Ahead of the All Progressives Congress (APC) national convention, its appeal committee headed by Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, said 19 aspirants have been disqualified
He also said 18 persons petitioned the committee.
The governor, while addressing journalists during the panel’s sitting on Saturday, 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.
“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.”
He said the screening committee report will be used as a major guide in the party’s operations, but did not disclose the names of the disqualified aspirants.
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.”
He said his committee’s report will be submitted on Monday and any other appeal will come after the convention.
Meanwhile, the Director General, Voice of Nigeria (VON) and chieftain of APC, Osita Okechukwu, has said Mr Okorocha’s committee has no powers to disqualify anyone or stop their re-election.
Mr Okechukwu said this in a statement on Sunday while reacting to a rumour that the Imo state Governor “may use his position as the chairman appeals sub-committee to disqualify three national officers from the South-east who were endorsed by the regional caucus for re-election.”
The officials endorsed are: Osita Izunaso; APC organizing secretary, Emma Eneukwu and George Moughalu; APC national auditor.
“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 also allayed fears over the APC national convention, scheduled for Saturday June 23 saying he believes it would be hitch-free because President Muhammadu Buhari remains the presumptive consensus candidate of the ruling party for 2019 presidential election.
Mr Okechukwu, who was elected as a delegate to the national convention, predicted 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”.
“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 said that “their collective support for Mr. President makes it easy for reconciliation and mending of fences before the 2019 general elections.”