he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday commenced the screening of its aspirants for its primaries for the selection of its candidates in the forthcoming governorship elections in both Bayelsa and Kogi States respectively.
While the screening of the aspirants from Kogi State under the Panel headed by the Governor of Taraba State, Architect Darius Isyaku held at the Party’s Legacy House, Maitama, Abuja, that of the Bayelsa took place at the Wadata National Secretariat of the Party in Zone 5 Wuse under the Chairmanship of the Oyo State governor, Engr Seyi Makinde.
Both Isyaku and Makinde while speaking at the commencement of the exercise assured all the aspirants of just and fairness in carrying out the assignment in order to avoid litigation of any sort.
The governors made it clear that the Party has no preferred candidates among of them and urged them to cooperate with the screening committees for the Party to be able to go into the elections in one voice and not a divided house.
According to the governors, “we will be fair to all the aspirants. The PDP has no preferred candidate for the forthcoming governorship elections. “We don’t want a situation whereby our party will go into the elections with a divided house. We want to go into the elections as one big family that we are, with a view to retaining the state.”
The governors who appealed to the aspirants to cooperate with the committees in order to make the assignment easy
expressed the firm optimist that PDP would continue to remain a strong and united party, even after the primaries.
Speaking with newsmen after the screening, a one time Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and governorship aspirant, Mr Timi Alaibe called on the delegates to the forthcoming primaries to think deeply in their decision to cast their votes for “those of us who are contesting for the best material to emerge and not someone who will be learning on the job.
“They should be clear in the decision to ensure that they vote for those whom they understand what they want to implement for our people, those who have the experience, those who have the capacity.”
Speaking on the rumour making the rounds that the venue of the Bayelsa PDP primaries may be moved from Yenagoa to neutral ground in the interest of peace, Alaibe said, ” I am not aware of that. I have contested elections on the ground of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State severally. So, it is not the first time. It has never been moved. If there is any such thing, it is also someone’s imagination. I am not aware.”
The current Deputy Governor of Bayelsa state, who is also an aspirant, Rear Admiral John Jonah, rtd, expressed satisfaction with the caliber of members of the screening committee, saying that they would do a good job.
According to Jonah, “I have the confidence that they will deliver. I am sure of clinching the ticket so that I can continue where this administration will stop.”
On his own, former Governor of Kogi, Capt. Idris Wada, who described the exercise as very satisfactory, said, “I am confident in the screening committee being chaired by governor Ishaku, it is doing a thorough and professional job.
“I am satisfied with the process and I am confident in the panel. I have a very positive disposition to what they have done.’’
Also speaking, Senator Dino Melaiye, representing Kogi West, who is also an aspirant, said that the committee was doing professional work.
“The committee was very professional and I met all the requirements by the screening committee and the party,’’ Dino said.
Another aspirant from Kogi, Muhammed Tetes, said that from the interaction at the screening, he believed the committee would do the right thing.
He said that all the aspirants were qualified to rule the state and they were ready to work together.
“We have discussed among ourselves while we are waiting for the screening exercise that after the outcome of the primary, we should be ready to work together.
“We need to work together in the interest of the masses and the development of the grassroots.
“As you are aware, Kogi is at the state of disarray and it is only through teamwork and common understanding that we would be able to move the state forward. This is a task that must be done by PDP,’’ he said.
Mr. Victor Adoje, another aspirant from Kogi commended the screening process, expressing confidence he was going to pass the screening.
As at the time of filing this report, other governorship aspirants were still undergoing screening.