There were indications last night that leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were still divided over the choice of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as the party’s candidate for next Saturday’s supplementary governorship election in Kogi State.
While the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and a group loyal to him in the party are insisting that Yahaya Bello’s name be withdrawn for Hon James Faleke (late Prince Abubakar Audu’s running mate) following the submission of Bello’s name by the party last Friday to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), other party chieftains have kicked against this saying Bello’s choice and subsequent nomination be maintained.
This is coming just as the INEC has given the APC until tomorrow to present a replacement for its late governorship candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, for the Kogi supplementary election.
LEADERSHIP had on Saturday reported that Bello who came second during the party’s governorship primaries on August 29, 2015 was chosen by the party to replace the late Audu after the demise of the governorship candidate, following INEC’s declaration of the Kogi governorship poll inconclusive.
It was gathered last night that although Bello had been nominated and his name submitted to INEC late Friday evening, some powerful stakeholders in the APC want his name replaced with that of late Audu’s running mate, Hon. James Faleke.
It was learnt that the bid by the party to present Bello as its new candidate reached a stalemate yesterday when leader of the party and former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu was said to have insisted that it was either Faleke or no one else stepped into the late Audu’s shoes.
A reliable source in the party told LEADERSHIP that when it became glaring that Tinubu and other stakeholders angling for Faleke would not budge an inch, the national chairman of the party, Chief John Oyegun told them that with their fixed position, the development indicates that the APC might end up not having any candidate for the Kogi supplementary governorship election slated for this Saturday.
The source, a senior party official, who sought anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter, told LEADERSHIP last night that if care was not taken, the party may yield to the pressure by the stakeholders who are insisting on Faleke’s candidacy because of the allegation against Bello that he is a mole in the APC working for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He said, “The argument being canvassed now is that it should not be Bello because he allegedly worked against the late Audu’s bid to become governor. There is so much pressure on us to withdraw Bello’s candidacy in view of the crisis that the choice has generated as well as the fierce protest it is causing in Kogi State.
“Right now, we are at a crossroad because nothing has divided the party like the choice of governorship candidate for the Kogi supplementary poll. Our only saving grace is that INEC has given the party till Tuesday (tomorrow) to take a final stand on the matter.
“As we speak, national leader of the party, Asiwaju Tinubu and his group are insisting on the withdrawal of Yahaya Bello, while another group supporting Bello are also kicking that Bello’s nomination remained. The chairman is presently confused and threatening to withdraw Bello’s name and Falake’s thereby leaving the party without any candidate,” our source said.
The party stakeholders insisting on Faleke’s candidacy are contending that he deserves it because he was everywhere with the late Audu campaigning vigorously for the election, and that it would be unfair to deny him what he laboured for and favour someone who was even working against the APC candidate and the party’s interest.
culled from Leadership