National chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has assured that the party would conduct a free, fair and credible primary poll on February 17, ahead of the September 21 governorship election in Edo State.
Ganduje gave the assurance during the inauguration of the party’s screening committee headed by a former minister of sports and special duties, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, on Thursday in Abuja.
Our correspondent reports that 12 aspirants are in the race for the party’s ticket ahead of the election and have since purchased and returned their expression of interest and nomination forms.
They are former Director of Finance and Administration at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd); former Chairman of APC in Edo State, Col. David Imuse (rtd); a businessman, Gideon Ikhine; former Minister of State, National Economic Planning, Prince Clem Agba; Senator representing Edo Central, Monday Okpebholo; former deputy governor, Lucky Imasuen; former governorship candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu and lawmaker representing Etsako federal constituency, Anamero Dekeri.
Others are a former governor of Edo State, Prof. Oserhiemen Osunbor; former APC South-South zonal Organising Secretary, Blessing Agbohmere; a member of the House of Representatives, Dennis Idahosa; immediate past Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Ernest Afolabi and Emmanuel Momoh.
Ganduje, represented by the APC national organising secretary, Alhaji Suleiman Arugungu, named Smart Iheazor as the secretary of the appeal committee.
He charged the five-man screening committee to be transparent and fair to all aspirants, stressing that the screening of the party’s aspirants for all elections was a constitutional requirement.
“Please, be rest assured that we have made sure that the exercise (primary election) will be hitch-free and seamless with the presence of a Secretariat Support Team that will be personally lead by my good self.
“In the same vein, our party’s constitution also gives weight to equity and restoration of right, that is why it provides for a screening appeal committee which avails aggrieved aspirants who might have been screened out at the level of the screening committee to seek appellate intervention from the screening appeal committee,” he said.
Chairman of the screening committee, thanked the party’s leadership for the opportunity to serve, saying the committee would be guided by the party’s constitution.