No fewer than 37 governorship aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Thursday declared support for the adoption of indirect system primaries to nominate the party’s candidate for the November 16 governorship election in Kogi state.
This just as another group of 20 aspirants Monday rejected the indirect primaries as adopted by the National Working Committee (NWC) of APC and opted for direct method of nomination.
They however dismissed insinuations that they were being sponsored by Governor Yahaya Bello and would step down for him close to the primaries.
“He begging us to step down is a joke. We are waiting for the day of primaries, maybe he is the only one that has picked form first. The other 22 aspirants that are in opposition to indirect primaries none have picked forms. Let’s wait we still have time in the next three weeks to put resources together you will know who is contesting primaries”, the aspirants stressed.
At a press conference in Abuja after a petition to the National Executive Committee of the APC and other organs, convener of the forum and one of the governorship aspirants, Edime Amade, said some of the earlier groups that petitioned against the indirect primaries were non-APC members.
According to him, APC Kogi State had grown from less than 100,000 members in 2015 to over 500,000 in 2019 and it would take too much time, money and logistics to produce a clean and uncontested membership register between now and August 29, 2019.
Amade said that “even if that impossible feat is achieved, we simply cannot organise trouble-free Direct Primaries for at least half a million people. Anybody can obtain our party card from anywhere and cause legal trouble.
“In fact, we have proof that in anticipation of their success in moving the NWC to adopt direct primaries, some of the aspirants who turned up here last Monday have started printing hundreds of thousands of APC Kogi membership cards. They are also compiling rival membership registers in a bid to make sure the confusion is complete. We, therefore, state categorically that there are no factions in Kogi APC and no rival claimants to the leadership of it,” he said.
“We totally reject anything which will throw our party into chaos on the eve of a major election, especially the imposition of Direct Primaries. Direct Primaries are responsible for the loss of Rivers and Zamfara States to the APC. The confusion which will trail any imposition of Direct Primaries in Kogi State will lead to the loss of our state too. The troubles which will follow such an imposition will persist until all the INEC windows close and the courts are given reason to rule that the APC did not hold any valid Primaries. We will fight against this outcome with all our strength.
The forum called on those supporting direct primary to have a rethink, noting: “While we agree that every qualified person is free to aspire to be our flag-bearer, we insist that all aspirants must play by the rules, not seek to change them to scatter the party.
“It is on record that in 2015, the incumbent Governor was not in control of the party or the delegates yet he subjected himself to the indirect primaries and because we knew him and what he had sacrificed for the party, he beat 25 other Aspirants to close second behind the late Prince Abubakar Audu. Similarly, every true aspirant should go and start networking the delegates and stop scandalising the party at every turn,” the forum added.