APC convention: 19 aspirants disqualified

•Appeal Committee submits report Monday

THE 19 aspirants have been booted out of the race for various offices at the forthcoming national convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the screening Appeal Committee has stated.

The committee, however, said their cases would be reviewed strictly on merit.

It added it has received 16 petitions from party members against disqualification or some of the aspirants the committee screened.

Chairman of the Appeals Subcommittee, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, told newsmen during one of the sittings of the committee yesterday it has not received any petition against any of those aspiring for the offices of the national chairman and national secretary.

He disclosed that the committee hopes to submit its final report to the convention committee tomorrow, adding that aside petitions against some of the aspirants, there was one general petition demanding for justice.

The Imo State governor added, the petitioner wanted to know if members of the National Working Committee can be judged in their own cases having presided over the various congresses.

According to him: “We have started receiving petitions and appeals. Right now, we have seven aspirants here.

“We have resolved to give everyone a fair hearing so that justice, equity and fairness will prevail so that we prevent crisis in the party.

“We are carefully selected Nigerians from all works of life from different states that constitute membership of this committee.

“We have two days to do this job and we will be submitting our report by Monday barring any other reason. We are here to work all day and all night and take our decision.

“The screening appeal is the final appeal in this case. After this appeal committee, the next appeal will be after election appeal which will come after the convention.”

He added: “We are unmindful of the fact the convention committee will need time to start printing of ballot papers for the convention and so, we will ensure that we complete this job on time.

“So far, we have about 18 petitions before us and we have 19 persons that did not make it at the screening level.

“These are the things we are looking to see the merit or otherwise of their claims. We are going to use the screening committee report as a major guide to what we are doing.

“As soon as we are through with this, we are going to make it known to the public those who have succeeded at the appeals committee level.”

On those who were petitioned against, he said: “Of course we have petitions against all other positions except that of the national chairman and national secretary.”

On whether the committee has powers to disqualify those already screened and qualified, he said: “Yes, if you don’t make the appeal screening, you are disqualified because there is no other appeal after this.

“If the appeals committee upholds the position of the screening on the 19 persons, it means they have been disqualified from contesting the election.

“If there is anybody who has been screened and there is a petition against him, we have powers to uphold his qualification or disqualify him based on the merits of the petition.

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