The All Progressive Congress in Kogi on Wednesday urged the National Working Committee of the party to disqualify some identifiable aspirants seeking the governorship ticket for the November 16 poll on grounds of alleged anti-party activities.
The decision was arrived at by the state executive committee of the party and made available to newsmen in a statement by the party’s State Publicity Secretary, Malam Jibril Abu on Wednesday in Abuja.
Abu gave the names of the alleged violators of the party’s Constitution to include Sen. Alex Kadiri, Vice Adm. Jibrin Usman, Mohammed Audu and Prof. Seidu Ogah.
The publicity secretary said that the recommendation of the above names for disqualification from contesting the governorship primaries hinged on their resolve to join force with a major opposition political party to displace APC in the November 16 election.
Abu had therefore described the persons as moles working for the opposition with the sole aim of destabilizing the party in the state.
He explained that these identified aspirants had continued to run down the image of the party and Gov. Yayaya Bello of the state by trying to force on the party a particular method of primary election to adopt.
He added: “We have fingered Senator Alex Kadiri, Vice Admiral Jibrin Usman, Mohammed Audu, Professor Seidu Mohammed Ogah and others as the nucleus of the alleged subversion plot.
“The party sees the views of the alleged plotters reported in the media on June 18 as part of the script written for them by the highly influenced Kogi East Elders Council.
“The party also discovers that individuals including new entrants who are not yet properly rooted have chosen to dictate terms without recourse to the stance of the party’s leadership.
“Such people would be making a grave mistake if they try to undermine the decision of the state working committee of the party which had since adopted the indirect mode of primary to pick the party’s standard bearer in the state.
“The state executive of the party has found out that the fingered aspirants are apparently on a mission to spoil the chances of the APC in the upcoming election.
“In the circumstance, the state chapter of the party is urging the National Working Committee to immediately disqualify for anti-party activities.
Abu said: “The insistence by few persons that the APC in the state must use direct primaries to choose its governorship candidate, against the indirect method approved for the state by the APC leadership, was an indication that they had ulterior motives.”
The statement reads in parts: “our attention has been drawn to the anti-party activities of some new entrants into the governorship race in our dear state on the platform of our great party, the APC.
It added: “We are aware that these people have been romancing the PDP-dominated Kogi East Elders Council and who are now acting out a script by the PDP aimed at destabilizing our party to make way for a default victory for the opposition PDP.”
Chief Edward Onoja, Chief of Staff to Governor Yahaya Bello in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, said the actions of the identified aspirants were mainly aimed at undermining the governor towered political profile.
Onoja said: “The governor is in pole position to get the ticket to contest the November 16 election and this has angered the PDP-backed few who would eventually become collateral casualties in the process.”
Onoja, who was also the APC’s Director-General of Campaigns for the 2019 General Elections, expressed his belief that the present roles of some who claimed APC today in Kogi merely reflect what people already knew about them for long as disguised opposition.
He said: “Whenever you see the hand of Esau and the voice of Jacob playing out, deceit and theft of another person’s blessing is at work.
“Some of these men are opposition leaders who worked for the PDP up until the General Elections earlier this year.
“They were dismayed by the groundbreaking defeat they received from our party earlier this year. Their idea of a comeback is to invade the APC and try to destroy it from within.
“We are therefore in support of the official move made by the state executive committee of the party asking for their disqualification from the forthcoming governorship primary on glaring anti-party activities.
“Other APC members who attended the meeting in Senator Kadiri’s house are notorious for their disdain for the party in Kogi.
“Their opposition to the governor have shown before now that they are prepared to do anything to pave way for their own gubernatorial ambitions.’
“They want to box the national secretariat of the APC into denying the governor a second term ticket outside due process and the party’s constitution hoping it will lead to an uproar among his teeming supporters.”
Onoja explained that Bello was a loyal party man, adding that he (Bello) had insisted the right things were done.
Also, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello, Kogi State Chairman of APC said the uproar was not unconnected with fears that the governor remained the candidate to beat in the primary.
On whether he thought the fears were justified, he held an edge having built the party from about 50,000 registered members in 2015 to over 500,000 today while leading it to victory in all electoral outings since he came to office.
The chairman, however, said modality had been set for transparent, free and fair governorship primary.
Similarly, Kingsley Fanwo, the Director-General, Media and Publicity to the governor, said the issues had been made clearer by the decision of the state executive of the party.
He said: “We have made our case. If the APC wants to win Kogi, it should put forward a credible and popular candidate.
“At this point, we know that all APC faithful in Kogi are aware that any attempt to field any other candidate apart from Governor Yahaya Bello will spell doom for the party.’’
NAN reports that attempt at getting the reaction of Senator Kadiri and the other aspirants on the allegation proved abortive.