Eight of the governorship aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi state disqualified by the party’s screening committee from contesting the governorship primaries have alleged that the screening process was flawed and deliberately programmed to throw up current governor of the state, Yahaya Bello as the party flag bearer.
The eight aspirants who addressed a joint news conference in Abuja alleged that the appeals panel where they were supposed to take their case to kept them waiting for several hours without attending to them, even when they showed up at the appointed venue.
The eight aspirants are;
√ Hadiza Ibrahim
√ Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi
√ Yakubu Mohammed
√ Mohammed Abubakar Audu
√ General Patrick Akpa
√ Rear Admiral Jubrin Usman
√ Babatunde Irukera
√ Prof. Seidu Onailo
Spokesman of the Babatunde Irukera alleged that they were ambushed as there was no appeal committee to address their case, stressing that the process of announcing their disqualification was also flawed as they only got to hear of it from the social media.
He disclosed that they were informed on Friday in Lokoja that there will be a meeting with the aspirants in Abuja on Monday, adding that they were later informed about the meeting with the Appeals Committee scheduled for 10:am on Monday at Barcelona Hotel in Abuja.
He said rather than the meeting holding, they were kept waiting at the venue for several hours, stressing that both the aspirants and their supporters are currently in a dilemma, not knowing whether their candidate is on the ballot or not.
While warning against a repeat of the Zamfara episode, he said “the handling of the process is wrong. We lost everything in Zamfara as a result of procedural error. We should toe the path of caution and prudence to avoid catastrophic losses.
“There will certainly be unintended consequence because it is difficult to tell the people not to enforce their rights. There are people out there who have aggregated their choice in us, to eliminate those choices from those people is grievous.
“Our primary might be a one horse race. We love our people, we love our people and we want to serve”.
He said further that the fact that they have they were taken aback that what was supposed to be an internal matter was exposed to the press, saying “my strict interpretation of cleared or not cleared means we are still on the highway.
“In the absence of that we are determined to challenge the party in court. Leaving the APC isn’t an option. I don’t have intention of going anywhere else, because there is no credible alternative.
“The August primary is compromised. Even if the clearance comes tomorrow morning, the momentum is lost. Every aspirant, every delegate is a potential plaintiff, and there is no way people won’t seek redress.
“The action might not be from any of the aspirants but party delegates. The option open to APC is to reverse itself. It shouldn’t narrow the process by disenfranchising people”
On his part, Yakubu Mohammed said “what I found strange is the campaign by the chairman of the committee to campaign for the sitting governor. If they have made up their minds, why waste our time.
“As an incumbent, he deserves a second term but that depends on performance and his empathy with the people. This man is owing salary and I wonder why we are blessed with a man like that. Internal democracy and party supremacy is in jeopardy here. It will amount to naivety to assume that because APC won presidential election, it will retain Kogi with Yahaya Bello.”