Some concerned members in the Kogi State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have cautioned the national leadership of the party to pull the brakes on process of picking the APC candidate for the governorship poll coming up later in the year.
The members, under the auspices of Kogi APC Integrity Group (KAIG), warned of the consequences of the Adhoc panel allegedly raised for a delegate congress for governorship primary election billed for Tuesday, 7 February, 2023.
It was learnt that national secretariat of the APC had on Friday, 3 February, 2023 announced the composition of an Electoral Panel under the chairmanship of Lawan Samaila Abdullahi, to conduct the primary and pick adhoc delegates that will vote to elect the party’s standard bearer on April 8.
Kicking against the move, KAIG, in a statement by its Coordinator, Ahmed Otaru, urged leaders of the party not to plunge the local chapter of the APC into needless crisis at this critical time.
The statement reads: “The decision has not gone down well with genuine members of the party. The INEC timetable sets March-April for activities leading to the Primary election in Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi States, but these people are flagrantly trying to circumvent the INEC timetable by hastily conducting a kangaroo adhoc delegates primaries in February. Again, why would the party plan a congress at a time the campaigns for the various offices are in top gear? Why the haste to plunge the party into needless crisis?
“Those advising the national leadership of the party to take such a decision at variance with INEC guideline are simply enemies of our party. They do not mean well for the party.”
Besides, the group queried the haste and the isolation of Kogi from Imo and Bayelsa states by planning to conduct a delegates congress for Indirect Primaries there whereas Imo and Bayelsa are to undergo direct primaries. Why Indirect primaries in Kogi and not direct like Imo and Bayelsa States?
The only reason one could fathom for this decision into which the National leadership of APC is inexplicably soiling its hands is the deployment of filthy lucre to enable the Governor of the state, Yahaya Bello, push through his already handpicked delegates list which will be a recipe for unprecedented crisis in the party.
“We want to make it abundantly clear that the party is not owned by an individual but all members and on this decision to railroad Kogi into Indirect primaries, we are saying NO! We are for direct primaries as planned for Imo and Bayelsa. And we are going to fight this to the very last.
“We still have until April to do any congress even if we have to. So, why must we be distracted this early?
“The INEC guideline is very clear on the time frame within which to conduct Adhoc delegates congresses. The Electoral umpire says March/April, why would the party flout the guideline? Isolating Kogi from Imo and Bayelsa is suspicious. We don’t know what this distraction Is all about at all. It is unwarranted and should be dropped. The Governor is simply working towards the party losing the governorship election if he remains obstinate by not allowing a free and fair primaries. We are calling on him to have a rethink by adhering to due process, especially the INEC guidelines”.
The group warned of the consequences of a disunited party going into a governorship election, saying it is a recipe for failure.
“We must ensure we go into the election as one family as there is no more room for ballot snatching with the BVAS revolution. The governor must thread with caution!”