Strategic Ambush Tears Kogi APC Apart
OpenLife Nigeria has gathered that in Kogi State, a tactical ambush, aimed at gaining upper hand in the next governorship election has widen the All Progressives Congress, APC gulf between Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the party and Yahaya Bello, the governor of the State.
Kogi State 2023 gubernatorial election is fixed to hold on 11 November to elect Governor Yahaya Bello’s successor.
Expectedly, Bello is interested in having the final say on his successor. In like manner, Bola Tinubu who had funded the APC guber election in 2015 ostensibly for his loyalist, Honourable James Faleke, who was then a running mate to late Abubakar Audu, has not lost interest in planting his trusted ally in the Lugard Government House in Lokoja.
This conflict of interests filtered into the public space mid January wherein it was reported that governor Yahaya Bello may have tactically withdrawn support for his party standard-bearer, Senator Bola Tinubu.
The governor’s stance, according to the report, was informed by permutations in the North-Central State ahead of November governorship election.
According to the story, governor Bello, who incidentally is the National Youth Coordinator of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, has developed apprehension towards a Tinubu presidency as a result of feelers reaching him that the lawmaker representing Ikeja Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and Secretary of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Honourable James Faleke, may throw his hat into the ring for the APC governorship ticket in the state.
Governor Bello’s confidants were said to have cautioned him to review his open support for Tinubu, whom they noted would be holding the yam and the knife on who gets what in the party if he wins the February 25 presidential race.
Those in the know have also stated that Bello is not favourably disposed to power shift to Kogi West where Honourable Faleke comes from. The governor is said to have given his word to the incumbent Accountant General in the state, Jubril Mommoh, who is from Kogi East, as his anointed choice.
Reacting , APC in Kogi State dismissed the rumour, saying it is false.
In a statement, Felix Morka, APC spokesperson, described the report as “A figment of the imagination of its author and sponsors. Yahaya Bello, who serves as the national youth coordinator of the Tinubu-Shettima presidential campaign council, is a solid, resourceful and committed campaigner for our party’s candidate, leading a massively successful outreach to youth voters across the country.
“This fake news, ostensibly intended to float an imagined rift between Yahaya Bello and James Faleke, secretary of the APC presidential campaign council, is the desperate and disgraceful conjecture of opposition elements unsettled by our party’s giant campaign strides.
“Both loyal party men are unquestionably committed and working tirelessly for the resounding victory of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in next month’s presidential election.
“We urge our party compatriots and all Nigerians to disregard this fake news,” Morka said.
However, despite the strident attempts to cover up the cold war, matters got to a head on Tuesday, 7 February, 2023 when the decision of APC to hold Adhoc delegates’ Congress has thrown the party into disarray.
The National Secretariat of the APC had Friday, 3 February, 2023 announced the composition of the Electoral Panel headed by one Lawan Samaila Abdullahi to conduct the primary election to pick adhoc delegates that will vote to elect a gubernatorial candidate for the party during the Saturday, 8 April, 2023 governorship primary election.
But the decision has not gone down well with some members of the party who wondered why the party would pick this time when campaigns for the various offices at the state and national levels are in top gear for such an exercise.
A chieftain of the party from Okene, Alhaji Ahmed Oiza who fumed at the decision told journalists in Lokoja that those behind the decision do not mean well for the party.
“Why the haste to elect adhoc delegates? We still have until late March to do the Congress so why must we be distracted from the campaigns going on at the moment. Even our party’s constitution is very clear on the time frame within which to conduct adhoc delegates congresses. Let me ask a pertinent question, gentlemen of the press. Why are Imo and Bayelsa States not also holding their congresses on the same February 7? Why Kogi? Why distract us?”, he declared.
Already, media reports have indicated that different groups in the party are already warming up for protests to the National Headquarters of the party in Abuja beginning from Monday, 6 February, 2023 on the need to move the congress till March so as to allow members concentrate especially on the presidential campaign going on across the country.
Alhaji Oiza summed up the situation this way:
“This is simply a political ambush aimed at favouring a particular candidate and must be resisted by all concerned.”