Scramble for Kogi APC ticket: Opposition against Bello swells, as Kinsman joins race
The entrance of Haruna Yusuf, the former Aide de Camp (ADC) to former Governor of Edo State and current chairman of the All
Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomole, may be causing serious discomfort in Governor Yahaya Bello’s camp. Bello was the first to pick the nomination form, ahead of the August 2019 party primary election in the state.
Others said to have collected the nomination form according to The Guardian checks, include a former Commissioner of Agriculture in Bello’s cabinet, Dr. Tim Nda Diche, son of the late Prince Abubakar Audu, Mustapha Mona Audu and Vice Admiral Jibril Usman.
However, 37 other aspirants were recently at the party headquarters to demand for indirect primary election. Those opposed to the Governor have since dismissed them, saying they are jesters sponsored by Kogi State government to ridicule their genuine agitation for direct primary.
Aside their protest, where they unanimously declared that Bello could be defeated in an indirect primary, there was no information relating to their collection of nomination forms, which would have solidified their claims. But what is verifiable is the recent declaration by Yusuf, who hails from the same senatorial district as Governor Bello for the governorship position, also on APC platform, pointing to the fact that all is not well with Bello from his home base.
Political watchers said this was not a good development for Bello, particularly as it was coming few months after the Paramount ruler from his place, Alhaji (Dr.) Ado Ibrahim declared that the Governor had lost his support base. At his declaration, Yusuf said his driving force was Kogi people’s yearning for better conditions of living. According to him, Governor Bello’s administration has brought untold hardship to the people of the state, hence the need to salvage the situation.
He noted that Kogi was supposed to be one of the best states in the country because of its strategic location that can be turned to a tourist centre, and that his driving force was “to rescue Kogi and APC in the state.”On the adoption of the indirect primary by APC national leadership, Yusuf said: “The party supremacy is bigger than any individual. The responsibility of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) is to look at all the issues before it. But in this regard, I don’t think the committee will go against the party’s interest in Kogi State.
“Personally, I think the NWC should have been sensitive to the people’s demand, if we are in a true democracy. I think the party should have a human face to be able to feel the people’s pulse, so that the general election can be free and fair.“The problem we had during the last primary election in Kogi State is still very much on ground, because of the injustice meted on the aspirants, where there was no clear free and fair election, leading to aggrieved members going to court. The NWC should have learnt a lesson from the past.
“To give Kogi people a sense of belonging, I think direct primary
would have been the best to reconnect members with the party, so that on their own, they can choose who will fly the party’s flag in the forthcoming general election…”On the economy, he noted that one of the country’s major problems is the discovery of crude oil, which over time brought indolence and quick money making syndrome that have virtually turned people away from other revenue sources, such as minerals.
“Kogi has abundant mineral resources in commercial quantity. We will involve modern technology to locate the mineral deposits in the state for the purpose of mining. We will collaborate with the Federal Ministry of solid minerals and invite foreign investors and create mining schools where people can learn how to mine…”
On security, he said: “Intelligence is the best form of tackling security issues. Deploying physical security everywhere is fine, but that is not the real core method of dealing with security…” Protest against Governor Bello has become a recurring decimal by aspirants and other stakeholders in APC. The message is the same: The Governor must be stopped at all cost.
Bello recently boasted that he would defeat anyone, either in the primary or general election. He maintained that the only way to sustain the successes recorded by Kogi APC in the presidential, national and state Assembly elections in the state is by offering him the ticket.
At a recent meeting in Lokoja, some loyalists, including Senator Smart Adeyemi, vowed to work against APC, if Governor Bello was denied the party ticket. But the Director General, Media and Publicity to the Governor, Kingsley Fanwo, was optimistic that Bello would have a landslide victory in the primary and the November 16 governorship election.
According to him, no amount of protests can derail the Governor from achieving his set targets. Fanwo said: “Let me first and foremost say that as APC members in Kogi State, we are not aware of any protest by anybody or group at our party’s National Headquarters in Abuja. Secondly, not everybody who prints posters is an aspirant in an election.
“Those referred to as protesters are simply on political pilgrimages; they are obstructionists. If truly they protested against NWC’s decision to adopt indirect primary in the state, then, it shows that those aspiring to be governor on APC platform do not even know the executives piloting the party’s affairs…
“The national Secretariat set up panels to oversee the different levels of congresses conducted by the party in the state. The
congresses were adjudged free, fair and peaceful. The executives were duly sworn in. The executives recommended indirect primary to elect candidates…”
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