…As Makinde rules out preferential treatment for any aspirant
By Dirisu Yakubu
Governorship Polls: The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Monday began screening of its governorship aspirants for Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections billed to hold on November 16, 2019.
The exercise which held simultaneously at two different venues drew a mammoth crowd of supporters who thronged the venues singing praises of whoever brought them to do their bidding.
While aspirants from Bayelsa were undergoing screening at the party’s National Secretariat, Wadata Plaza, those from Kogi were screened at Legacy House, the party’s presidential campaign office in the Maitama district of Abuja.
Speaking separately with newsmen after going through the screening, the aspirants expressed satisfaction in the exercise and thanked the leadership of the party for the thoroughness of the process.
Immediate past governor of Kogi state, Capt. Idris Wada (retd), who was the first aspirant to be screened, described the exercise as satisfactory.
“I am confident in the screening committee chaired by Governor Darius Ishaku which is doing a thorough and professional job. I am satisfied with the process and I have confidence in the panel. I have a very positive disposition to what they have done,’’ he said.
The lawmaker representing Kogi West, Senator Dino Melaye also spoke in like manner, saying he has all the qualities required to make a successful governor. “The committee was very professional and I met all the requirements by the screening committee and the party,’’ Dino said.
Another aspirant from Kogi, Muhammed Tetes, pledged to do everything possible to work for the advancement of Kogi state if given the opportunity. He also expressed readiness to partner his co-aspirants to put the state in the front burner of development and progress.
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“We have discussed among ourselves while we are waiting for the outcome of the primary. We should be ready to work together. We need to work together in the interest of the masses and development at the grassroots.
“As you are aware, Kogi is in a state of disarray and it is only through teamwork and common understanding that we would be able to move the state forward. This is a task that must be done by the PDP,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, chairman of the screening committee of the Bayelsa state PDP governorship aspirants and governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde has said the party has no preference for any candidate in the election, assuring that only accredited delegates would determine the fate of all aspirants.
Makinde pledged on behalf of the party that the process of selecting a candidate would be transparent in a bid to make the party head into the November poll as one united family with the sole intent of winning.
According to the governor, “We will be fair to all the aspirants. The PDP has no preferred candidate for the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa state. We don’t want a situation whereby our party will go into the election with a divided house. We want to go into the election as one big family that we are, with a view to retaining the state.”
Speaking with journalists after the screening, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and governorship aspirant, Timi Alaibe called on the delegates to think deeply before settling for a candidate of their choice.
“They (the delegates) should be clear in the decision to ensure that they vote for those they understand what they want to implement for our people. Those who have experience, those who have capacity.”
Alaibe promised to utilize government as an enabler for social reinvestment and for invitation of private sector participation to Bayelsa state if he becomes the next governor of the state.
On speculation making the rounds that the venue of the Bayelsa PDP primaries may be moved from Yenagoa to a neutral ground in the interest of peace, Alaibe said, “I am not aware of that. I have contested elections on the grounds of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State severally. So, it is not the first time. It has never been moved. If there is any such thing, it is also someone’s imagination. I am not aware”.
Incumbent deputy governor of the state, who is also an aspirant, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd) expressed satisfaction with the calibre of members of the screening committee, saying that they would do a good job.
According to Jonah, “I have the confidence that they will deliver. I am sure of clinching the ticket”.
The screening exercise continues today.