A concerned group of the All Progressives Congress (APC) also known as Integrity Forum has accused Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State of using underhand tactics to jeopardise the party’s primaries of the House of Representatives in the state.
The group revealed that the same tactic was used during the last cycle of elections three years ago, when the delegates had their right to choose a candidate but they were stampeded.
The House of Representatives primaries are expected to hold in some federal constituencies in the state tomorrow, Saturday.
Governor Bello had on Wednesday hosted a stakeholders’ meeting at the Ladi Kwali Hall of Sheraton Hotel in Abuja where he allegedly presented a unity list of the supposed candidates of the party.
He had said he was going to send the State Chairman, Hon. Abdullahi Bello, to all aspirants on the final decision taken by the party leadership.
The governor was quoted as telling the stakeholders that the APC could not afford to go into primary elections for the Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly without consideration for consensus.
The Integrity Forum in a statement by its spokesperson, Daniel Oche, alerted the national chairman and the leadership of the APC led by Senator Adamu Abdullahi to take note of the antics of Bello through the state chairman of the party.
The group urged Adamu to call the governor to order immediately.
It also urged security agencies to intervene, especially the Nigerian police, the Department of State Services, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and the military, stressing that the lives and safety of all other aspirants, their supporters, party faithful, and delegates must be guaranteed and protected.
“It is important to note that actions that undermine the judicious process of elections is against the tenets of democracy as the delegates should be allowed to elect a candidate (s) of their choice so as to have worthy and generally acceptable candidates to fly the flag of the party at the state and national level,” the statement read.
“The State Chairman, Abdullahi Bello, all the political appointees as well as Executive Chairmen of the Local Governments who were to lead the delegates to the venues of the primaries should be cautioned to allow the delegates to vote for the aspirants of their choice.
“Kogi State should lead by example because the Executive Governor of the state, Alhaji Yahya Bello who is also aspiring to be a president of the nation and has insisted on party primaries either by direct or indirect. He should caution the State Chairman to do the right thing in strict compliance with the tenets of democracy where justice, equity and fairness is allowed to reign.”
Speaking exclusively to SaharaReporters, one of the aspirants said the governor should allow the delegates to take their destiny in their hands.
He urged the APC National Chairman to call Bello to order in order not to cause disharmony in the state and disrupt the peaceful atmosphere the party had been enjoying.
“Our chairman should call Governor Bello, a presidential aspirant for that matter to order over his act of impunity and gross abuse of power, and direct him to withdraw his unity list which is capable of causing serious disaffection within the party.”