideration on the same day.
He stated, “The exercise, as far as we’re concerned, went on very well. We’ve been here since morning, and I’m sure you people have been here since morning also.
“We’ve been very thorough this time. See how much time we’ve taken to screen each individual who has been here. We screened 17 aspirants, which is quite a number. We cleared 15 and two have not been cleared.
“Now, don’t ask me those who have been cleared and those who have not been cleared, because I won’t tell you. We haven’t released the result to them. So, if you ask a question in that direction, you’re wasting time.
“I think on the whole, that’s what we’ve done. And we’re quite satisfied with the standard of the aspirants by and large. And we think that any one of them, who gets the ticket, will win the election in 2023.”
Asked what the committee found wrong with the disqualified aspirants, Mark said, “They didn’t meet the requirements and I can’t be more specific about that.”
About the time of submission of the report to the NWC, he said, “This night (Friday). We’ll submit it and then those who were not cleared have a right to appeal. I’m sure they will go on appeal, because there is an appeal panel.”
Speaking on the 15 aspirants, who scaled the screening hurdle, the former Senate President noted that they were all qualified and would perform well if they emerged the flag bearer of the party in next year’s election.
Quizzed about a possible refund of the N40m each aspirant paid for the nomination and expression of interest forms, he quipped, “Why should they refund the money? What will be the reason now?”
The 17 aspirants screened on Friday included, Teriela Oliver, the only female aspirant in the race; governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto; Nyesom Wike of Rivers; Bala Mohammed of Bauchi; and Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom; as well as investment banker and economist, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen; former Anambra State governor Peter Obi; and former Senate President, Pius Anyim.
Others were former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose; ex-President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Sam Ohuabunwa; a United States-based medical doctor, Nwachukwu Anakwenze; Publisher, Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu; former Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Cosmos Ndukwe; Charles Ugwu; and Chikwendu Kalu.
This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.