Internal crisis pushes Kogi State APC to precipice
• Faleke accuses presidency of complicity, Bello denies encouraging ethnic division
There are indications that the ruling Kogi State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) might go into the 2019 governorship election as a divided house. This is sequel to the inability of the party to resolve the issues surrounding the controversy generated by the emergence of Governor Yahaya Bello.
The party, had in a contentious manner, replaced its governorship candidate in the November 15 2015 polls, Prince Abubakar Audu, who died suddenly just before the declaration of the results, with Bello.
The party also went ahead to deny Audu’s running mate, Mr. James Abiodun Faleke, who was expected to step into Audu’s position as the governor-elect, a situation that had since fractionalised and affected the party’s fortunes in the state.
This informed the alarm raised by Faleke who currently represents Lagos in the House of Representatives, to the danger of the continued divisions in the party ahead of the coming elections.
Faleke noted that the cruel lopsidedness in appointments, which is deliberately skewed against the Audu/Faleke supporters, might be the party’s greatest albatross in the 2019 elections.
“The APC in Kogi is now more divided than ever,” he stated wondering whether a house divided against itself can ever stand?
He added that the implications of the unfortunate development, the controversial emergence of Bello and the continued lopsidedness in the governor’s appoint, to the party could better be imagined, if not urgently addressed.
The federal lawmaker accused Bello and President Muhammad Buhari of deliberately victimising members of the Audu/Faleke Political family within the party.
He noted that at a time when the Federal Government should be looking for ways of assuaging the feelings of members of his group, who actually campaigned and won the governorship seat for the party “all appointments so far have been allotted to Bello’s faction of the party in the state.”
Faleke also expressed dismay with at the manner the governor is tilting his administration claiming it has embark on a voyage vendetta to annihilate members of Audu’s political family saying: “My heart bleeds over the macabre dance of unimaginable treachery and victimisation of patriotic and loyal members of the APC who actually campaigned and won the governorship seat, which Bello got on a platter of gold.”
He however accused the government at the centre of liable saying: “the most culpable party in this development is the Federal Government that is supposed to play the role of a father.”
He lamented that not a single federal appointment has been extended the Audu/Faleke team “rather the appointments go to cronies of the governor, who knew next to nothing as to the energy and toil we put into the campaigns that won governorship seat in November 2015.”
In particular, he alerted of what he described as the disturbing trend of marginalisation of Kogi West in the federal appointments, insisting: “I would not be wrong to conclude that the good people of Kogi West where I hail from are being ruthlessly punished by the powers that be as part of a bigger bizarre political script to completely shut me and my supporters out of reckoning.”
Furthermore, he queried: “How else can one explain the appointments of majority of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members into the cabinet of Bello including the recent appointments of Senior Special Assistants (SSA) and Special Assistants (SA) from the stable of the PDP when loyal APC members are left?”
He added that it was unfortunate that the group that campaigned and won the presidential election for Buhari in Kogi when Bello and his supporters were busy campaigning for the opposition PDP, are being made to suffer untold persecution even at presidency’s level for reasons best known to the actors.
However, Bello while addressing the media in Plateau dispelled the allegations that his administration is using divide and rule tactics among the ethnic groups in the state.
He rather said all the ethnic groups in the state, must as a government policy come together as a formidable force to move it forward.
Besides, he said that the many ethnic groups in the state rather than being a source of weakness would by the grace of God be a source of strength.
He noted that despite the existence of Kogi for the past 26 years, there was nothing to show for it in terms of infrastructural development.
While appealing to all aggrieved politicians and stakeholders to embrace peace in the interest of the people and the future generation, Bello said, “From the outset of the administration, we had resolved that emphasis on ethnicity should be a taboo to the government. That this person does not belong here, he is from a different ethnic group or that he belongs to a religion different from this one. This line of thinking is outlawed.”
Contrary to the allegations that he is sidelining Kogi West in the scheme of appointments, the governor said, “It is illegal to classify some people as ‘haves’ and some ‘have not.’ There should be a sense of belonging wherever they find themselves.”
He promised that his government, despite the challenges would endeavour to build a state of the peoples’ dream where all the ethnic groups would see themselves with a sense of belonging in terms of character, integrity, capacity and selfless service.
The governor maintained that the state, which was created with noble intention, couldn’t continue to wallow in inefficiency and rot that dogged it in the past, especially in the civil service.
He lamented that politicians of all shades have attempted, perilously to bring thuggery, kidnapping, armed robbery and other social vices to the state, but added that criminals are now running away from the state, courtesy of the dynamic security outfit in the state.
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