Audu, Aganaba urge direct primaries for Kogi, Bayelsa guber polls
Two gubernatorial aspirants on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mohammed Abubakar Audu and Preye Aganaba yesterday urged the party to adopt the direct primary mode to select its candidates for the November 16 Kogi and Bayelsa States’ governorship polls. Audu and Aganaba, who spoke in separate interviews with reporters shortly after submitting their expression of interest and nomination forms at APC national Secretariat in Abuja, said the use of direct primary method would produce credible candidates to win the elections.
Audu, the son of a former governor of the state, Prince Abubakar Audu, accused the incumbent, Governor Yahaya Bello, of plotting to use intimidation to cow opponents and manipulate the primaries in his favour. He warned APC National Working Committee (NWC) against the use of indirect primary since it is not acceptable to the party stalwarts in Kogi State, even as he expressed fears that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may cash in on the ensuing crises from indirect primary.
While expressing optimism that he would defeat the incumbent if the primary is held under a fair and transparent atmosphere, Aude declared: “We are very happy that the party leadership is giving consideration to various modes of primaries. What we want is a free and fair process and the outcome of the poll will be swift and decisive in November. I promise you that by 12 mid-day November 16, PDP would have known its fate. Anything to the contrary would happen in the same regard.
“If people are not happy with the process, then they would do otherwise. PDP is praying to use APC against APC. Otherwise, APC is unbeatable. If you allow our people a free and fair process, all of us will support that process. A free and fair process will definitely not produce Bello.
“If we go into the indirect primaries, we might end up with the court nullifying everything in view of the fact that a particular set of executive members of the party in the state cannot conduct the primaries. To deepen internal democracy, we must allow a direct primary process. Where every card-carrying member would determine its outcome.”
On his part, Aganaba contended that direct primary would clear every doubt, saying that he decided to contest the governorship out of his confidence that the party would conduct free and fair primary election.He said he was out to redefine the business of governance in Bayelsa State, stressing, “I think it is left for the NWC to decide, but whatever mode they choose we will accept. But most of our members want to participate in the primaries. But direct primary will clear anyone’s doubt.”
While reacting to the issue of power rotation, Aganaba said it was the turn of Bayelsa Central to produce the next governor, adding: “It is the turn of Bayelsa Central Senatorial District to produce the governor. Power has moved to West and East. Power is coming to Bayelsa Central and nobody or no party can fight that, though that’s not why I’m running but I’m contesting because I’m the best candidate to govern the state.
“Bayelsa State capital remains a slum. Bayelsa needs APC more than APC needs Bayelsa.”He said the former Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri, is not a threat to his ambition, noting, “Forget about big names in Abuja. When the chips are down we will know who owns the party. We need somebody who can work with everybody. The reality is that we are on ground; Bayelsans want a fresh face across party lines, someone without baggage.”
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