By EMMA UJAH & CHRIS OCHAYI, Abuja
•Ekwunife, Odenigbo, others scale through * •Soludo accepts party decision…
THE screening panel set up by All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, to screen all aspirants for November 16 governorship election in Anambra State, failed to clear former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo and five other contenders.
Out of the 13 aspirants contesting under the party, only seven scaled through the hurdle at the conclusion of the screening exercise which took place between August 15 and 16, 2013 at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
The successful aspirants include, Hon. Chukwuemeka Emmanuel Nwogbo, Paul Odenigbo, Hon. Uche Lillian Ekwunife, Chief Willie Obiano, Mr. John Nwosu, John Okechukwu Emeka and Nwachi Patrick Obianwu.
Those who failed the screening include Emmanuel Nweke, Ogbuefi Tony Nnacheta, Chinedu F. Idigo, Dr. Chike Obidigbo, Mr. Oseloke Obaze and Professor Charles Chukwuemeka Soludo.
Chairman of the Gubernatorial Screening Panel, Alhaji Tayo Sowunmi said the reason (s) for the non-clearance of the unsuccessful aspirants are as contained in the provisional certificates issued to them.
Other members of the panel were Ifeanyi Mbaeri and Chief Onwuka Ukwa who served in the panel as Secretary and member, respectively.
It would be recalled that the National Chairman of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh while setting up the three-man screening panel, assured that the party has laid down a transparent process that would produce a worthy and an acceptable candidate for the November 16 governorship election in Anambra state.
Professor Charles Soludo shortly after facing the screening panel Thursday in Abuja, had told journalists that he joined the APGA not because of the governorship contest but to build the party.
According to him, “I am saying my priority in joining All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, is to help to build APGA as a formidable political party. Running for governor is not why I joined APGA.
“Did that surprise you? I have joined APGA primarily to join forces with the other compatriots, other Nigerians to build APGA as a formidable political party. An APGA that will some day mainstream what APGA stands for, what APGA has to offer Nigeria.
“APGA is the only political party in Nigeria that talks about true federalism. No other political party aspire to bring true federalism to Nigeria. No other political party talks about revenue allocation, physical federalism that would allow each region or state to develop according to its own space. There is no other political party that talks about competition.
“To me, APGA should be the manifesto, national mobilisation because that is the only way Nigeria can move forward. “I have to come here to visit the national office of APGA, but principally, this is a new family for me. Like I have said, my first mission is to join others to build APGA as a formidable movement. And that is basically what it is. Governorship thing is aside.”
On whether he will still remain in APGA if he fails to pick the party’s ticket, he said, “I am APGA in the morning in the afternoon and in the night. I am in APGA today, I will be in APGA tomorrow, I will be in APGA next year, I will be in APGA for the next seven years to come.”
He also said he had to quit the PDP because it was not a political party but a mere platform to grab power.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, yesterday, Prof. Soludo said that he joined PDP by accident and now had to make a choice on where to pitch his political tent.
His words, “recently I resigned my membership from PDP and joined APGA. The basic question people kept asking is why? That is a short question to ask but with a long answer.
“I joined PDP by accident . I did not belong to any political party before I was appointed as the president’s chief Economic Adviser and CEO of National Planning Commission which is more like a minister of National planning Commission.
“It was a political appointment and has some kind of requirement, if you like. Though it is not explicitly demanded of you so I joined the PDP without even knowing what the party stood for.. “Having stayed there for a while, I have now had a chance to review the political parties in Nigeria and have reviewed their constitutions and manifestos and also review the operations of the various political parties and I think this is now the time to make the decision of the political party that I should belong to out of choice, out of volition. It is now time to make a choice based on one’s conviction rather than convenience.
“PDP started off as an amalgamation of diverse groups and individuals who really had nothing in common- probably to ease off the military but since then it has been grappling to find a bearing as political party.
“As it is today, in my considered view, it is not a political party in the true sense of a political party. Why did I say that the PDP is not a political party?. I just describe it as a platform to grab power.
Asked if the change of party was not to actualize his dream of governing Anambra through an arrangement with incumbent Gov Peter Obi, the economist- turned politician said that even though he was aspiring to contest on the platform of APGA, he would remain in the party if he fails to secure the ticked at the primaries.
“My decision to join APGA is not just limited to my aspiration to govern Anambra State. In as much as I would like to fly the APGA flag, even if I am not given the ticket, I will still remain in APGA and support whoever emerges. This is the party in which ideology, the constitution, manisfesto, aims and objectives are in line with my views and what I believe in.
“My decision to join APGA was a decision I made made more than a year ago. I would have joined more than a year ago and the reason that I didn’t join was that when I decided to as I was about to join, the crisis in the party erupted and so I didn’t want to join when the party was in crisis and then you would have to join one faction A faction B.”