The All Progressives Congress (APC) national convention, has given reasons for the disqualification of 19 aspirants for various positions, by its appeal committee, ahead of its national convention.
According to the party, the 19 aspirants were disqualified following petitions received by the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha-led committee.
The governor, who disclosed this, said 18 persons petitioned the committee.
He said petitions were received against positions of National Organising Secretary, National Women Leader and others except the positions of the National Chairman and the National Secretary.
He, however, did not disclose the names of the disqualified aspirants.
His words: “So far, we have about 18 petitions before us and we have 19 persons that did not make it at the screening level. These are the things we are looking (at) to see the merit or otherwise of their claims.
“If there is anybody who has been screened and there is a petition against him, we have power to uphold his qualification or disqualify him based on the merits of the petition.
“Of course, we have petitions against all other positions except that of the National Chairman and National Secretary. However, there is a general petition as to whether members of the NWC can be judges in their own case having supervised the congresses and now coming to present themselves for election. We are also looking at that.”
Okorocha said the report of the screening committee, which would be submitted on Monday (today), would be used as a major guide in the party’s operations, and any other appeal will come after the convention.
Speaking on the power of the committee to disqualify those already screened and who qualified, he said, “yes, if you don’t make the appeal screening, then you are disqualified because there is no other appeal after this.”
The Director General, Voice of Nigeria (VON) and chieftain of APC, Osita Okechukwu, has however argued that the Okorocha-led committee has no powers to disqualify anyone or stop their re-election.
Okechukwu who was responding to insinuations that the governor may use his position to maliciously disqualify some persons, in a statement, said: “I don’t speculate, and I don’t think so, more so I’m aware that President Buhari canvassed for a waiver for members of the National Working Committee, which was upheld by the National Executive Committee on March 27, 2018.
“Governor Aminu Masari Screening Committee, to the best of my knowledge, didn’t disqualify or recommend disqualification of any of them. Therefore, Governor Okorocha knows he has no powers to simulate petitions to disqualify them, for its trite law that you cannot build something out of nothing. It will be ingenious and unlawful for other members to allow him.”
The VON DG, who was elected delegate to the national convention, said he was hopeful that most of the delegates would vote for former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshimole as the chairman of the party “since President Buhari had endorsed him,” and also expressed optimism that the convention, scheduled to hold on Saturday, June 23, would be hitch-free.
“To be honest, in spite of conflicting reports of parallel congresses, one envisages a hitch-free national convention of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), on 23rd because we have President Muhammadu Buhari who from every index is the presumptive consensus candidate, come 2019 presidential election. Mr President is more like a guardian post for our great party. He is the canopy covering us all from bad weather.
“In addition those who lost in the congresses are not only loyalists to Buhari, but are aware of the truism that they were swimming against the tide of the provisions of APC’s Constitution, which mandated the National Working Committee, subject to the approval of the National Executive Committee to make rules and regulations for nomination of candidates. Nobody has the right to reverse the national delegates list validly elected during the local government congress,” he added.