The All Progressives Congress (APC) screening committee for the Anambra State Central Senatorial District has rejected the candidature of Uche Ekwunife, who recently dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the now-ruling party.
The committee – made up of Mr Osita Okechukwu (chairman), Alhaji Garba Umar (secretary),
Barr. Abdullahi Aliyu (member), Hon. Mrs. Bunmi Oririowo (member) and Lady Mary Aipoh (member) – cited Ekwunife’s history of dumping political parties.
The screening committee, convened on Monday, was mandated to take into consideration, full information on aspirants as relates to their educational qualification, political experience, working experience, team spirit and integrity.
It was asked to scrutinize the profile of aspirants regarding 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 our great party, the APC.
To aid its assignment, a score board analysis of the parameters set out above was made, and members scored all aspirants based on 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.
At the end of its work, the committee said two aspirants, Senator Uche Lilian Ekwunife and Barr. Sharon Olive Ikeazor, appeared before it.
Of its findings, it said: “Ikeazor Sharon Olive was a member of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a woman leader of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and woman leader interim National Executive Committee of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“She is also a member of our Board of Trustees (BOT). Her trajectory shows loyalty, perseverance and consistency to the emergence of our progressive party.
“It is our considered view that she fulfilled Section 4 of 2014 Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for Public Office and all relevant sections of the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“In conclusion, she is qualified, and, therefore, we recommend her for nomination as the candidate of our great party for Anambra State Central Senatorial District.”
However, the committee thought otherwise of Ekwunife, saying: “Senator Uche Lilian Ekwunife appeared before the committee and was also screened. She is barely two weeks old in the party.
The committee members each scoring independently scored the aspirant below the pass mark of 51 points.
“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.
“In conclusion, we recommend Ikeazor Sharon Olive. The chairman and members of the screening committee wish to thank graciously the leadership of the APC for finding us worthy to undertake this important National assignment.”
Ekwunife was elected senator in March 2015 after defeating Chris Ngige of APC. However, the Appeal Court ruled on December 7 that the election did not meet the prescriptions of the electoral act”, and it ordered the conduct of a rerun within 90 days.
Ekwuinife defected to APC later that month, seeing that Chris Ngige, the man who would have undoubtedly been the APC candidate again, had already been appointed minister.
“It is true some of us did not give our support to APC in the previous election, it is true you voted for me massively in PDP, but then my brothers and sisters, that seed of confusion that militated against PDP in the previous election is still inherent and may not be of any good to any people,” she had said.