Twenty governorship aspirants in Kogi State, under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) have rejected the indirect primaries adopted by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party for the November 16 gubernatorial poll.
“We categorically reject the indirect primary adopted by our party for Kogi election. We urge the national leadership of the party to set up an Independent Caretaker Management Committee without delay with the sole mandate of providing a level playing ground for a popular direct primary involving all card-carry members in the state,” he aspirants said in a protest letter addressed to the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole which was read by one of them, Muhammed Ali, at a news conference in Abuja on Monday.
Ali said they were at the APC National Secretariat to protest against the decision of the NWC on the adoption of indirect primaries for the selection of the party’s flag bearer for the Nov. 16 governorship poll. He said that the decision taken by NWC was done without adequate consultation with critical stakeholders in the state.
According to him, 20 aspirants have written against the resolution of the NWC adopting indirect primaries for selection of our candidate. Ali recalled that the committee reportedly met on Friday, July 5 and adopted indirect primary election in picking the governorship candidate for the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the State.
“At an emergency meeting of all the governorship aspirants in the State held on Sunday, July 7, 2019, we reviewed the decision of the National Working Committee of the party. We resolved that the adoption of indirect party primaries is inherent with serious negative consequences for the fortune of the party in the State. We regret to observe that such decision was taken without adequate consultation with critical stakeholders of the party in the state. In particular, the governorship aspirants on the platform of the party and other contending groups in the polarized structure of the party in the state,” he said.
According to Ali, the decision to adopt indirect primaries by the NWC is fraught with severe implications.
“First, contrary to the information given to the NWC, there is a suit pending in an Abuja court seeking to determine the authentic executive of the party in the state. We observed that as a party committed to the enthronement of popular democracy, the resort to an indirect primary in the state amounts to a muzzling of the wish of the generality of our party members. As loyal party men, we would not fold our arms and allow our party to suffer huge political loss,” he said.
The rejection of indirect primaries by the 20 Guber candidates followed similar concerns expressed by a group; Concerned Members of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi, which urged the party’s national leadership to ensure a level playing ground for all aspirants for the governorship election by organizing direct primaries.
Jubril Yusuf, Coordinator of the group made the call in Abuja last June when he led some protesters to the party’s national secretariat. He said direct primaries would give the party’s stakeholders in Kogi the opportunity to choose who would pick its ticket in the state election. Yusuf said that the protesters were at the party’s national secretariat to place before the public the plight of the people of Kogi since the assumption of the incumbent governor in office, in February 2016.
“The protest is also to call on men of conscience to put pressure on the party’s leadership to provide a level playing ground for all aspirants for the state governorship election. The living condition in the state is worrisome. Since February 2015, payment of salaries and pensions of Civil Servants had become optional and not a priority. Workers and pensioners in the state are currently being owed many months of unpaid salaries and pensions. It is only when workers are paid that other citizens in the state will be able to sell their goods and services.
“Consequently, the economy of the state is reeling on the ground, many businesses have folded and potential investors have been avoiding the state like a plague. Virtually all the indices about the state are negative,” Yusuf said.
According to him, most of the state’s Civil Servants now borrow money to pay school fees of their children, pay medical bills when necessary, and pay for their house rents. Yusuf alleged that the present administration in the state has not been able to commence and complete one project for over three years. He noted that the deplorable situation of the state would have been a different narrative if the problem was due to lack of funds.
He maintained that from the bailout fund, Paris refund to statutory allocations from the Federal Government, and its internally generated revenue, the state government was expected to do better to impact the lives of the people.
“As at the end of February this year, that is after 38 months in office, the state government has received at least N344 billion. This covered statutory allocations, internally generated revenue, allocation to Local Government, bailout, Paris club funds as well as refunds on road construction by the previous government,” he said. He added that it was unfortunate that in spite the non-performance of the state governor, he wanted to seek a second term in office, saying that this should not be allowed to happen.