From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) yesterday screened Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed, former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, ahead of its May 28/29 presidential primary.
Others who appeared before the screening panel headed by former Senate President, David Mark, were Nyesom Wike, Emmanuel Udom, governors of Rivers and Akwa Ibom states respectively, as well as former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose and publisher of Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu.
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Also, in the contest for the PDP are former president, Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), Sam Ohuabunwa; investment banker, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen; Cosmos Ndukwe; Charles Ugwu; Chikwendu Kalu; Tareila Diana and Nwachukwu Anakwenze. Fayose, while speaking with journalists, after he appeared before the panel, said the PDP must zone its 2023 presidential ticket to the South in its own interest.
“We must be courageous enough to say this is going to South. If you want to contest ,the Nigerian constitution still gives you the leverage, the opportunity to do so. I support zoning this to southern Nigeria,” he said. However, Emmanuel and Obi, in separate interviews, said the PDP would have the final say on whether or not to zone the presidential ticket, noting that aspirants would respect the decision of the party on the issue.
On his part, the Bauchi governor said as a democrat, he was ready to support anyone that emerges as the PDP 2023 presidential candidate.
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“I wish all the candidates good outing and I pray it will be without any rancour, without any provocation, without any attack on any member that is contesting with me. And as I have said, I am a democrat. If anyone of us gets it other than myself, I am ready to support him,” he said.
Meanwhile two of the 17 presidential aspirants seeking the PDP ticket to contest the 2023 election have been disqualified.
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Chairman of the presidential screening committee, Senator David Mark, who announced the disqualification of the two aspirants on Friday evening, gave no reasons for the disqualification. The names of the two were also not disclosed.
He said the two aspirants are to forfeit the N40 million paid by each of them for the expression of interest and nomination forms.