—–Just As Kogi East Elders Council, KEEC, pruned the number of aspirants from the zone
Members and stakeholders of the ruling All Progressives Congees (APC) in Kogi State are presently divided over the mode of primary to be adopted in picking the party’s flag bearer of the party in Kogi State.
While supporters of Governor Yahaya Bello, who is seeking a second term in office and some others, are rooting for indirect primaries, those opposed to his re-election, including members of the APC Justice Forum, have called on the national leadership of the party to allow for direct primary in deciding who picks the Kogi APC governorship ticket.
Bello, on his part, appeared unperturbed on the mode of the primary, saying he is sure of victory irrespective of the shadow election method adopted.
Some aggrieved party elders have however vowed to stop him.
The Kogi APC loyal to the governor on Saturday said that it has adopted indirect primaries for conduct of its primaries for the governorship election.
While the Kogi APC primary is billed to hold in August, the governorship poll has been fixed for 16 November, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The leadership of the Kogi APC adopted the indirect primary at the stakeholders’ meeting at the party’s secretariat in Lokoja.
The resolution followed a motion by the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Prince Matthew Kolawole.
Members of the Justice Forum and Governor Bello’s DG Campaign (2015), Dr Yakubu Ogwalawo, at an outing on Saturday in Ankpa, however, denounced Bello.
They called on Abuja to ensure an acceptable candidate emerge through direct primary.
Present at the sensitisation for APC governorship aspirants from the Kogi East Senatorial district are: Mona Audu, Yusuf Ali, Usman Maiyanga, Sani Lulu and the representatives of Jubril Usman, a former Chief of Naval Staff and Kogi APC gov aspirant.
Convener of the APC Justice Forum, Mr. Goodman Akwu demanded for direct primary, asserting that Bello must not be “allowed to handpick delegates that will, in turn, return him as candidate”.
Meanwhile, Kogi East Elders Council, KEEC, has pruned the number of aspirants from the zone for the November 16 governorship election in the state from 40 to six.
The Elders council, which made this known after publishing the result of their screening of the aspirants weekend, said their decision was in a bid to reduce acrimony and brighten the chances of one of their own to win the Kogi governorship seat.
According to the result of the screening signed by nineteen selected leaders from Kogi East, one aspirant each was chosen to contest on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and All Progressives Congress, APC, tickets in each of the three federal constituencies of the senatorial district.
Prince Mohammed Audu, son of a former governor of the state, late Prince Abubakar Audu, was endorsed for the APC ticket in Idah Federal constituency; Prof. Seidu Ogah (Ankpa) and former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Jibrin Usman for Dekina/Bassa.
For the PDP, the elders anointed former President, Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Dr. Idris Omede (Dekina/Bassa), Dr. Joseph Ameh (Ankpa) and Elder Ubolo Okpanachi (Idah).
With this development, immediate Governor Idris Wada and son of former Governor Ibrahim Idris, Abubakar Idris were dropped. The screening committee, headed by former deputy governor of old Benue State, Sule Iyaji, has representatives from each of the nine local governments in Kogi East, women groups, Ukomu Igala, Igala Cultural Development Association, ICD, Ojuju Agbadufu and two representatives each from both PDP and APC.
However, reaction has trailed the Elders’ resolution, with son of former Governor Ibrahim Idris, Abubakar Idris, rejecting the elders council decisions.
But a socio -cultural group, Igala Vanguard, called on the aspirants to embrace the decision of KEEC in the interest of the state.
Spokesman of Igala Vanguard, Engr. Akpa Lawrence, passed a vote of confidence on the decision of KEEC to trim down the large number of governorship aspirants.
Akpa stated: “The resolution of KEEC will ensure good leadership and progress of the area. We advise other strong contenders from the two main political parties to abide by the decision of the Elders Council as they have earlier pledged to do in order to avoid needless acrimony.
“With bad governance and leadership ineptitude staring Kogi State in the face, it is imperative to succumb to the patriotic arrangement and outcome of the Kogi East elders.’’
“We call on opinion leaders, stakeholders and top political gladiators to prevail on the multiple aspirants to sheath their swords in the interest of Kogi East so as to attract more development and new leadership in the state.
“It will be a disservice to the people of Igala nation and the entire state to go against the decision of such a highly respected body.
“We appealed to other contestants for the Kogi top job to be mindful of the selfless nature of their ambitions and not to allow personal decisions override that of the public interest.