By Henry Umoru
ABUJA— THE Senator Tunde Ogbeha led Gubernatorial Appeal Panel of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, last night upheld the disqualification of five governorship aspirants who were last week disqualified from going into the party primaries by state screening committees.
Those whose disqualifications were upheld by the Appeal Panel were Barrister Ike Ibe, Enugu; Chief A. Atuluma, Abia; Alhaji Suleiman Hunkuyi, Kaduna; Alhaji Adamu Sumaila, Kano; and Mr. Frank Okon from Akwa Ibom State.
Speaking with Journalists yesterday at the end of the review of the cases of disqualified governorship aspirants, Senator Tunde Ogbeha, said that 12 petitions were received by the panel from the South East, North West and South South geo-political zones of the country.
He said there were no petitions from the South West, North Central and the North East zones, adding: “From the South East we received a total of five petitions made up of four from Enugu State and one from Abia State; from North West we received one petition each from Kaduna and Kano states and from the South South two petitions were received from Rivers State, one from Bayelsa and two from Akwa Ibom State.”
The Committee also overruled the disqualification by the state screening committee of Chief Obiora Ene, Chief Anayo Onwuegbu and Barrister Okey Ezeh all from Enugu state. Others who got the nod of the Appeal Panel to participate in the party gubernatorial primaries are Mrs. Ben Fiabema, Rivers; Dr. More Chindu, Rivers; Mr. Imoh Udo from Akwa Ibom State and Rt. Hon. Ebebi from Bayelsa State.
On why the Appeal Panel sustained the disqualification of the five governorship aspirants, Senator Ogbeha said the “reasons were those deduced from the screening panel” and they include incomplete tax papers or failure to pay tax as at when due and inability of some of the aspirants to meet their obligations to the party like payment of membership dues.