By Tunde Opalana, Abuja
Governorship aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the November 16, 2019 gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states have expressed confidence in the screening committees set up by the party’s national leadership.
Aspirants from Bayelsa state were on Monday screened at the PDP national secretariat, Abuja by the committee headed by the Governor of Oyo state, Seyi Makinde while their counterparts from Kogi state were screened at the party’s Legacy House also in Abuja, by the committee led by Taraba state Governor, Darius Ishaku.
Speaking with journalists after being screened, the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa state, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd), expressed satisfaction with the calibre of members in the screening committee, saying that they would do a good job.
Jonah said that “I have the confidence that they will deliver. I am sure of clinching the ticket.”
Another aspirant from Bayelsa state, Timi Alaibe was confident that the screening committee will judiciously carry out the assignment entrusted on it.
He said he has no doubts in the calibre and integrity of party members that make up the committee.
The former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) added that he hopes the party will conduct a free, fair and credible primary to pick the best out of the many aspirants jostling for the PDP ticket.
Commenting on the purported plan to conduct the party’s primary election outside Yenagoa, the state capital, Alaibe said he was not aware of such a plan.
“I am not aware of that. I have contested elections on the grounds 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,” he enthused.
Alaibe called on the delegates who will be electing the party’s candidate at the forthcoming primary to think deeply before making their decision to cast their votes for the contestants.
He promised to utilise government as an enabler for social reinvestment and for invitation of private sector participation in Bayelsa state if he becomes the next governor.
Similarly, expressing confidence in the screening and satisfaction with the process, former Governor of Kogi state, Capt. Idris Wada, said that the exercise was satisfactory.
“I am confident in the screening committee chaired by Ishaku which is doing a thorough and professional job. I am satisfied with the process and I am confident in the panel. I have very positive disposition to what they have done,’’ he said.
Wada asserted that so far, his candidacy is being embraced across the state and he was sure of wining the primary, declaring that whoever emerges as the party’s candidate would be supported by all the other aspirants.
Another aspirant, Sen. Dino Melaiye, representing Kogi West, said that the committee was doing a professional work, saying
“the committee was very professional and I met all the requirements by the screening committee and the party.’’
Also, an aspirant, Muhammed Tetes, said that from his interaction with the screening committee, he believes the committee would do the right thing, adding that all the aspirants were qualified to rule the state and that were willing 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 development of the grassroots.
“As you are aware, Kogi is at the state of disarray and it is only through team work 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.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the committee screening PDP governorship aspirants for Bayelsa state, Gov. Makinde has declared that the party has no preferred candidate for the November 16 election.
He assured that the PDP screening committee members will be fair to all aspirants from Bayelsa State with a view to ensuring that the party goes into the proper election as a strong and united entity.
The governor gave the assurance in his opening speech at the commencement of the screening exercise at the PDP national secretariat.
Gov. Makinde said that “we will be fair to all the aspirants. The PDP has no preferred candidate for the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa state.
“We don’t want a situation whereby our party will go into the election with a divided house. We want to go into the election as one big family that we are, with a view to retaining the state.”