By Michael Olugbode, in Maiduguri
A defeated Borno North senatorial aspirant, Hajiya Fati Kakenna has expressed readiness to drag the All Progressives Congress (APC) and her opponent Senator Abubakar Kyari to court over the manipulation of the primary in her senatorial zone.
She noted that it was illegal and against the APC guidelines for an aspirant who was not screened to find his name on the ballot paper and subsequently be manipulated to win a primary.
She said it was “criminal” for the name of Abubakar Kyari to be slotted on the ballot when he contested and lost the gubernatorial primary in the state, less than five days earlier.
She complained that the governor of the state, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, was involved in the injustice and criminality as he pressured all other aspirants to step down for his anointed Senator Abubakar Kyari. She said the three bonafide aspirants were pressured to step down for Kyari, but she stood her ground.
Speaking to journalists on the primary, Kakenna said she was surprised to see the name of Kyari on the ballot paper but was further amazed to be told after vote had been conducted in three local governments of the 10 in Borno North that the other seven had to wait for ballot papers from Abuja as the initial papers had been exhausted.
She said: “We were three Senatorial aspirants that purchased and were screened by NWC of our party, so it was shocking to me when I saw Senator Abu Kyari’s name on the ballot papers because I knew he contested governorship election and lost.
“But, I found out that he purchased two forms, governorship and Senatorial but only submitted governorship and never went for the screening for senatorial aspirants, nor submit the form.
“I was shocked and surprised when I saw him when they called all the Senatorial aspirants with House of Representatives aspirants into state APC Chairman’s office and addressed us.
She said the election was manipulated to favour Kyari but “I am demanding that we must all be given equal treatment, if someone that contested governorship election three days ago without being part of Senatorial screening is now contesting for the Senate, then something is fundamentally wrong and this must not be allowed.
“As a matter of urgency I am calling on National Chairman of our great party and Women leader of APC to reject any manipulation.”
She said if nothing was done to address the injustice, she may be heading to court for redress.
Responding to the allegation that he was not screened for the election, Kyari said the inquiry should be for the party and not him.
He said: “If I was not screened my name would not have been on the ballot papers.”
He added that the senatorial election was the only one he contested as he withdrew from the gubernatorial primary before it even began.