The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) National Assembly Screening Committee in Kogi State, on Wednesday, disqualified Ubolo Itodo Okpanachi and Aminu Abubakar Suleiman from the Kogi East senatorial contest over various acts of misconduct.
The result of the screening exercise released on Thursday in Lokoja, the state capital, showed that while Isaac Alfa and Victor Adoji received the nod of the committee to proceed with their senatorial aspirations, Suleiman and Okpanachi were disqualified from the race.
Suleiman was screened out because he is not a registered voter in the senatorial district, and is therefore ineligible to participate in the senatorial election.
The committee is said to have noted that the fact of him not being eligible to vote or take part in an election in the senatorial district, automatically foreclosed his chances of benefiting from any vote cast in the district. Suleiman, the committee further noted, has not voted for anyone in Kogi East and hence not qualified to run.
Okpanachi, on the other hand, was not cleared because of his alleged involvement in anti-party activities and a plethora of other petitions challenging his legibility to contest.
He is alleged to be a mole of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a party he is said to have joined, and at some point was given an appointment on its platform. Though the 2017 constitution of the PDP, as amended, allows members who defected from the party to return, such returning members are to fulfill certain conditions to be considered for elective positions, which in the estimation of the screening committee, Okpanachi has not fulfilled.
These conditions, as spelt out in Chapter 2, Part 1, subsections 16 and 17, of the party’s constitution, have to do with the procedures for rejoining the party, status of a decampee and other membership-related matters.
Also, out of the seven aspirants vying for the Kogi Central Senatorial seat, four including a former Senator, Ahmed Ogembe, were disqualified.
According to the report, Ogembe was disqualified for taken the party to court over the issue of Barrister Natasha Akpoti who joined the party after decamping from the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Similarly, an aspirant to the House of Representatives from the Idah Federal Constituency, Hon. Ismail Inah Hussein, was disqualified on the grounds of anti-party activities.
The disqualified aspirants, meanwhile, are said to have indicated interest in approaching the party’s screening appeals committee to seek redress, which if successful, could provide veritable grounds for litigation against the party in the future.