Former governor of Kogi State and APC governorship aspirant for the November 21st 2015 gubernatorial election in the state, Abubakar Audu appears to have bit too many fingers with his reception of many defectors from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP during the week as officials of the PDP who stormed the state for the party congress drew the battle line with Audu and his party.
Even a party chieftain of the APC has accused him of hijacking the defection of members from the ruling PDP. Audu who was full of apologies to those he considered to have offended during his six years explained that the inevitability of office may have made some enemies of people. He said this while receiving the PDP members who defected at Anyigba, the political Zonal Headquarters of the Eastern Senatorial District of the state.
Prominent among the defectors with their supporters from the eastern axis of the state are, the former Minister of Police, Hon Humphery Abah, PDP Board of Trustee Member, Alima Alfa, Commissioner Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Hon Ignatious Amodu, former chairman of Igalamela/Odolu Local Government, Ernest Abah, former chairman of Idah Local Government, Dr Major Musa, former Special Adviser to Governor Idris Wada, Peter Agbonika and Ambassador Joseph Idachaba. Audu who is also the APC Leader in Kogi State assured the defectors they would be given equal treatment, rating their political values as second to none which will go a long way in ensuring the victory of the party at the polls.
He decried the inability of the ruling People’s Democratic Party to sustain the developmental legacies put in place during his six years rule of the state in the past. The APC governorship aspirant promised that he would give jobs to the unemployed youths as well as revitalized the ailing Ajaokuta Steel Complex if given the opportunity to govern the state again. Audu also promised that he would provide good roads, hospitals, potable water and educational institutions.
Responding on behalf of other defectors, the former Minister of Police Affairs, Humphery Abah expressed optimism that they would not relent in ensuring the realization of the APC struggle for change to install good governance in Kogi state. But the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said the APC would be living in dreamland if it thinks it can win the November poll in the state, stressing that the party has re-engineered to ensure it retains both Kogi and Bayelsa states whose elections come up later in the year, as announced by the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC.
Speaking to party members who had come to welcome the team to conduct the party congress, party spokesman and chairman of the congress committee, Chief Olisa Metu accused the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) of treating its members as prisoners of Olisa Metu who made the accusation in Lokoja yesterday while addressing PDP stakeholders in the state described the act as inhuman which is against the will of God. “We are being treated as if we are criminals of war. We are been treated as if we are refugees. We are not afraid, we have faith in our strength, unity, and progress of Nigeria” he said. Metu told a cheering PDP crowd in Kogi state that in spite of the threat by the APC, the party is resolute to clinch the governorship election in Kogi and Bayelsa states in November and December, respectively. He added that the party is not afraid of intimidation, harassment and arrest of its members by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari but stressed that it should be done within the confines of the law. Chief Metu, said while the party’s stands against corruption has remained unwavering, he lamented the witch hunt of its members by the Buhari led administration under the pretext of a probe.
Metu condemned the uncivilized method of arrest, intimidation and the deny of the fundamental human rights of members of the party who served in the last administration by the Buhari led administration. “If the ruling party believes that there is any one who has served in the federal government and is guilty of corruption practices, they are free within the law to investigate as long as they go through due process and observe the rule of law” He said PDP is not afraid of the intimidation, harassment and arrest of its members by the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari, if the arrest is done within the confines of the law. The National Publicity Secretary, said rather than provide a policy direction for Nigerians, the APC administration has rather dissipated energy intimidating its members under the guise of probing the past administration, and deny persons who served in the administration their fundamental human rights in accordance with established laws.
While urging the members of the PDP in Kogi State not to allow the harassment to dampen their resolve to retain the state in the forth coming governorship election, he said the repeat ward congress was necessitated by the need to give all contending forces in the party a sense of justice and fair hearing. Chief Metu, also described the decision to repeat the Ward Congress as the new vision of the party to carry every one along, urged members to put the party’s interest in mind, disclosed that power belongs to God.
Chief Metu assured that due process would be followed in the Ward congress, expressed confidence that the party would after the repeat congress come out more united and prepared for the task to win the forth coming governorship election. He further mentioned that’s PDP will win the forth-coming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa respectively. In his welcome remarks, Capt Idris Wada, Kogi State Governor, described the Kogi PDP as one big family, and appealed to members to abide by the congress rules towards ensuring a successful congress.
The governor commended the NWC for their interest in ensuring that the PDP in the state remains united, tasked members to work for the collective interest of the party and to shun issues that would not foster togetherness. Earlier in a welcome remarks, Adejoh described Kogi State as home of the PDP, said the conduct of the cancelled congress was credible, said the state PDP has put behind it the sad episode of the cancellation and was ready to repeat the congress in line with the stipulated guidelines. In the meantime, the APC, is faced with a battle for relevance between Audu and a front line All Progressive Congress APC governorship aspirant in Kogi State, Senator Nicolas Yahaya Ugbane, who yesterday expressed disappointment over the alleged hijack of the reception rally for PDP defectors into APC at Anyigba by his former boss, Prince Abubakar Audu.
Senator Ugbane while speaking in a chat with newsmen at his country home in Egume in Dekina local government area of the State yesterday, stated that the rally was scheduled to receive all the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) personalities that joined APC in the state. He lamented that he was officially invited by the Chairman of the Party, Alahi Haddy Ametuo to join other members of APC at the reception rally to welcome the PDP defectors into APC, stressing that instead of the former governor to introduce the defectors he was busy selling his aspiration to the large crowd of supporters.
“If I had known that Prince Abubakar Audu would hijack the reception rally, I would not have come to the place. I want to sell my self too. I have pedigree, I have capacity and I know the problem of Kogi state “Jesus Christ is the only messiah and not human being .The claim that one is messiah does not hold water. This is because I was part of all the success stories Audu is claiming” he pointed out. The two term Senator and former commissioner under Audu’s administration restated his commitment to contest the APC governorship primary, stressing that he will not step down for anybody.
On the litany of aspirants emerging from the Party for governorship primary election, the former federal lawmaker stated that the national executive of APC will conduct free,fair and credible governorship primary election in Kogi state. It would be recalled that prominent members of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) defected to All Progressive Congress(APC), these include the former Minister of Police Affairs, Humphrey Abah, former member of BOT of PDP, Hajia Halima Alfa and over 8,000.00 members defected to APC at a grand rally at Ayigba in the Eastern Senatorial District of the state.
-Joseph Amedu in Lokoja reports on the increased tempo of political activities since the INEC officially announced a fixed date for the governorship poll in the state