Some of the All Progressives Congress (APC) aspirants governorship primary in Kogi state have accused the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello of trying to manipulate the list of delegates for the exercise.
Sources close to some of the aspirants claim they have information that the governor was working with some unnamed officials at the national secretariat to alter the delegates list because of fears that some of them may not vote for him.
The source showed The Nation a document they obtained from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which was supposedly transmitted to the commission on Wednesday, July 24, containing names of the delegates for the primary.
The source said:
“Bello is afraid that more aspirants have been cleared to contest against him. He is no longer comfortable and so he is doing everything he can to manipulate the list of delegates and import names into the list.
“He was the one produced these officials from the ward to the state level down to the ward. But, right now, he is not comfortable with them and is afraid that they will vote against him because he abandoned them since they came into office.
“He fought to have indirect primary approved for him by the party and also fought to get other aspirants disqualified. Now that more people have been cleared, he is not comfortable with the entire process and because he is desperate to come back, he is working with some officials at the national secretariat to manipulate the list
“Last week, he invited the ward and local government officials to Lokoja and was abusing some of them. He is no longer comfortable with the party officials as well as the indirect primary he canvassed for.”
The source asked the national leadership of the party to allow a level playing ground for all aspirants band allowed the people of the state to nominate a person of their choice as the party flag bearer.
There are 239 wards within the 21 local government areas of Kogi state and executive members of the parry in these wards and local government and state officials are delegates to the primary.
According to the APC electoral guidelines for the conduct of indirect primaries, only officials of the party from the ward, local government and state constitute delegates for primary elections. Aside the party officials who constitute delegates, there are also statutory delegates made up of members of the state and National Assembly as well as national officials from the state. The primary election is scheduled for Thursday, August 27.
Meanwhile, the result of an independent poll research reportedly carried out by Myles Morgan Polling & Research Institute has claimed that Governor Bello will lose the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi state. According to the results of the poll, 80% of Kogites will reject Governor Bello at the polls scheduled for Saturday, November 16.
The group said it embarked on an extensive survey on the gubernatorial election in Kogi in a bid to predict the outcome and project the chances of the personalities gunning for the number one job in the state.