What indirect primary means for Kogi APC – Daily Trust

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The decision by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to adopt the indirect primary method to choose its flag bearer for the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State may have set the party on a collision course. The APC National Working Committee had on Friday, July 5 approved indirect primary to elect the party’s candidate for the forthcoming Kogi governorship election. The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said in a statement that the approval was given after a meeting of the NWC in Abuja, where a formal request from the state executive and stakeholders in preference for the indirect primary was considered and deliberated on. However, the adoption of the indirect method is now generating discordant tunes. No fewer than 20 aspirants under the aegis of Forum of Kogi APC Governorship Aspirants have voiced their opposition against the method. The aspirants alleged that the method is not the consensus of all stakeholders and thus constitutes “inherent danger” for the APC ahead of the election. Aspirants who rejected the indirect primary include Pharm. Aliyu Zakari-Jiya, Dr. Tim Diche, Alhaji Yusuf Haruna, Admiral Usman Jibrin (Rtd), Alhaji Mohammed Audu, Alhaji Mohammed Ali, Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi, Alhaji Jibrin Haruna Mohammed, Alhaji Yakubu Mohammed, and Sheik Ibrahim Jibril. Others are Chief Momoh Y. Obaro, Prince Sani H. Shuaibu, Comrade Gowon Egbunu, Prince Sanni Shuaibu, Prince Mustapha Mona Audu, Alh. Ahmed Ibrahim Aruwa, Gen. Akpa Patrick, Engr. Sunday Edibo, Khalid Adams, Alh.Yusuf Ali and Prof. Seidu Mohammed. In a protest letter dated July 8 addressed to the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the aspirants said the method was tantamount to “muzzling” the wishes of the generality of party members and gives undue advantage to the incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello, who is a contender. The letter was jointly signed by the forum’s chairman, Gen. Patrick Akpa (rtd) and Secretary, Gowon Egbunu. The forum urged the national leadership of the party to constitute an independent caretaker management committee with the sole mandate of providing a level playing ground through a direct primary for all card-carrying members of the party. Bello coasting home to victory? With the adoption of indirect primary, Governor Yahaya Bello appears to have brighter chances of clinching the party’s flag. This is because the current executives of the party at the state, local government and ward levels who would eventually constitute the bulk of delegates for the primary election are believed to be loyalists of the governor. Besides, other categories of people who are to make the delegates list such as members of the National Assembly and state lawmakers are also believed to be his loyalists. But if Bello gets the ticket, he would walk a tight rope in his return bid as arrays of other gladiators are warming up in the opposition camps to wrestle power from him. Can other aspirants, stakeholders ‘spoil show’ for Bello? Given the manner the APC lost out in Zamfara, Imo and Rivers in the last general elections due to high-level internal wranglings in the party, pundits believe that the threats by the opposing aspirants ahead of the election must not be taken for granted. The pundits said the adoption of indirect primary is not a wise decision as that might constitute a booby trap for the party if care is not taken. Advocates of direct primary believe that it will allow the emergence of a popular candidate that can win the election. Aggrieved aspirants apart from having the capacity to team up with other opposition parties to work against the APC’s victory if the impasse is not well handled, are also exploiting the option of litigation. Before now, there were two factions laying claim to the leadership of the APC in the state with one led by the Alhaji Haddy Ametuo group and the Hon. Bello Abdullahi leadership which enjoys the support of the governor. The Ametuo-led group instituted a case at the Federal High Court, Abuja, challenging the legality of the current executive of the APC as constituted in the state. Recently, the governor midwifed a reconciliation effort between the Ametuo-led group and the Abdullahi Bello executives which culminated in Ametuo declaring readiness to work with the Abdullahi Bello-led exco. Ametuo said: “For three and half years, I, together with members of my exco, have been fighting my brother, the governor, and if now we decide to bury our differences, what is the problem? “I worked hard to build this party, I worked hard for this party to win the state and I cannot open my eyes and allow PDP to win the state  in the next election.” He said he and all members of his former cabinet would work to ensure victory for the party in November. But the secretary of the factional Ametuo group who addressed newsmen in Abuja however differed, saying that the governor’s poor performance should not be rewarded with a second term. “We did not endorse anyone and we are not planning to. The party’s ticket is open to everyone in the party”, added. Adejoh said he would not be a party to the withdrawal of the case in court, insisting they would pursue it to a logical conclusion. In the meantime, it appears the other aggrieved aspirants and stakeholders who are against the governor picking the ticket are using the court case to set up a booby trap for the party ahead of the election. But Kingsley Fanwo, the spokesman of governor Yahaya Bello, said the party’s constitution allows for any of the three methods of the primary. He said it was the recommendations of the State Executive Committee of the party that informed the adoption of the indirect primary mode by the NWC. “In the case of the adoption of Indirect Primary by the State Executive Committee of the party in Kogi State, a notice of stakeholders’ meeting was sent to all who should take a part in the decision. “The meeting was held and the decision to adopt Indirect Primary was taken. Those alleging that it will arrogate undue advantage to the governor are only indicting themselves. “They are simply telling the world they had never participated in the activities and programs of the party. Many of them have always been supporting the PDP. They are only telling the world that it is only Yahaya Bello that the executives know. “The president came for a campaign rally, they stayed away. Before then, they didn’t participate in our congresses. They are ignorant of what is happening in the party because they are actually strangers in the party. “Since they stayed away from the congresses that produced the delegates, you may want to ask them when they decided they were going to contest for governorship under the APC,” he said. “As far as I am concerned, they weren’t prepared. APC used Indirect Primary mode to nominate it’s Senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly candidates in Kogi State and we won massively. The same will happen on November 16,” he added. Dear Esteemed reader, As part of our drive to keep improving the content of our newspaper, we are conducting a readership survey to enable us serve you better. 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