By Deji Abdulwahab
The screening committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has disqualified Gov. Godwin Obaseki and two other aspirants, Mr Matthew Iduoriyekemwe and Mr Chris Ogiemwonyi, from participating in the June 22 Edo governorship primaries.
The seven-member screening committee, headed by Prof. Jonathan Ayuba, also cleared three aspirants: Mr Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Hon. Osaro Obaze and Dr Pius Odubu to contest the primaries.
Ayuba said this on Friday, while presenting the committee’s report to the party’s National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, at the APC national secretariat in Abuja.
He described the methodology used in screening the aspirants as evidence-based.
“The methodology we used is clear. It was evidence-based. All we did was an interaction.
“We screened six aspirants, three were eligible to contest and three were deemed ineligible to participate,” the committee chairman said.
He said that the committee disqualified Obaseki due to what he called the defect in his Higher School Certificate (HSC).
Ayuba added that Obaseki’s name, written in his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate, was issued in error by the NYSC authority.
Though, His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki, in his nomination form claimed to have obtained a Higher School Certificate (HSC) from an Institute of Continuing Education, Benin, it was observed, however, that no educational certificate such as HSC is known in Nigerian educational system.
“Even then, the same HSC was never presented in the course of the screening exercise. The aspirant admitted that he has never collected it.
“The attestation from the Institute of Continuing Education, Benin, from where the alleged HSC, which was indicated in the field of attendance, is of no consequence.”
According to him, it only attests that Obaseki was a student of the institute.
“So what we had was like an attendance; it was not a result.
“Although, the committee received a petition on his University of Ibadan Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Classics certificate, which he submitted to INEC in 2016, when he first contested as governor, it, on further probing, was presented with original certificate, issued by the university and the original was sighted.
“On the NYSC certificate, dated 6th August, 1980, the committee observed that he bears the name “Obasek” Godwin.
“While this may be an error on the part of the issuing authority, we observed, however, that the aspirant has not taken any step to have the anomaly corrected by the issuing authority.
“In our interaction with the issues raised, we concluded that HSC was defective and the NYSC certificate, and based on the party’s constitution, this has made us to recommend that the above candidate, Obaseki, is not eligible to participate in the election,” he said.
Ayuba also said that the names on all the certificates presented by another aspirant, Ogiemwonyi, were in contradiction with one another.
“Also the sworn declaration of aged, deposed to by one Capt. Steven on 3rd June, 2016, bore two conflicting names of the aspirant.
“There is discrepancy in all the certificates presented and also the difference in the names contained in the sworn affidavit of June 2016.
“Having regards to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Electoral Act, APC constitution and the party’s guidelines for the nomination of candidates and the reliance on the cases that have been settled by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, it is the considered view of the committee that this aspirant does not meet the requirement to participate in the APC primary.
“In view of the findings of the committee above, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi is not cleared,” he said.
He, however, said that the committee, after screening and the verification of Mr Osaro Obaze’s documents, found him eligible to contest the primary.
Based on the committee’s observation above, the candidate is cleared,” Ayuba said.
Responding, Oshiomhole, who said that the outcome of the committee was subject to appeal, urged any aspirant, who disagreed with the committee’s report, to present his appeal or disagreement to the party’s appeal panel.