The ruling All Progressives Congress has sworn in a seven-man committee to oversee the screening of the 12 governorship aspirants who bought the N50 million nomination forms to participate in the February 17 primary election in Edo State.
The inauguration ceremony, which took place on Thursday at the national headquarters of the APC in Abuja by 12 noon, had members of the National Working Committee in attendance.
The National Chairman of the party, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje and the National Secretary, Senator Ajibola Basiru, were however absent at the oath-taking event administered by by National Organising Secretary of the APC, Suleiman Arugungu.
The newly sworn-in committee is headed by former Minister of Sports and Special Duties, Prof Taoheed Adedoja, as Chairman and Dr Sani Danjuma as secretary.
Others are Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Adeoye Adelakum, Prince Darlington Dick, Lawal Abdullahi Kenken and Margaret Duru.
The officials were required to take an oath together with another five-man screening appeal committee who were also sworn in on the same day.
The appeal committee, which has Senator Ibrahim Danbaba as chairman and Smart Iheazor as secretary, also has Bisi Odewumi, Ngozi Ononiwu and Abu Bakar Sidiq as members.
Addressing journalists on Thursday, Argungu disclosed that screening of aspirants before every primary is in line with the constitution of the party.
The APC national organising secretary also assured that the party can vouch for the integrity of the screening committee members, who he said were carefully selected.
He said, “Screening of our great party’s aspirants for all elections is a requirement of the constitution of our great Party. In the same vein, our party’s Constitution also gives weight to equity and restoration of rights.
“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 appeal committee.
“Therefore, as I welcome you to this very important occasion, let me use this opportunity to assure the rank and file of our great party in Edo State and across the country that the national chairman in concert with the entire members of the National Working Committee has ensured that the leadership and members nominated into these two committees are individuals of principles and worthy values with political pedigrees that can be showcased with confidence anywhere and at any time.
“As you proceed to engage with the task for which you have been nominated, be rest assured that we have made sure that the exercise will be hitch-free and seamless with the presence of a secretariat support team that will be personally led by my good self.”
The development comes barely 24 hours after the ruling party cleared 12 aspirants for the screening process.
The successful aspirants were immediate past State Chairman of APC, Gideon Ikhine; ex-Minister of State, National Economic Planning, Prince Clem Agba; former Edo Governor, Prof Oserheimen Osunbor; senator representing Edo Central, Monday Okpebholo; erstwhile deputy governor, Lucky Imasuen; former governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and lawmaker representing Etsako Federal Constituency, Anamero Dekeri.
Others are ex-Zonal Organising Secretary for South-South, Blessing Agbohmere; House of Representatives member, Dennis Idahosa, former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe; Col. David Imuse and Major General Charles Airhiavbere (Retd).