The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday said there will be no preferential treatment for any aspirant seeking to contest the Kogi and Bayelsa states governorship elections on the party’s platform.
The incumbent governor of Kogi, Yahaya Bello, is seeking return to office but he will do battle with some formidable aspirants such as Mona Mustapha, son of the late Prince Abubakar Audu; Sani Lulu, a former President of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), former Commissioner for Agriculture in the Kogi, Tim Diche, among others.
A source had told Daily Independent on Monday that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC will meet and throw its support behind one of the aspirants for the governorship position.
“The APC NWC will meet and take a position on the issue. They will likely endorse a candidate whom they believe is qualified to lead the state. I believe it will be a two-horse race between Yahaya Bello and Mustapha, son of the late Audu”, the source said in a text message.
However, speaking with Daily Independent, Yekini Nabena, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, said the party will not favour any aspirant over another and will ensure there is a level-playing field for all aspirants seeking to contest the governorship election under its platform.
He said the party will do everything possible not to allow what happened last week when the Supreme Court voided the votes scored by it and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) became the beneficiary.
“The party will not endorse any aspirant not only in Kogi but Bayelsa. The APC is a law-abiding party that adheres to the constitution. We all saw what happened in Zamfara and we don’t want that to happen again.
“We need to strengthen our internal democracy and endorsing any aspirant or imposition of candidate is not a good way. The APC NWC under the leadership of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is a law-abiding party and we will give all aspirants a level-playing field”.
Also on Monday, Governor Yahaya Bello said he is not in any way threatened by some aspirants who have ganged up against him to ensure he does not get the APC’s ticket.
It would be recalled that the APC Aspirants’ Forum, Kogi chapter, had last week rejected the candidature of Yahaya Bello for a second term in office over alleged bad leadership and non-performance.
The aspirants in a communique issued by the forum at the end of its meeting on Monday in Abuja which was signed by its chairman, Ben Adaji, appealed to Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman of APC and its National Working Committee (NWC) not to give the governorship ticket to Bello.
It added that giving the ticket to Bello to run for a second term would be a risk, saying the party may lose the state to the opposition.
It said Bello had remained adamant in spite directives by President Muhammadu Buhari to all APC governors to reconcile and accommodate the party’s aspirants after the last primaries.
However, reacting to the forum’s demands, Kingsley Fanwo, Director-General, Media and Publicity to the governor, said none of the aspirants have been part of APC meeting since 2015 while the governor has singlehandedly carried the party, resulting in the almost hundred percent victory recorded by the APC in the just concluded general elections in Kogi.
“None of them has been part of any APC meeting since 2015. None of them participated in our ward, LG and state congresses. None of them participated in the national conventions. We respect their rights to contest but we are not threatened in anyway.
“Governor Bello has been carrying the party since 2015. The sheep know their shepherd and the shepherd knows his sheep. When we get to the bridge, we shall cross it. Bello will win a second term”, he said.