The confusion over the list of the National Assembly candidates of the APC in Niger state has not abated
- Both the serving senators from the state and the three senatorial aspirants are laying claim to the seat
- The trio of Sani Musa, Zakari Jikantoro and Bima Enagi addressed a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, October 9 on the issue
The trio of Sani Musa, Zakari Jikantoro and Bima Enagi on Tuesday, October 9, in Abuja, addressed a press conference warning against the substitution of their names for that of the serving senators in the three senatorial zones of Niger state.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains warned that any attempt to go ahead with the plan will spell doom for the ruling party in the state.
The candidates had won the senatorial primary elections in Niger state, but were told by the National Working Committee of the APC that there was an agreement with incumbent senators to be given automatic tickets.
The decision of the APC NWC sparked protests in the state, with some members of the party laying siege on the national secretariat of the party on Monday, October 8.
Speaking at the briefing on behalf of his colleagues, Enagi said: “The gentlemen we contested with are all serving senators. They all participated in the primary elections. Some of them also campaigned the way we did, though they were not able to reach out to any local government, they remained in Minna and were calling people to come there. But, we followed our people to their own door steps.
“Elections were conducted, we have claims of these elections from various places. The returning officers were sent from the national headquarters of the APC summed up the results announced the results in public glare in front of the press and we were presented with result sheets.
“When the national headquarters of the party decided to change the team that conducted the election, the second team came, and all we were told by the state chairman was that the second team that came, came with a mandate that they have clearance for only three serving senators.”
Enagi said the popularity of the three winning aspirants was so firm that the elections are conducted 10 times, they will come out victorious 10 times.
He said as far as they are concerned, they have their result sheets that declared them winners, adding that nothing else is acceptable to them.
Enagi said they were informed by the Niger state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, that the national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole insisted that there was an agreement for automatic tickets for the serving senators after meeting him in Abuja.
He said: “We called this press conference to tell the world that the mandate given to us by the people of Niger state cannot be retrieved. We are not going to give it up.”
Enagi noted that, “if for any reason this should happen, it is political suici*de, not only for us, but for the APC in Niger state and I stand by it.”
He continued: “We have worked tirelessly and we want to see who either in the national or the state party hierarchy that have given us anything to motivate us in trying to get the kind of support we got. The party was almost down. How can somebody leave his own state peacefully and try to create problems in another state, what kind of democracy are we doing?
“We are calling on the national chairman and the NWC of the APC to do the needful by giving us our certificates of return and making us duly candidates of APC so that APC can win Niger state.
“The three of us can traverse the nook and cranny of Niger state. And I can say it boldly, that the three senators they are trying to impose, cannot even do it within their wards because they have lost touch with their constituencies.”
Also speaking at the briefing, Alhaji Sani Musa said denying them their tickets is corruption, after the APC allowed them to buy the senatorial forms, screened them and allowed them campaign and subsequently win the primaries.
“I don't think our great party, our national leaders, should champion anything that has to d with corruption. They should go along with our leader - Mr President, who everybody in this country knows for his integrity,” he said.
Musa warned that, “anything done to put the present senators in our place, will kick out our great party from Niger state.”
He advised President Muhammadu Buhari to step into the matter, adding that, “we will not allow the mandate given to us by our people to go.”
Musa accused the incumbent senators of abandoning the APC in the state for the last three years, adding that they have been maintaining the party.
He added that, “the national leadership of the party needs to know that these are not the friends of the party, these are not the friends of Mr President. We are the friends of Mr. President. We want to go there so that our people are not denied their rights. They are Saraki boys, we are Buhari boys. We want to get there to support the president."
Meanwhile, some members of the APC under the platform of Mandate Group, Ondo state chapter, has expressed satisfaction over the party's NWC, which granted automatic tickets to some lawmakers in the state.
Speaking to journalists on Thursday, October 4, during a solidarity protest at the national secretariat of the APC in Abuja, the publicity secretary of the group, Comrade Gbenga Bojuwomi, said the decision of the NWC is in agreement with the affirmation by the members of the APC in Ondo state and the resolve of the party leadership in the state to put forward capable hands that can effectively represent the party.
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