Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Twenty aspirants jostling for the All Progressives Congress (APC) Kogi State governorship ticket have threatened to work against Governor Yahaya Bello if the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) fails to adopt a direct mode of primaries to select the candidate of the party for the November 16 governorship poll.
Addressing newsmen during their protest visit to the national secretariat of the ruling party, they warned the national leadership of the party to rescind its decision on the mode of the primary election to avoid a repeat of the APC experience in Zamfara State in Kogi State.
According to the aspirants, “we write in respect of the outcome of the meeting of the NWC of our great party, the APC, which reportedly met on Friday, July 5, 2019, and adopted an indirect primary election in picking a governorship candidate for the November 16, 2019, governorship election in Kogi State.
“At an emergency meeting of all the governorship aspirants in Kogi State held on Sunday, July 7, 2019, we reviewed the decision of the NWC viz-a-viz our aspiration and resolved as follows: That the planned adoption of the Indirect Party Primary is inherent with serious negative consequences for the fortune of the party in Kogi State.
“We regret to observe that such a decision was taken without adequate consultation with critical stakeholders of the party in the state especially the governorship aspirants on the platform of the party and other contending groups in the polarised structure of the party in the state.
“The decision to adopt an Indirect Primary by the National Working Committee is fraught with severe implications. First, contrary to the information given to the National Working Committee, there are suits pending in an Abuja court seeking to determine the authentic executive of the party in the state. As a matter of fact, at the last hearing, the suit was adjourned till October 2, 2019.
“Second, arising from the pendency of the various suits to determine the legitimate party executive council in the state, the use of any factional delegate list may amount to an exercise in futility. And lastly, we may have unconsciously set a booby-trap for our party and the stage for the replay of the unfortunate Zamfara scenario.
“We observe that as a party committed to the enthronement of popular democracy, the resort to an indirect primary in the Kogi State chapter of the APC amounts to a muzzling of the wish of the generality of our party members, a victory for merchandised political culture and deference to Governor Yahaya Bello’s wish to be the judge in his own case.
“It is on record that Bello’s factional party executive council members, which he is angling as delegates for the indirect primary are peopled by his political appointees and loyalists who are on the payroll of the state government. It is also instructive to note that nearly all the 21 local governments’ party chairmen are Governor Bello’s coordinators. To subject other aspirants to this hostile political mechanism in the name of indirect primary amounts to a clear case of political ambush, gross act of injustice and trust betrayed.
“Whereas governorship election for Kogi and Bayelsa states are scheduled for November l6, 2019, we note with sadness the selective approach of the NWC in treating the primary election in Kogi State in isolation of that of Bayelsa State. As loyal party men, we would not fold our arms and allow our party to suffer huge political loss arising from the narrow ambition of a non-performing state governor,” the warned.
Interestingly, the secretariat of the ruling party was a battleground as thugs alleged to be loyal to Governor Bello declared war against the supporters of the aspirants, grounding activities at the secretariat and disturbing vehicular and human traffic.
The miscreants had in the morning hours thrown caution into the wind when they attacked correspondents covering the ruling party, accusing them of recording their violent actions and activities at the entrance gate of the secretariat.
The scene created by the thugs, bent on stopping the supporters of other aspirants from protesting, forced the national leadership to beef-up security with the arrival of several patrol vans, loaded with mobile police personnel.