A former Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon. Monday Bubou Obolo, the Assembly’s current Majority Leader, Hon. Gideon Ekeuwei as well as Mr. Charles Ambaiowei and Igo Goin, have been disqualified by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Screening Committee for the Bayelsa Central Senatorial race, over alleged irregular tax clearance, membership dues, anomalies in documentations, and other sundry issues.
The Muraina Ajibola-led Screening panel from the PDP National Secretariat was said to have received nomination forms from six senatorial aspirants with only one for the Bayelsa West and five for the Bayelsa Central.
After the exercise, the committee cleared former Governor Seriake Dickson – the only aspirant for Bayelsa West and Chief Cleopas Moses, a former Chairman of PDP in Bayelsa for Bayelsa Central. The other four aspirants were disqualified.
Sources close to the panel claimed that there were over five different grounds for the purported disqualification of the four affected aspirants.
According to the sources, they range from 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, who craved anonymity, 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.
The source stated: “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 it had become difficult for the screening panel to waive 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.
Meanwhile, supporters of some of the disqualified aspirants had during the week staged a peaceful protest, calling on the committee to retrace its steps.