There are indications that there is serious tension in the Kogi State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the party prepares for its governorship primary election slated for Lokoja Township Stadium, Lokoja, on Saturday, the 29th of August, as speculations are rife that notable chieftains of the party are pressure on some aspirants to step down.
The Kogi State governorship election comes up on November 21, 2015.
According to sources in the party, chieftains of the party, who feel the current number of aspirants, put at 28 is unhealthy for the party and may lead to crisis in the aftermath of the primaries, are appealing to some aspirants, considered as lightweights and others believed to be capable of playing the spoiler to step down.
A source in the party confided in DAILY POST that the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, alongside others have been making frantic efforts to ensure that the number of aspirants is pruned down to a manageable seven for a healthy primary election.
“Asiwaju Tinubu has been in Abuja since yesterday trying to see how to get some of the candidates to step down from the race. Having 28 aspirants for a single slot is considered unhealthy for a party that is trying to dislodge an incumbent Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governor in the state and it believed that everything has to be done to ensure that sanity is maintained”, the source said.
Asked why the party did not reduce the number during its screening exercise, the source said: “It would been arbitrary to do so since those certified were qualified to stand for election. The party can only disqualify a candidate if he is not qualified. Besides, doing so would have compounded the problem as those arbitrarily disqualified may turn around to work against the party out of anger.
“What is been done at the moment is a subtle appeal for some of the aspirants to step down. It is not an order but an appeal to common sense and in the overall interest of the party. Nobody will be forced to step down; it is not compulsory, but what the leaders are doing is to make sure things are done in a healthy manner,” he said.
To buttress the speculation that last minute clandestine meetings were ongoing to prune down the number of aspirants, none of the aspirants for Saturdays Primaries is in the state capital yet, as they are said to be held back in Abuja to attend to some important meetings.
Those contacted on the telephone by DAILY POST confirmed that they are still in Abuja and may arrive the state capital later Thursday night or Friday morning.
Also a visit to the Party’s secretariat near the Local Government secretariat in Lokoja shows that all may not be well as the secretariat looks more like a ghost town, with only a couple of low level staff seen milling around the almost empty car park.
One of the staff at the secretariat confided in DAILY POST that the state Chairman and Secretary of the party were out to attend to some important engagements. He however declined to confirm if they were away in Abuja for the alleged last minute meetings.