All is not well with the All Progressives Congress in Kogi State. Reason is that there is a heavy clash of wills going on among governorship aspirants whose supporters in the opposition party in the confluence state are lobbying for and against the candidature of their principals Shortly after a group, Volunteer Network started canvassing the candidature of Senator Nicholas Yahaha Ugbane, another group called APC Transparency Network, APCTN, took up the battle cry that Ugbane, former Governor Abukakar Audu and AVM Saliu Atawodi should be disqualified because of their background which would make their candidacy unsellable.
The APCTN people have taken their battle cry to the Federal Government in Abuja and called on President Buhari to prevail on trio of Prince Abubakar Audu, AVM Saliu Atawodi and Senator Nicholas Ugbane from contesting the forthcoming Kogi gubernatorial position on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC) The group said their call was in the interest of the All Progressive Congress whose leadership the Kogi people crave but not under any of these men.
According to the APC Transparency Network statement signed by the duo of its state coordinator, Barr. Aliyu Ibrahim and it secretary Mall Onotu Otaru all three aspirants constitutes problem to the party in the state because they have been engaged and found wanting on public trust by the people.
“Despite the great love the people of Kogi state have for the All progressive Congress, the presence and active involvement of these persons, Abukakar Audu, Nicholas Ugbane and AVM Saliu Atawodi have started to have untold effect on the psyche of the people of the state as regards supporting the party in the forth coming election, the group said. The network said the APC stands against corruption and impunity and this must be upheld. The network alleged that Prince Abubakar Audu represents an ethnic jingoist to non-Igala speaking indigenes and population of the state besides he has a close tie with the opposition party which could compromise the interest of the APC.
“An average person from Kogi west and central area of the state sees Abubakar Audu as an ethnic jingoist and a highly tribalized Igala man that has deepened the roots of disunity in Kogi state. He is also seen by majority of APC members in Kogi state as a proud agent of crisis and division, which of course affected largely our performance at the April 14th house of assembly election. We have it on reliable authority that Abubakar Audu severally romanced the PDP led government before and during the last Presidential election.”
It also picked on AVM Saliu Atawodi as unfit for the office because he has a case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the allegations of fraud, which the Network said was even before the Court. “He is another individual that have been petitioned to the EFCC and also dragged to court by one Alh. Hassan Rabiu over his alleged fraudulent involvement and supervision of a contract scam at the office of the National Security Adviser while he served as the Chairman, Presidential Implementation Committee on Marine Security.
A copy of the affidavit was also contained in a petition addressed to the D.G SSS dated 12th October, 2012 titled “Conspiracy, Fraud Supervision and Compromising of Nigerian National Security and Official Corruption In The Award And Execution Of National Security And Defence Project.”
The same matter has recently been petitioned to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for diligence prosecution in line with President Mohammadu Buhari’s commitment to recovery of stolen public funds. This position is against the anti-corruption stance of the extant government. The third person the network beamed it’s light on is the erstwhile Senator Nicholas Ugbane whom the group said was linked to house probe on rural electrification project in 2008. According to: the statement: “Sen. Nicholas Ugbane has been a Senator representing Kogi east for eight (8) years in the National Assembly.
During his term of office, he was severally accused of financial and contract fraud particularly the 2008 Rural Electrification Agency fraud when he was chairman Senate Committee on Power to the tune of N4.8 Billion. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, remanded in Prison and Prosecuted, thereafter arrested him. The group further appealed to the President to: “In view of the above and in the best interest of our party particularly relating to the forthcoming election, we therefore passionately, prayerfully and sincerely plead with your Excellency to use your good office to stop these stinking characters from participating or emerging as the candidate of our great party in the coming election. This petition is written in good faith and without any form of prejudice as same shall be forwarded to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, other party leaders and stalwarts.
While we have confidence in your judgment and hoping that our petition shall be given the required urgent attention, please accept the assurances of our best wishes. Abut for the Volunteer Network, AVN, in Kogi state the people and the delegates of APC should support the candidature of Senator Nicholas Yahaya Ugbane in the governorship election slated for November this year if the party must make a head way in the poll The group State coordinator, Mr Tony Akeje and the Secretary, Babtunde Oyejide in a statement in Lokoja said if the two time Senator is voted into power he will massively transform the state to a mini-caniphonia and make judicious use of the huge agricultural potentials abound in the state to the benefit of its citizenry.
The group who said they were in Lokoja to mobilise the youths, market women and able men to support the Ugbane project said they are very sure if voted the senator will maximally utilize Geregu power plant to kill generator culture. The group which cut across the ethnic divides in the state said so far twenty thousand volunteers have been recruited to carry out the senators› rich political manifesto to the nooks and crannies of the state for the purpose of winning confidence and support of the electorate for his candidature.
“Senator Ugbane was a one time commissioner for Education and served in different ministries in then administration of the former governor of the state, Prince Abubakar Audu was reputed to be the brain behind some of achievements recorded at that time especially the establishment of the state university and Obajana Cement Company in the state which has remained the selling points of former governor Abubakar Audus’”. The statement added. The group therefore warned the electorate to get it right this time by rejecting money politics as well as do or die attitude of some politicians whose ideas may not tally with the present reality in the state.