The screening panel of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has on Monday disqualified Senator Uche Ekwunife from contesting in the forthcoming Anambra Central Senatorial District rerun elections under the umbrella of the party.
Recall that Senator Uche Ekwunife, who was dismissed by the Appeal court in Enugu on December 6, 2015 on the basis of irregularities, defected from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC some weeks ago, citing her decision as an important one because there was need for the Igbos to have a strong representation in national politics.
However, her defection may have temporarily been in vain as the five-man screening panel, set up by the party, on Thursday, January 22 preferred Sharon Ikeazor as its candidate in the election over Ekwunife. The committee, whose members include Osita Okechukwu (chairman), Abdullahi Aliyu, Bunmi Oririowo, Mary Aipoh and Garba Umar (Secretary), pointed out that Senator Uche Ekwunife could be classified as more or less a fair weather hen in agreement to Abike Dabiri who describe politicians like Ekwunife as “political prostitutes.”
This tag was put on her considering the way she dumps any political party that she feels no longer favours her when she wants, thereby leaving the party in factions. According to the committee;
“Most importantly, our deep concern is her record which showed that she dumps political parties at will, leaving the parties in its wake factionalized – from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), to Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), back to PDP or vice versa and now to APC.
She is more or less a fair-weather hen therefore her antecedent contravenes Section 4(3) of the 2014 Guideline for Nomination of Candidate for Public Office. Caution is valour. The score sheet in respect of the aspirants is also attached herewith for further necessary action. The committee found that Aspirant Senator Uche Lilian Ekwunife, is ineligible to seek the APC nomination for the Senatorial election.”
The committee further explained that in executing its responsibilities, it made a score board analysis listing things that were to be considered, including an investigation into the background of the aspirants, integrity and fulfillment of all the relevant sections of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2010 Electoral Act and Guideline for Nomination of candidates of the APC.
“To aid the committee in its assignment, a score board analysis of the parameters set out above was made. Members scored all aspirants on the following basis viz: BioData/Education- 20 Points; Experience (Public/Private)-20 points; Integrity and Personal Character- 40 points and Party Loyalty and Support-20 Points. The guidelines set a pass mark of 51 Points for the aspirants.”
Contrary to the screening committee’s opinion of Senator Uche Ekwunife, Barrister Sharon Ikeazor was highly lauded for her tenacity, grim persistence and faithfulness. Barr. Sharon was a member of the defunct All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), woman leader of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and woman leader interim National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Party (APC).
They drew attention to the fact that her path shows loyalty, determination and consistency to the emergence of the APC and was consequently recommended to represent the party in the rerun elections. Senator Ekwunife was reportedly bitter when she received the news of her disqualification and in her anger, threatened to sue the All Progressive Congress but eventually calmed down and accepted her fate with the timely intervention of the party members. She was promised an appointment from the Buhari administration in return for her silence.
However, fortunately for Ekwunife, the APC has rejected the report from the screening committee as seen in a statement made by Bala Buni on Thursday night, saying that it would wait for the senatorial primary election to be completed for Anambra Central. As he said;
“The All Progressives Congress (APC) warns against the declaration of any result from the Anambra Central Senatorial primary election conducted by the party.
Senator Domingo Obende who was duly appointed by the party to conduct the primaries is yet to declare a final result, hence any other result announced from any quarter is null and void.
The media and general public is advised to await completion of the exercise.”