Reports has it that the All Progressive Congress (APC) may have garnered more than N137 million from the sales of expression of interest and nomination forms to aspirants seeking the party’s ticket in the November 21 governorship election in Kogi state.
As momentum gathers for the state governorship primary slated for August 29, APC is set to commence screening of aspirants today, August 10, in Abuja. The sale of the governorship forms began a fortnight ago and ended officially last Friday, August 7, with a total of 27 governorship aspirants showing interest. Each form was sold for N5.5 million.
Of the 27 aspirants who picked the nomination forms, two were women while others were men.
It was also gathered that the amount realised from the sales would have been higher but for the policy of the party which granted women waiver from paying for their nomination forms.
Alhaji Haliru Sani Shuaibu, a party chieftain at the weekend in Abuja, advised party members from the state to go for a credible candidate with good track records of integrity and ability to deliver the state from the present backwardness.
While blaming successive PDP-led administrations in the state for its backwardness, Shuaibu, who hails from the Igala speaking part of the state admonished Kogi citizens to vote into power persons imbued with the exposure and competence that can rescue the state from the “pitiable” state it currently exist in.
“Kogi State is backward today not because it doesn’t have the right calibre of persons to take it out of the wood. I have heard a section of our citizenry say the problem lies with power shift; that the state is backward because my Igala people have been administering it without tangible results for all to see.
“I beg to differ on this proposition. For me, such talk is a creation of the PDP. The PDP had a hand in the backwardness of the state because for the past 12 years, it produced the governors who brought the state to its knees.
“The state problems revolves around getting the right persons who can do the job. It doesn’t matter where the person is coming from. It is about who can take the state to the next level and this explains why I am in the race. I have the wherewithal to bring smile to the faces of our people who have suffered immensely from years of neglect and poor governance,” he said.
The aspirants expected to be screened today are; former state governor, Prince Abubakar Audu; Mr Muhammad Abdullahi, Senator Nuruddeen Abatemi Usman and Hajiya Hadiza Ibrahim, James Ocholi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, Senator Nicholas Yahaya Ugbane, Mr. Sani Halilu Shuaibu, Alhaji Suleiman Baba Ali, Air Vice Marshall Saliu Atawodi (rtd).
Also in the race are a seasoned banker, Mr Habeeb Abdullahi Yakeen; Prince Rotimi Yakub Obadofin, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, Mr. Olusola Oluworanti, Dr Onukaba Adinoyi, Aliyu Zakari, Senator Alex Usman Kadiri, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Umar, Mr. Idris Hussein Kashim and Dr. Sanusi Abubakar.
Others to be screened are the veteran journalist and one of the founding fathers of Newswatch Magazine, Mr Yakubu Muhammad; Chief Clarence Olafemi, Mr. Sunday Ejibo, Otunba Suleiman Lanre Ipinmisho, Mr. Suleiman Ejeh Abutu, and Dr. Tim Nda Diche.
Meanwhile, tension appears to be piling up in the APC, Kogi state chapter as a leading female governorship aspirant in the party, Hajia Hadiza Ibrahim has fled the state to Ibadan, Oyo state capital over a renewed threat to her life ahead of the upcoming party’s primary.
Hadiza, a notable APC leader and loyalist of President Muhammadu Buhari, described the latest attempt on her life through anonymous calls, text messages and public assaults as an unfortunate development within the party.
She has already written the Inspector-General of Police urging the authorities to safeguard her life and present the recurrence of political killing of one of her sons, Kamaldeen Yahaya in 2014.
Kamaldeen Yahaya’s murdered is still unresolved by the police 12 months after the killing occurred.
She, however, admonished the party’s leadership and men of goodwill to wade into the crisis in the party which according to her is “assuming frightening dimension”.
While speaking to journalists in Ibadan over the weekend, Hadiza claimed that she was advised to return to Abuja by an unknown person at Lokoja last Friday after picking her expression of interest form in Abuja because of security threat.
She also said that she had been receiving series of threat text messages and calls particular from somebody who claimed to be close to the top echelon of the APC. She expressed optimism that the security agencies would live up to their duties even as they track, arrest her tormentors and provide security for her.
“I acknowledge that it is men’s turf but I know it’s a turf that has been defined by the doggedness, determination and labour of women. Kogi State must be free from the current underdevelopment.
“We must emancipate our people from poverty and diseases and we must consciously empower the people, especially our women and girls. Politics should not be with tears.
“This recent threat to my life by some political cabals in Kogi State is designed to make women run away from politics, and I will not chicken out. There is no going back because I have the support of my people,” she said.
Kogi state often referred to as the confluence state has been in the news of recent as the state prepares for its governorship elections. The APC which is the latest bride in Nigeria’s political arena will have to get its house in order if it must wrestle power from Capt. Idris Wada’s (Rtd) of the Peoples Democratic Party who currently governs the state.