The National Screening Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the bye-elections in the Central and West Senatorial Districts of Bayelsa State has disqualified four aspirants over alleged irregular tax clearance, membership dues, anomalies in documentations, among other issues.
Those stopped from contesting the two vacant senatorial seats are a former Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government, Gideon Ekeuwei; former Speaker and current Majority Leader of the House of Assembly, Monday-Bubou Obolo; former state chairman of the party, Charles Ambaiowei; and one Igo Goin.
It was gathered on Saturday that the national PDP panel, led by Muraina Ajibola, received nomination forms from six senatorial aspirants with only one for the Bayelsa West and five for the Bayelsa Central District.
But at the end of the screening exercise, the committee was said to have cleared former Governor Seriake Dickson as the only aspirant for Bayelsa West and Cleopas Moses, a former Chairman of PDP in Bayelsa, for Bayelsa Central.
The other four aspirants were said to be disqualified by the committee.
Party sources close to the panel claimed that there were over five different grounds for the purported disqualification of the four affected aspirants.
They ranged from non-possession of valid PDP membership cards, non-payment of membership dues, irregularity in names on certificates, irregularity in court affidavits to irregular payment of taxes.
According to one of the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, some of the disqualified aspirants 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.
The source added that it was difficult for the screening panel to wave the provisions of the PDP and Nigerian Constitution on requirements for eligibility, insisting that the disqualified aspirants should blame themselves and not anyone.
“The only option available to them is to proceed to the Screening Appeal Panel to disprove the earlier report of the screening,” the source said.
During the week, some supporters of some of disqualified aspirants had staged a protest in Yenagoa, the state capital, alleging the manipulation of the exercise against their choices.