By Tunde Opalana
The emergence of Hon. Frank Ibezim as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the October 31 Imo North senatorial district by-elections has been faulted by the party’s screening committee.
Chairman of the Imo North Senatorial Screening Committee, Dr Lawrence Chuku, at the party’s secretariat, told journalists that his committee disqualified Ibezim alongside five other aspirants.
This position, however, contradicted a statement last week Wednesday by the APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, that all aspirants who obtained nomination forms for all the eight positions in the coming by-elections were cleared.
Dr. Chukwu insisted that the committee at the conclusion of its assignment disqualified six of the 11 aspirants.
They are; Hon. Matthew Omegara, Achonu Athanasius Nneji, Ibezim Chukwuma Frank, Uchenna Onyeiwu Uba, Onuoha ChikwemChuioke and Iheanacho Celestine Ihim.
According to him, those cleared to contest the primary election held on Thursday September 3, are; Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Ararume, Uchendu Mark Chijioke, Edith Chidinma Uwajimuogu, Bright Nwachukwu and Eze Joachim Okoros.
The Daily Times recalled that Frank Ibezim was declared winner by the Chairman of the Imo North primary election committee, Senator Ajibola Basiru, while a faction of the committee led by Umar Gana declared Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as winner of a parallel primary election, blaming the leadership of the party for parallel primaries, the screening committee chairman said, “Our report, which cleared five aspirants and had six not cleared, for very cogent and verifiable reasons, were jettisoned.
Both the aspirants cleared and not cleared were allowed to run for the Senatorial primaries.
“Embarrassingly, one of the aspirants not cleared is being touted as having emerged as one of the winners of the said controversial primary election.”
Buttressing his claim, Chuku said, “Section 3(f ) of the guidelines for the nomination of candidates stipulates that only aspirants fully cleared by the party shall be eligible to stand election at the party’s primaries. Section 3(k) also clearly stated that all aspirants must show knowledge of the party’s manifestos and programs and must commit themselves to the full implementation of the party’s goals and objectives.
Efforts to get reaction of the party leadership were unsuccessful.
The party’s spokesperson, Yekini Nabena could not be reached on his mobile line.