Thirty-seven All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirants have endorsed the use of indirect primary election for the selection of the party’s standard bearer in the November 16, 2019 Kogi State governorship poll.
The aspirants made the request in a letter they wrote to the APC National Executive Council (NEC) and the National Working Committee (NWC).
They said that as stakeholders in the party primaries, the indirect mode was the most suitable for the contest in Kogi because of time and the huge resources required to conduct direct primaries.
In the letter, which the aspirants read to journalists yesterday at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja, they said that they came out to make the demand because their silence on the indirect primaries controversy was no longer golden, given recent developments in the Kogi chapter of the party.
According to them, each of the aspirants is a known loyalist of the APC in the state and their party membership and active support was not in doubt even to non-APC members in Kogi.
The spokesperson of the group and a governorship aspirant, Comrade Edima Amade, who read the letter, stated that they had taken the difficult decision to be quiet about their various ambitions to avoid a “cacophony of aspirations which might jeopardise the cohesion that is needed to sustain the party’s winning streak in Kogi State.”
Amade said that they were taken aback by the events of the last couple of weeks and in particular those of last Monday when the NWC was visited by a group of persons who are unknown to Kogi APC
He claimed that none “these persons who claimed to be leaders and aspirants under the party could not be identified by the NWC as participant in any programmes held by APC Kogi since 2015 but were yet hosted in the hallowed chambers of our National Secretariat and granted audience.”
The aspirants alleged that they were shocked to see that some of the individuals who came to the party’s secretariat under the guise of aspirants seeking the party’s ticket were openly working for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) up to the last round of the 2019 general elections.
Comrade Amade points out that it is also clear to everybody who are on ground in Kogi that the real aim of their so-called aspirations is to destabilise the party from within as it goes into the 2019 governorship elections.
He said that their pretence to be aspirants was the latest weapon in the arsenal they have consistently attacked the party with, emphasising that it was on record that since the emergence of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as governor, the APC had suffered court cases, media attacks, ethnic sentiments, religious bias, and even violence.
The aspirants said that these were all the doings of members of the opposition who had disguised themselves as aspirants and urged the NWC not to allow them to pull the wool over its eyes at this critical moment.
He stressed that historically, the APC in Kogi had always adopted indirect primaries and it had always worked well for her as he recalled that in 2015, indirect primaries produced the late Prince Abubakar Audu for the race, which the party won.
Amade stated that in 2019, indirect primaries gave the party two of the three senators, seven of the nine House of Representatives’ members and all the 25 members of the House of Assembly, adding that the party stakeholders were not willing to change the winning formula so late in the game.
The aspirants noted that the last the party did anything closest to direct primaries was during the recall exercise on the senator for Kogi West who decamped to the opposition PDP, stressing that it ended up as a failed outing and as such those suggesting a similar mode should be suspected.
He said that the so-called aspirants contrary to the clear and express directive of the NEC and NWC which approved and reaffirmed indirect primaries for Kogi APC based on the party guidelines, attempted to dictate direct primaries for the party and its leadership.
Amade affirmed that “these men have become the arrowheads of a demonic plot to push the APC into costly mistakes which will cost her the November election and hand over to the opposition, declaring that they would not allow such to happen.
The aspirant said that it was based on such circumstances that “we considered themselves at liberty to also pursue our legitimate aspirations to fly the APC flag in the 2019 Kogi State gubernatorial election.”
He opined that if known opposition figures could walk into the APC, built under the leadership of Governor Bello and were dictating the terms because they had given themselves the title of aspirants, then “we too saw no reason to hold back our ambitions in the name of party cohesion.
“We should all pick their forms, go to the field and let the delegates decide who flies the flag of the party come November 16.
“The difference is that as young and loyal aspirants we stand unshakably for the indirect primaries earlier approved for us by our party and neither the NEC nor even the NWC has issued a contrary directive to any state branch after the adoption and approval of the mode of primaries.
“The Kogi APC of today is vastly different from the same party in 2015 and under Governor Yahaya Bello, APC in Kogi has grown from less than 100,000 members in 2015 to over 500,000 in 2019.
“It will take time, money and logistics to produce a clean and uncontested membership register between now and August 29, 2019 and if that impossible feat is achieved, the party simply cannot organise a trouble-free direct primaries for at least half a million people as anybody can obtain the party card from anywhere and not cause a legal crisis,” he said.
Amade stated that Alhaji Haddy Ametuo, the former APC chairman and Alhaji Abdullahi Bello, the current chairman had since put aside their differences and were working towards the indirect primaries approved by the NWC.
He said that Governor Bello had assured the people of peace before, during and after every election.
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