The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), over the weekend, screened three aspirants who obtained its nomination form for the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.
Those screened by five-man screening committee set up by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) for the purpose, were a member of House of Representatives, Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, an educationist, Chief Kenneth Imasuangbon and Mr. Gideon Ikhine.
Ogbeide-Ihama and Ikhine, physically appeared before the committee while Imasuangbon who was said to have been held back abroad due to ban on international flights as a result of coronavirus pandemic, was screened virtually.
The report of the committee has been submitted to the NWC, which has already empaneled a nine-man appeal committee to hear petitions that may have arrived from the work of the screen committee.
The appeal committee, which has Senator James Manager as Chairman, will sit on Monday at the PDP National Secretariat.
PDP is hoping to present its best in the election to challenge the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), which has been torn apart by intra-party crisis.
A party source hinted that PDP hopes to harvest from the APC internal crisis, even though none of the aspirants was seen as a threat to APC returning to office.
“We pray that the crisis in APC continues; it will be to our advantage. We will like to see how (Adams) Oshiomhole will support (Governor Godwin) Obaseki if he picks the ticket, or Obaseki camp supporting (Pastor) Ize-Iyamu,” the PDP source stated.
The party faces the dearth of quality aspirant to challenge APC since Ize-Iyamu who was PDP candidate in 2016, defected from the party.
It was gathered that the odds favours Hon. Ogbeide-Ihama who presently represents Oredo federal constituency in the House of Representatives. He is said to be popular among the people and might give APC the needed challenge.
Ogbeide-Ihama boasted of his popularity when he came to obtain his nomination form.
“The people of Edo State and especially my constituency which is the heart of Edo State, they have shown clearly that they have confidence in me and I have also been able to show them that I can stand up and represent them,” he said.
In the last election, Ogbeide-Ihama broke the jinx of winning a second term to represent the people since the return of democracy in the country in 1999.
Apart from his popularity, Ogbeide-Ihama is from one of the majority tribe and would cash on this to pull a surprise.
Imasuangbon’s problem is his inconsistency in any political party. He had moved in and out of the PDP a number of time.
The screening committee had promised to do a thorough jon, noting that in “the up coming election, our party or any political party will sail or sink based on the quality, popularity and electability of the candidate presented” to the people.
The committee also called for improvement in the party’s leadership selection process, adding that “no matter the quality and scope of the reform …such reform can only achieve the desire objective if the leadership selection process is rooted towards the cardinal attributes of integrity, discipline, patriotism, clarity of vision, intellectual adequacy and other positive character requirements needed to lead” Nigeria from being a debtor nation to the promised land that everyone desires.