By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Thirty-seven governorship aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have expressed support for the use of indirect system for the forthcoming primary election scheduled to hold on August 29, 2019 in Kogi State.
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, had last week, approved indirect primary to elect the party’s candidate for the forthcoming Kogi governorship election, though it has since created ripples within the state chapter of the party.
A group of 20 governorship aspirants had on Monday rejected the indirect primary adopted by the NWC of the party.
But while addressing journalists at the party’s national headquarters on Thursday in Abuja after they submitted a letter addressed to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, the convener of the forum and one of the governorship aspirants, Edime Godwin Amade, described the earlier group that kicked against the indirect primary as non-APC members.
The aspirants, who confessed that they are still sourcing for money to buy forms, stressed that despite agreeing with the adoption of indirect primary with Governor Yahaya Bello, they are determined to defeat him at the primary.
He stated: “We totally reject anything which will throw our party into chaos on the eve of a major election, especially the imposition of direct primary. Direct primaries are responsible for the loss of Rivers and Zamfara States to the PDP.
“The confusion, which will trail any imposition of direct primaries in Kogi State, will lead to the loss of our state too. The troubles which will follow such an imposition will persist until all the INEC windows close and the courts are given reason to rule that the APC did not hold any valid primaries. We will fight against this outcome with all our strength.
“APC Kogi State has grown from less than 100,000 members in 2015 to over 500,000 in 2019. It will take too much time, money and logistics to produce a clean and uncontested membership register between now and August 29, 2019.
“Even if that impossible feat is achieved, we simply cannot organise trouble-free direct primaries for at least half a million people. Anybody can obtain our party card from anywhere and cause legal trouble.
“In fact, we have proof that in anticipation of their success in moving the NWC to adopt direct primaries, some of the aspirants who turned up here last Monday have started printing hundreds of thousands of APC Kogi membership cards.
“They are also compiling rival membership registers in a bid to make sure the confusion is complete. We therefore state categorically that there are no factions in Kogi APC and no rival claimants to the leadership of it.”
While calling on those supporting direct primary to have a rethink, the forum noted that it agrees that every qualified person was free to aspire to be the party’s standard-bearer, insisting that all aspirants must play by the rules, not seek to change them to scatter the party.
The aspirants stressed that it was on record that in 2015, the incumbent governor was not in control of the party or the delegates yet he subjected himself to the indirect primary and subsequently defeated 25 other aspirants to come second behind the late Prince Abubakar Audu.
Some of the aspirants include: Adama Idris, Hon. Suleiman Lawal, Murtala Mohammed, Hon. Ibrahim Alhassan, Mr. Bashir Gegu, Hon. Adaji Ainoko, Hon. Ibileke Olutemi, Ilemona Sabo and Irojah Femi among others.