Ahead of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primaries preparatory to the November 16, 2019, Kogi gubernatorial polls, there are strong
indications that Adams Oshiomhole, APC national chairman and governors on the platform of the party are heading for another collision course.
It was also gathered that the progressive governors have declared support for their colleague, Governor Yahaya Bello who may not be a favourable candidate to clinch the party’s return ticket if per chance Oshiomole’s plan to adopt direct mode of primary election is implemented. This is the crux of the matter.
Bello is not having an easy cruise to the party’s governorship ticket as at least 14 aspirants have indicated interest for the same ticket. These include, a former president of the Nigeria Football Federation, Sani Lulu, Salihu Atawodi (retired Air Vice Marshall), Toyin Akanle, former State
Director of Department of State Services; Seidu Mohammed Ogah, former Chief of Naval Staff; Usman Jubril as well as Mohammed and Yahaya Audu, sons of the late two-term governor of the state, Prince Abubakar Audu.
Others are former military administrator of Oyo and Ondo states, Ahmed Usman; former commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources in the
state, Tim Diche, Babatunde Irukera, Director General, Consumer Protection Council, George Olumoroti, James Faleke, member of the House of
Representatives and Jubrin Echocho, senator representing Kogi East.
All these aspirants based their arguments on Bello’s alleged abysmal performance in office evident in non-payment of salaries of civil servants, pension and gratuities of retirees, insecurity and absence of infrastructural project embarked upon by the governor and the fear of APC losing the state if he is fielded in the upcoming governorship election.
Recently, a body known as APC Aspirants’ Forum, Kogi Chapter rejected the candidature of Bello for a second term in office over alleged bad leadership and non-performance and appealed to Oshiomhole and APC National Working Committee (NWC) not to give the governorship ticket to him.
The Forum stressed that giving the ticket to Bello to run for a second term would be a risk, as the party may lose the state to the opposition, adding
that he had remained adamant in spite of directives by President Muhammadu Buhari to all APC governors to reconcile and accommodate the party’s aspirants after the last primaries.
In a communiqué they released, they alleged that Bello had continued to treat Kogi aspirants as enemies and second class citizens in the party they labored for and the forum had therefore, resolved to mobilise and support one of its members to contest the forthcoming primaries and the subsequent governorship election slated for November.
At the end of the deliberations, Yahaya Audu was unanimously endorsed to contest the forthcoming Kogi Governorship Election.
This is just as several groups have protested to the National Secretariat of APC, calling on the party’s leadership not to give governorship ticket to Bello.
One of such groups was the Kogi Rescue Mission which in its protest letter to the national leadership of APC highlighted various anti-people activities of the state government, ranging from suicidal deaths amongst the state civil servants whose salaries have not been paid for many months, misuse of state resources, hunger and perceived molestation of people not in support of the present administration in the state.
“Salaries of civil servants for November and 60percent of December, 2017 are yet to be paid, this is despite receiving N20 billion as bailout funds, over N21 billion from the Paris Club refund and money from the monthly federal allocations as well as the internally generated revenue.
“As a result of nonpayment of salaries, about three civil servants took their own lives because of their inability to meet up with their family needs,
while over a hundred have died due to lack of funds to continue treatment”, the protest letter stated.
Some members of the State Executive Committee of the APC in Kogi State have also denied reports suggesting that the party had endorsed Governor Bello as the party’s candidate for the November 16 governorship election.
James Kwen, Abuja