Temidayo Akinsuyi, Lagos
Ahead of the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State, the decision of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to adopt the indirect form of primaries to select the party’s candidate in August may pitch it against the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), Daily Independent has gathered.
The party at the weekend adopted the indirect or delegates method, saying there was no need to change the pattern since the party achieved great success with it during the last general elections in the state where it won two out of three Senate seats, seven out of nine House of Representatives seats, and all the 25 seats in the state’s House of Assembly.
Sources in the party said the NWC, led by Adams Oshiomhole, the party’s national chairman, is opposed to the indirect primaries method where only selected delegates are allowed to determine who flies the party’s flag in the election.
Our source, who is a member of the NWC from the North-Central geo-political zone, said while the Kogi APC may have taken its decision on indirect primaries, the NWC, led by Oshiomhole, was rooting for direct primaries which would allow all party members in the state determine the party’s flag bearer.
This, according to him, “has given power to the electorate and is not as expensive as the delegates’ method which the Kogi APC is rooting for.”
According to him, that was the method adopted by the party in the last general elections leading to its victory in the presidential election and majority seats in the National Assembly elections.
He also said the state chapter of the party was currently divided into two factions: the one loyal to the state governor, Yahaya Bello, led by Abdullahi Bello, while the other is led by Hadi Ametuo.
The source said: “The party is currently divided into two factions. While the Abdullahi Bello executive committee parades itself as the authentic leadership of the party in the state, the Hadi Ametuo executive committee is in court challenging the legitimacy of the other group.
“I believe the NWC will have the final say on what manner of primaries that should be adopted for the Kogi and Bayelsa elections.”
The NWC, led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, believes in the direct primaries method where all card-carrying party members are freely allowed to determine who they want as their candidate.
“It believes that aside returning power to the people, the method is cheaper and less expensive as against the indirect primaries where some delegates are handpicked and financially induced to select candidates. At the end of the day, their choice will not go down well with the party members and they end up revolting on election day.”
Speaking on the development, Prince Mohammed Audu, a chieftain of the party in the state, said only the national leadership of the party could decide the method of primaries to be adopted.
Audu, who is the son of the late Prince Abubakar Audu, said the Kogi State chapter of the APC could not take the decision since it was factionalised.
He said: “Where there is a faction, it’s the prerogative of the party’s national headquarters for it to be equitable. A state faction cannot decide that.”
However, in his response, Kingsley Fanwo, Director General of Media and Publicity to the governor, denied the existence of any faction in the state chapter, saying Kogi APC was united.
“As far as I know, there are no factions in the Kogi State chapter of the All Progressives Congress. Congresses were held from the ward level to the state level.
“True party members participated and the National Working Committee of the party supervised and certified those congresses.
“Executives that emerged from the congresses are the leaders of the party.
“Anyone saying he doesn’t accept those party structures is only trying to undermine the constituted authorities of the party. Where were these people when we had our congresses?
“Where were these people when we delivered to the party in the general elections? They were working against the party.
“So, we are not really giving them attention because we are focused on ensuring APC retains Kogi State.
“I am a member of the party and I am aware APC Kogi is one united family. There are no factions”, he said.
When Daily Independent contacted Lanre Issa-Onilu, the national publicity secretary of the party, he said the national leadership of the party was yet to make any pronouncement on Kogi election.
“That is what Kogi APC said. We have not done anything on Kogi. So, there is nothing for me to say now.”
When asked if the NWC would take a position on the method of primaries, he said: “I don’t know yet”.