The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday began the screening of its governorship aspirants for Kogi and Bayelsa states ahead of the November 16 gubernatorial elections.
The exercise, which was being conducted simultaneously at two difference centres, had 12 aspirants from Kogi while Bayelsa had 21.
Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State is the chairman of the screening committee for Kogi aspirants while Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state chaired the committee for Bayelsa.
Aspirants in the two states were still taking turns to appear before the two panels as of the time of filing this report.
While the Bayelsa aspirants were being screened at the party’s national secretariat, Wadata House, the Kogi aspirants were taking their turns at the party’s campaign headquarters, Legacy House.
Almost all the aspirants screened so far expressed optimism in winning the primary elections scheduled to hold on September 12.
Among the Kogi aspirants was the immediate past governor, Capt. Idris Wada. Also in the race is Abubakar Ibrahim, the first son of Wada’s predecessor in office, former Governor Ibrahim Idris.
Controversial Senator representing Kogi West senatorial district, Dino Melaye also showed up for the exercise.
Some of the aspirants from Bayelsa included a former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Timi Alaibe.
Also on the queue were the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, John Jonah and Secretary to the State Government and Chief of Staff to the Governor.
Addressing the aspirants before the exercise commenced, Governor Makinde assured them that the party had no preferred candidate and that all the aspirants would be treated fairly.
This, the governor said, was to ensure that the party goes into the election strong and united.
Makinde said: “We will be fair to all the aspirants. The PDP has no preferred candidate for the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa state.
“We don’t want a situation whereby our party will go into the election with a divided house.
“We want to go into the election as one big family that we are, with a view to retaining the state”.
Governor Ishaku also gave similar assurances to the Kogi aspirants and harped on the need to unite to enable the PDP to retake the state from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The exercise continues on Tuesday.