- A former presidential spokesman, Umar Sani, has reacted to the disqualification of Obaseki by APC
- The party's governorship screening committee had on Friday, June 12, declared Obaseki unfit to contest the primary election
- Sani, however, said Obaseki's disqualification is the beginning of APC's downfall in Edo state
Umar Sani, a former senior special assistant to vice president Namadi Sambo on media and publicity, has berated the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for disqualifying Governor Godwin Obaseki from seeking re-election under the party's platform.
In an exclusive interview with Legit.ng, the former presidential spokesman, described Obaseki's ouster from the APC primary as unfortunate and uncalled for, querying why the party failed to disqualify the governor in 2016 based on his credentials.
He said: "The disqualification of Governor Godwin Obaseki by the screening committee of the APC is rather unfortunate. What happened to his qualification in 2016 that now warranted his disqualification."
Speaking on the alleged plan to defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to seek re-election, Sani said the best thing for the governor is to leave APC and pitch his tent with the major opposition in the state to fight the injustice against him.
"If the rumours making the rounds is anything to go by PDP has made a big catch. Edo state from time immemorial has been PDP. Prof Osunbor fell out with late Chief Tony Anenih and the then Action Congress (AC) seized the opportunity at the elections petitions tribunal to ascend to power.
"I am confident that with Obaseki’s human and material resources coupled with the active participation of the south-south governors Edo state shall soon queue in to being a PDP state," he said.
Asked if it is wise for PDP to field Obaseki as its candidate based on the discrepancies in his certificate, Sani emphasised that Obaseki does not need to present the controversial certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) if he eventually joins the PDP.
He said what Obaseki needs is to satisfy the minimum constitutional requirement by presenting his secondary certificate.
"He doesn’t need to present such certificates if they are found to be defective. All he needs is to satisfy the minimum constitutional requirement by presenting his secondary certificate. I don’t see him having any problems subsequently," he said.
Sani also noted that Obaseki has a brighter chance of winning the governorship election under the platform of PDP, adding that as a candidate, challenging him within the party is not justiciable.
He said: "Like I said he stands a good chance of clinging the coveted seat. As a candidate, challenging him within the party is not justiciable. This has been resolved by the Supreme Court.
"In APC v. Engr. Suleiman Aluyi Lere (2020) 1 NWLR (Part 1705) 254, Rhodes-Vivour, JSC at 285 said: "Candidates are expected to obtain expression of interest and nomination forms, present their certificates for verification and appear before a screening committee.
"This is the stage at which the domestic or internal affairs of the political party are not justiciable. The courts will not dabble into how a member of the party is screened, or why a member was not cleared by the party to contest the primaries.
"Put in another way, before a member of the party is cleared, the party has the power to disqualify their member, and is answerable to no one including the courts. A dissatisfied member's remedy is to leave the party and seek his political ambitions somewhere else.
"This can only be reversed by the courts if he becomes a governor-elect. I do not see our party not conducting a thorough screening of its aspirants. I believe he is good to go."
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that Timi Frank called on Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state to prevail on PDP leaders to accept Governor Obaseki of Edo state as their governorship candidate.
It was reported that Frank who is a former chieftain of the APC said Obaseki remains the best option for the PDP if it truly wants to take over Edo state.
APC disqualifies Obaseki from Edo guber primaries |- on Legit TV