Home / News / Local / Gov. Obaseki’s disqualification: APC should apologise to Edo people – Orbih; PDP may win – Tony Momoh

Gov. Obaseki’s disqualification: APC should apologise to Edo people – Orbih; PDP may win – Tony Momoh

By Deborah Coker (Benin)/ Bolaji Buhari (Lagos)/Deji Abdulwahab (Abuja)
June 12, 2020

A Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chieftain in Edo, Chief Dan Orbih, on Friday asked the All Progressives Congress (APC), to apologise to Edo people over its varying positions on the person of Gov. Godwin Obaseki.
Orbih, the immediate past chairman of the PDP in Edo, made the call in Benin while reacting to the disqualification of Obaseki from APC Governorship primaries for June 22.
This is as former Minister of Information, Chief Tony Momoh, also on Friday said the APC should not expect ‘a tea party ‘in the Edo governorship election owing to the crisis in the state chapter.
Momoh, also an APC chieftain from the state, made the assertion while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone.
The screening committee for the ruling party announced that the Edo governor was unfit to contest the primaries, saying it could not vouch for some certificates he claimed to possess.
Orbih upbraided the ruling party for deliberately playing politics on the issue of the governor’s qualification, saying that it took various positions to please the national leadership.
He said in view of this, the APC owed it as a moral obligation to apologise to Edo people.
He said, “the APC owes it as a moral obligation to apologise to the people of Edo State for deceiving the people on the issue of the governor’s certificate.
He noted that at one time the governor was very much well qualified to govern the state and was praised for being a financial expert.
“Now the party has changed position essentially because of the problems the governor has with the National Chairman.
“For me, the fact is that the people of Edo have not only been deceived, but they have also been made to bear the brunt of the deficiency in governance on account of the distractions that the governor has been subjected to through the dispute with the national chairman.
“The party as such owes it as a moral duty to apologise to the people of Edo State before it can be taken as serious in any competitive bid for the votes of the electorate.
“We are sick and tired of APC serial certificate scandals,” the chieftain said.
Momoh, on his part, said that the party needed to manage its crisis carefully in order not to give the state to the opposition.
The former minister said the disqualification of Obaseki was another serious development which might affect the chances of the party at the polls, if not resolved.
“There is crisis in Edo APC and like I said before, they need to manage the crisis well, otherwise they should not expect the election to be a tea party.
“As for the disqualification of Obaseki, I won’t say much because it is still a party affair. Obaseki is the sitting governor and if his disqualification stays, it might affect the party.
“With what is happening in Edo APC, I think any party can win in the governorship election,” he said.
On the options before Obaseki, he said the governor could approach the party’s Appeal committee to challenge his disqualification from the primary.
The former minister said if that fails, he could approach the court to challenge the decision of the party.
Momoh urged party men in Edo not to allow clash of interests to affect the peace and progress of APC in the state.
The screening committee of the APC had disqualified Gov. Obaseki and two other aspirants, Mr. Matthew Iduoriyekemwe and Mr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, from participating in the primaries.
The seven-member screening committee, headed by Prof. Jonathan Ayuba, also cleared three aspirants: Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Hon. Osaro Obaze and Dr. Pius Odubu to contest the primaries.
Ayuba said this on Friday, while presenting the committee’s report to the party’s National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
He described the methodology used in screening the aspirants as evidence-based.
“The methodology we used is clear. It was evidence-based. All we did was an interaction.
“We screened six aspirants, three were eligible to contest and three were deemed ineligible to participate,” the committee chairman said.
He said that the committee disqualified Obaseki due to what he called the defect in his Higher School Certificate (HSC).
Ayuba added that Obaseki’s name, written in his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate, was issued in error by the NYSC authority.
Though, His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki, in his nomination form claimed to have obtained a Higher School Certificate (HSC) from an Institute of Continuing Education, Benin, it was observed, however, that no educational certificate such as HSC is known in Nigerian educational system.
“Even then, the same HSC was never presented in the course of the screening exercise. The aspirant admitted that he has never collected it.
“The attestation from the Institute of Continuing Education, Benin, from where the alleged HSC, which was indicated in the field of attendance, is of no consequence.”
According to him, it only attests that Obaseki was a student of the institute.
“So what we had was like an attendance; it was not a result.
“Although, the committee received a petition on his University of Ibadan Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Classics certificate, which he submitted to INEC in 2016, when he first contested as governor, it, on further probing, was presented with original certificate, issued by the university and the original was sighted.
“On the NYSC certificate, dated 6th August, 1980, the committee observed that he bears the name “Obasek” Godwin.
“While this may be an error on the part of the issuing authority, we observed, however, that the aspirant has not taken any step to have the anomaly corrected by the issuing authority.
“In our interaction with the issues raised, we concluded that HSC was defective and the NYSC certificate, and based on the party’s constitution, this has made us to recommend that the above candidate, Obaseki, is not eligible to participate in the election,” he said.
Ayuba also said that the names on all the certificates presented by another aspirant, Ogiemwonyi, were in contradiction with one another.
“Also the sworn declaration of age, deposed to by one Capt. Steven on 3rd June, 2016, bore two conflicting names of the aspirant.
“There is discrepancy in all the certificates presented and also the difference in the names contained in the sworn affidavit of June 2016.
“Having regards to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Electoral Act, APC constitution and the party’s guidelines for the nomination of candidates and the reliance on the cases that have been settled by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, it is the considered view of the committee that this aspirant does not meet the requirement to participate in the APC primary.
“In view of the findings of the committee above, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi is not cleared,” he said.
He, however, said that the committee, after screening and the verification of Mr. Osaro Obaze’s documents, found him eligible to contest the primary.
Based on the committee’s observation above, the candidate is cleared,” Ayuba said.
Responding, Oshiomhole, who said that the outcome of the committee was subject to appeal, urged any aspirant, who disagreed with the committee’s report, to present his appeal or disagreement to the party’s appeal panel.

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