By Henry Umoru
ABUJA— AS the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, commenced the screening of its National Assembly and governoship aspirants nationwide, the national leadership of the party said yesterday that it has no preferred aspirants.
Rejecting claims from some quarters, especially from the aspirants, that the National Working Committee, NWC, had chosen particular aspirants to obtain the party’s tickets for next year’s National Assembly elections, National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, said the allegation was untrue against the backdrop that the NWC was too busy to involve itself with individual aspirants.
Metuh said: “We are conducting a free and fair primaries across the nation. It’s only delegates election that is happening. The NWC is too busy to get involved in one out of 109 Senate seats.”
On the use of NWC’s support to campaign for the ticket, Metuh said: “Anybody can use. Let the others use the United Nations to campaign or use the Presidency. It’s a campaign tool. But I am assuring you that in the NWC, we are neutral and we don’t have any interest.”
Meanwhile, Wadata Plaza, National Secretariat of PDP once again became a beehive of activities, weekend, as members of the National Assembly aspiring to contest the 2015 National Assembly elections were screened.
Senate President David Mark; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba; Senator Philip Aduda; Senator Smart Adeyemi; Senator Aloysius Etok; Senator Emmanuel Bwacha; Senator Margery Okadigbo, among others were screened and cleared to contest the election.
Also yesterday, the PDP presidential campaign office, Legacy House came to life as over 70 gubernatorial aspirants from the North Central appeared before the committee which is headed by the Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Olajumoke Akinjide.
The immediate past Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, who was screened and cleared, told journalists that his DNA and blood was fully PDP, just as he vowed to flush out cultists and mercenaries from the state once he becomes the Nasarawa State governor next year, adding that he cannot be seen to be identified with the All Progressives Congress, APC, alleging that the party was too violent.
Maku, who described the last congresses as free, fair and transparent, said as a former Commissioner, former Deputy Governor and minister, he was well equipped to govern the state.
He said as a governor, he would restore hope to the state as well as unite all warring factions,adding that since 1998, he had remained a loyal party member unlike those he claimed left to seek political positions on the platform of other parties.
Also at Legacy House, yesterday, were Senator Solomon Ewuga, Felix Atume; Samuel Ortom; Mustapha Bello, Senatir Pwajok; Senator Nuhu Aliyu; Col. I. B. Yakubu; Haruna Dabin, among others.
On A-Ibom guber ticket
Metuh’s clarification followed the party’s intervention to get Obong Bassey Albert to abandon his ambition for the Akwa Ibom State gubernatorial ticket in favour of the Senate seat on the ground that the governorship has been zoned to Eket Senatorial District.
The former gubernatorial aspirant, who hails from Uyo Senatorial District, is now bidding to have the senatorial ticket after obtaining the governorship expression of interest and nomination forms for N22 million.
But his rivals for the senatorial ticket are angry that Albert is now claiming the support of the NWC for the senatorial ticket in a way that put other aspirants at a disadvantage, even as stakeholders of the PDP in Akwa Ibom State had last week, threatened to vote against the party over attempts to alter the existing zoning arrangement in Uyo Senatorial District.