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Crisis Looms In Niger APC Over Planned Substitution Of Candidates

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Following the crises that characterised the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary elections in some parts of the country, the Niger State chapter of the ruling party may be heading for crisis over its planned substitution of candidates for the 2019 elections, competent sources told LEADERSHIP. However, the party’s move to give automatic tickets to incumbent Senators from the state has hit the rock, strong indication emerged at the weekend that the party is worried by the quality of candidates that were returned as the flag bearers in some of the federal and state constituencies of the state during the just concluded primaries. A stakeholders’ meeting, which held in Minna on Friday and was attended by all aspirants who participated in the primaries, agreed that the party must present popular candidates otherwise the party will suffer a devastating defeat from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. LEADERSHIP gathered that the party chieftains led by the governor of the state, Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello were unanimous in their resolve to get their house in order, as that would put the party in a “steady form” ahead of the general generations in 2019. A source at the meeting confided in our reporter that a committee has already been set up to “weigh the strength” of each of the aspirants who participated in the just concluded primaries and come up with a list of candidates that have the clout to make an electoral good show at next year’s polls. It was further learnt that Governor Bello who is the leader of the party in the state, will then approach the national secretariat of the party to ensure that names that will be sent will be of those candidates that can give the party victory. Some of the constituencies were candidates are likely to be replaced are Bida/Gbako/ Katcha Federal Constituency; Edati/Lavun/Mokwa federal constituency; and Lapai /Agaie federal constituency.

Most disturbing among them, according to the source, is Saidu Musa Abdul, who has been given the certificate of return for Bida/Gbako/Katcha federal constituency but whose election was regarded to be a sham; characterised by thuggery, ballots and results snatching as well as manufacturing of figures which were endorsed as the outcome of the election. The source, who does not want his name in print because he was authorised to speak on thhe matter, added that the primary election did not hold in eight out of 10 wards in Gbako local government area of the federal constituency. The wards are: Edokota, Somazhiko,Lemu, Gogata, Nuwankota, Edozhigi, Etsu-Audu and Gbadafu . “Similarly, in Katcha local government, election did not hold in five out of 10 wards: Baddegi, Essa, Bissanti, Kataeregi and Sidi Saba,” he said. Explaining further, he said there was massive violence in many parts of the three local government areas that make up the constituency in spite of the agreement reached by the aspirants signed to ensure a violent-free process. “Elections were cancelled in eight out of 14 wards in Bida local government. Elections did not take place in the remaining six wards, rather figures were manufactured and allocated to the aspirant that is parading himself as the winner of the election,” the source explained. He said there are calls by concerned stakeholders from the federal constituency on the national secretariat and the state executives of APC party to declare the primary election conducted inconclusive and a fresh primary conducted in the federal constituency with neutral people presiding over the process. “We have already called for the disqualification of Saidu Musa Abdul for perpetrating violence during the process which goes contrary to the accord reached by all the aspirants,’’ he said. In Edati/Lavun/Mokwa federal constituency, election didn’t take place there because the a commissioner in the cabinet ‘bulldozed’ her w ay and got those who were sent in to conduct the election to declare her as winner. Also, another credible source within the party noted that he was confident that with the move been made by the Governor Bello, the national secretariat of the party will accede to the popular will of the people to nominate the most popular among the aspirants to flag the party’s flags in the affected constituencies in the upcoming poll. He lamented the vote buying phenomenon which he said has assumed a dimension that makes it the immediate threat to the nation’s democracy. “If we don’t tackle it decisively, our democracy and intended system of governance is in trouble,” he said. He expressed the hope that Governor Bello and party leaders would utilise the window of the appeal panel of the party to ensure that the process is upturned.



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