The All Progressive Congress, APC, has displayed the credentials of all the six governorship aspirants seeking the party’s ticket ahead of the September 19 Edo State governorship election.
The credentials were displayed at the APC national secretariat in Abuja.
The six aspirants whose political and academic credentials are on display are the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki; former chief of staff and secretary to the state government, Osagie Ize-Iyamu; a former Minister for Works, Chris Ogiemwonyi; a former deputy governor, Pius Odubu; Matthew Iduoriyekemwe and Osaro Obaze.
In a brief interview with journalists at the party’s secretariat on Monday, the party’s spokesperson, Lanre Issa-Onilu, said the party decided to display the documents to enable members of the public help it in vetting the information submitted by the aspirants.
“We are also taking other official steps to verify some of these documents to ensure we do the right thing and come out clean,” Mr Issa-Onilu said.
Asked whether the party had on its own verified the information presented by the aspirants with the security agencies, Mr Issa-Onilu said the process the party has adopted is also effective.
He said merely putting the documents before the public would enable people who know the aspirants very well, such as their “mates, acquaintances, friends, or even enemies” to come up with whatever they have on the claims in the documents. “So, we are expecting help from whatever it could come from.
“What we are interested in is to ensure transparency and ensure compliance with our own constitution; the Electoral Act and the Constitution of Nigeria which gives everybody a fair chance and to be seen to have done our best,” Mr Issa-Onilu said.
It would be recalled that the APC candidate was last year disqualified after winning the Bayelsa governorship election on the ground that the running mate to the governorship candidate has multiple identities in his credentials.
Also commenting on the internal crisis in the Edo chapter of the party, the party spokesperson said there is peace in APC in the only South-south state under its control.
Mr Issa-Onilu described the face-off between the party’s national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and Governor Obaseki as “a mere contestation of interests.”
“I don’t know about any crisis; go from state to state, where you have politics, you have conflicts. And conflicts to those of us practicing politics is not a crisis, it is a contestation of interests.
“If you go to other states (countries) you will have things that are similar. The only difference with this is that you have the national chairman who happens to be from Edo State, otherwise there is nothing strange,” he said.
He brushed aside the possibility of holding a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the party to resolve the crisis in Edo as the state chapter of the party braces for its governorship primaries slated for June 22.
Meanwhile, there is still a dispute between the APC in Edo and the party’s National Working Committee over the mode of the governorship primaries.
The Mr Oshiomhole-led NWC said there is “no-going-back” on its adoption of direct primary. while the Anselm Ojezua-led Edo APC which is loyal to Mr Obaseki has written to the national body to demand indirect primary.
Both factions continue to reference the party’s constitution in support of their positions.
The party’s NWC was in a closed-door meeting at the time of this report.