By Nsikak Ekpenyong
AHEAD of the governorship primary, the Labour Party, LP, has commenced the screening of governorship aspirants for Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi governorship election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had fixed November 11, 2023 for the conduct of the three governorship elections.
Some of the Aspirants are: Engr. Udengs Eradivi from Bayelsa state, Chief Ikechuwku Ukaegbu, from Imo state; Barr. Ihechi Ike, from Imo state; Sen. Nneji Achonu, from Imo state.
Others are Chief Diekivie Ihiogla, from Bayelsa; Col Abu Vincent Enemona, from Kogi state; Donald Daunemigha; Ari Marshel Isaac Aifia, from Kogi state; among others.
Addressing journalists briefly before the screening commenced, on Tuesday, in Abuja, the Party’s acting chairman, Lamidi Apapa, said that the total number of candidates to be screened are 24 from the three states: Imo Kogi and Bayelsa.
He expressed optimism that the exercise would go seamlessly, adding that there would be a committee to address grievances, should any arise after the primaries.
According to him, you are all welcome to this briefing which has to do with the screening of this governorship aspirants that appeared for screening today from Bayelsa, and from Imo State.
“Right now we have screened four gubernatorial aspirants, we have screened two from Bayelsa and two from Imo state. So far, they have all done their best and they have convinced us and the committee has screened them and they are qualified to appear for the primaries that will come up on the 16th of this month.
“We are expecting 13 aspirants from Imo state and we are equally expecting 9 aspirants from Bayelsa and we are also expecting 2 from Kogi state: they are 24 all together. If anybody has an issue, he/she should bring his appeal by tomorrow and the committee is already waiting to attend to those that have an issue”, he added.
One of the Aspirants for Imo state who spoke to pressmen at the sideline of the exercise, Comrade Ikechuwku Ukaegbu, said if considered as the party’s candidate, he would channel efforts towards ensuring that the spate of insecurity in the state is addressed.
Ukaegbu, who described himself as a teacher and a trader, also expressed hope to emerge winner of the gubernatorial election in Imo state.
He said: “Being a teacher and a trader you must know that as a teacher you be conservative and what governance is all about is for you to be conservative so that you can take care of the people. I acquired such experience as a trader and that will help me manage money.
“I am the financial stakeholder of the Labour Party in Imo state and I have been in the labor party for over 14 years. I am well prepared for this governorship, not those who heard of Peter Obi so they came in. I am prepared to govern Imo state and in Imo state today I am the owner of Imo solution. I have my structures in all the 27 local governments, 305 wards and 4738 booths in Imo state.
“And you can not be talking about winning elections when you don’t have a structure. So, I am not an opportunist. I have planned to govern Imo state and I am ready.”
Speaking of how he would tame the spate of extrajudicial killings in the state, he said: “Insecurity is a problem. But, the only way you can be able to handle insecurity is to project the private sector. By projecting the private sector, you create jobs so that the youths can be gainfully employed.”
Ihechi, an aspirant of the party, Imo state, also if he emerges as the next governor of the state, he would transform the state and make it governable.
Meanwhile, the National Publicity Secretary, Arabambi stressed that the party would only accept aspirants who have presented themselves for screening ahead of the April 15 primaries.
“For us, as far as we are concerned only 12 that showed up for this screening but for the 12 that came these are the people that will go to their state and do primary and the primary, we have scheduled it for April 15”, he said.