Four of the five senatorial aspirants from the Bayelsa Central have been disqualified by the National Screening Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the October 31 bye-elections in the state.
The affected aspirants are a former Speaker and current Majority Leader of the state House of Assembly, Monday-Bubou Obolo; former Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government (SSG),Gideon Ekeuwei; Igo Assembly Goin and Charles Ambaiowei.
It was gathered that the national PDP panel led by Muraina Ajibola, disqualified the four aspirants over alleged irregular tax clearance, membership dues, anomalies in documentations and other sundry issues.
The committee was said to have received nomination forms from six senatorial aspirants with only one for the Bayelsa West and five for the Bayelsa Central.
It was learnt that after the screening exercise on Saturday, the committee cleared former Governor Seriake Dickson as the only aspirant for Bayelsa West and Cleopas Moses, a former state PDP chairman for Bayelsa Central while the other four aspirants were disqualified.
According to party sources, there were over five different grounds for the purported disqualification of the four affected aspirants, which bordered on non-possession of valid PDP membership cards, non-payment of membership dues, irregularity in names on certificates, irregularity in court affidavits and irregular payment of taxes.
One of the sources claimed that most of the disqualified aspirants only hurriedly rushed to obtain their three-year tax clearance about two months ago, a development that indicated that they allegedly evaded tax payment for two years.
“Imagine, some of the aspirants had no valid PDP membership cards, no passport photographs on some cards. Also, the party must be careful when nominating candidates with multiple names on their certificates.
“Then, for three years, they were not paying taxes. They didn’t pay in 2018, 2019, and now because they want to contest, they rushed to pay. They have broken the law already. They are also not smart enough even if they want to cheat the system. The evidence of payment of tax clearance for three years reflecting payment was done in one day this year”, the source said.
The source further said that it had become difficult for the screening panel to wave provisions of the PDP and Nigerian Constitution on requirements for eligibility, insisting that the disqualified aspirants should blame themselves and not anyone.
“The only options available to them is to proceed to the Screening Appeal Panel to disprove the earlier report of the screening,” the source said.
It would be recalled that the supporters of some disqualified aspirants had on Thursday marched through the streets of Yenagoa in protest, alleging manipulation of the process to favour some aspirants.