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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Kogi gov election: APC adopts direct primary

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The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has settled for the direct mode of primary to pick its governorship candidate for the November governorship election in Kogi State.

This was disclosed in an April 6 letter written to the Independent National Electoral Commission by APC’s acting National Chairman, Senator Abubakar Kyari.

The letter partly read, “We refer to our earlier letter, dated January 25, 2023, with Reference no: APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/023/191 wherein we notified the commission of the mode of the primary election for the conduct of the gubernatorial primary election in Kogi State.

“However, our great party, the All Progressives Congress, has reviewed the modalities for the conduct of the gubernatorial primary election in Kogi State and has therefore resorted to adopting the direct mode of the primary election instead of the indirect mode, as earlier communicated.

“The date for the conduct of the primary election still remains Friday, April 14, 2023.

“Following the above, there shall be a special congress to ratify the candidate with the highest number of votes at the gubernatorial primary election in Kogi State scheduled for Saturday, April 15, 2023.”

The race to replace Governor Yahaya Bello gathered momentum in January when his Chief of Staff, Abdulkareem Asuku; Auditor General, Ahmed Ododo, and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Salami Ozigi-Deedat, paid N50m to pick up their nomination and expression of interest forms at the APC national secretariat in Abuja.

Other aspirants in the race include the Chairman of House Committee on Finance and Secretary for the APC Presidential Campaign Council, James Faleke; Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Murtala Ajaka, and the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Smart Adeyemi.

The latest move has got political pundits wondering if Bello would be willing to sacrifice his deputy governor, Edward Onoja, who has never hidden his intention to become the next leader for a candidate in Kogi West for the sake of equity.

Meanwhile, the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, nullified the February 7 ward and local government congresses held by the APC in Kogi State to pick its governorship candidate for the state’s governorship election coming up in November.

The court set aside the congresses on the grounds that they were not conducted in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and the Constitution of the APC.

The suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/329/2023, was filed by a group of aggrieved APC members led by one Realwan Okpanachi.

Apart from Okpanachi, other plaintiffs are Yahaya Nuhu, Omaonu Arome, Mustapha Idoko, Aku Goodman, and Abu Onechiojo.

Listed as defendants were the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Counsel for the plaintiffs, Ogwu Onoja (SAN), had argued that the APC breached Section 84 of the Electoral Act and Section 13 of the APC Constitution in the compilation of the delegates’ list submitted to INEC.

The court in a judgment on Wednesday by Justice James Omotosho barred INEC from recognising or acting on the delegates’ list.

The judge noted that the APC failed to disclose the venues and times when the purported ward and LGA congresses were held and also failed to report to the INEC officials that purportedly monitored the elections.

Justice Omotosho observed that the major document put before the court to justify the conduct of the February 7 congresses, did not contain a single name of any human being but only had “signatures of imaginary participants at the purported congresses.”

Thus, the judge said the exhibit was worthless and ran afoul of Section 133 of the Evidence Act.

He nullified the congresses and ordered that fresh ones be conducted in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and the APC constitution.

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