CRISIS is brewing in the Kogi State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as an interest group has called on three of the 13 aspirants to withdraw from the party’s primary election scheduled to hold on September 3. The group, under the aegis of Concerned Kogi Professionals, has demanded the withdrawal of Abubakar Ibrahim, who is the son of former governor Ibrahim Idris. It also called on former governor, Idris Wada and his brother, Musa, to also withdraw from the contest. Stating reasons for the call on the three aspirants to withdraw from the race, the coordinator of the group, Dr. Tope Atte, cited extended family ties binding the three aspirants together. This, according to Atteh, could destroy the existing unity in the state chapter should any of the three aspirants emerge winner in the primaries. Atteh said Idris Wada and Musa Wada are blood brothers with the latter married to one of the daughters of ex-governor Ibrahim Idris. The ex-governor’s biological son, Abubakar, is also in the race. Atteh had led members of the group to meet the PDP National Secretary Senator Umar Tsauri in his office at the party’s Abuja secretariat yesterday, asking the party to disqualify the three aspirants. In a statement issued after meeting with Tsauri, the group said unless the three aspirants from the same extended family are forced out of the race, the party was doomed to be defeated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in event that any of them picks the ticket. The statement said: “There is palpable fear across the leadership and rank and file of our party that if this danger is not confronted and contained before we go into primaries, it may become intractable thereafter and could ignite series of actions and reactions that could lead to the failure of our party at the polls.” Read Also: APC in a quandary over Kogi’s Bello Describing the three aspirants as “extremely mutually antagonistic contestants” from the same extended family, Atteh lamented that the party’s stakeholders and elders have already been fractionalised along three parallel lines. The group further stated that anyone of the three who wins the primary election would be sabotaged by stakeholders and supporters of the other two contenders. Although the National Secretary was not available for comments, the PDP national leadership has consistently declared that it would not interfere with any of the processes leading to the emergence of a candidate for the election. While briefing reporters in his office on Tuesday, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, stated that the constitution of the PDP forbids any member of the NWC, including the National Chairman, from interfering with the process. Ologbondiyan had clearly directed dissenting groups over the party’s upcoming primary election in Kogi and Bayelsa states to go back to their respective states and iron out their differences.

Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, on Friday, said he would win the election.  The governor is seeking a second term at the November 16 election.

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yahaya bello

Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, on Friday, said he would win the election.  The governor is seeking a second term at the November 16 election.

Bello spoke to State House correspondents at the weekend after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari.

He was with the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole.

The governor said he had been prepared for the election even before the Presidential and National Assembly elections in February.

But he added that he was not taking anything for granted.

His achievements, he said, was there for all to see and the people were waiting for November 16 to vote for him.

Bello noted that his achievements included up-to date salary payment, despite settling backlog when he assumed office.

Nightlife in the state, he said, was back following improved security.

The governor also said he was committed to free, fair and credible election.

He said: “As regards … preparedness…I have been ready for this election even before the last general election…

‘So, we are well prepared … As for victory, I think by the grace of God, it is assured.

As the chairman has said, we are not going to take anything for granted. Whether the candidate of the opposition party is strong or not, we will approach the election with seriousness and ensure that it is conducted freely and fairly and we will become victorious by the grace of God. On November 17, we will be announced the winner.”

He denied the Peoples Democratc Party’s (PDP’s) allegations that he planned to scuttle PDP primaries.

Bello said “If you monitor all the activity of the PDP in Kogi State…it has always been marred or characterised by violence, guns, maiming …and all kinds of attacks.

So the outcome of that of the last primaries they conducted shouldn’t take anyone by surprise.

“We have a larger number of delegates in Kogi State. We started our exercise early enough and finished early enough in peace. I am not a member of PDP, I wouldn’t go in there and conduct it for them.

“So, it is their character, it is their stock-in-trade and that is what they are known for and so should rather look inward rather than pointing fingers outside.

“You see, when you have a cancer and you don’t treat it but rather you are treating malaria, you will never get rid of cancer. So, that is the problem the PDP has, they have cancer and should treat the cancer and shouldn’t look outside.

Asked what message he was taking to Kogi electorate for the next four years, he said “The people of Kogi State have actually seen my performance against the performance of previous PDP governors. In less than three and half years, they have seen all my wonderful performances.

“In fact starting with even the issue of salaries, it’s just that all along, I have chosen not to speak about the issue of salary because it is a problem I inherited.

“And in any case governance is a continuum, you inherit both assets and liabilities. When you inherit assets, you make use of it, when you inherit liabilities or trouble you try to solve it, you don’t complain about it.’’

“So I refused to make comment about the issue of salaries.

As a matter of fact, the issues of salaries arrears I have already accepted by my immediate predecessor he inherited from Ibro’s administration.

“These past two PDP Governors couldn’t solve it, I have come to solve it. That already is a kudos to this administration that the people of Kogi State should vote for us.”

Bello also boasted that every local government in the state have various projects completed by his administration.

“Every local government in Kogi are dotted with various infrastructural development. The people of Kogi State have spoken before in the last general election, they will speak again.”

On security, he said “Lastly, if you look at Kogi State in the past, if you are a traveler you will hold your breath. The inhabitants as early as 6:30 they will only manage to pray their morning prayer and in the evening they will manage to pray their evening prayer and go to bed, but today, even along the streets of Kogi you will see people jogging, exercise, night life is back as a result of improved security situation in the state today.

“Kogi State is the second safest state in Nigeria today, I didn’t say it. We have various bodies that rate the performance of various government and administration, Nigeria Bureau of statistics and the rest of them, they said it.

“So if you look at it, we have performed so wonderfully that the people of Kogi state are eager that 16th November should come and let them speak with their votes and I know they will speak very well and re-elect me, the APC and we shall become victorious.” he said

Asked if he was going to carry along the labour leaders he proscribed, Bello said “Well, it is not a battle we are going into, we are going into a contest, one I know is going to be free and fair and I am going to win that election by the grace of God. The APC under the leadership of the national chairman, we are going to campaign vigorously well and we shall become victorious.

“The people who have decided to become rebellious to bring down the institution of higher learning at certain point in time have today seen the benefits of telling them to please give peace a chance.

“They have given peace a chance and you can see the last strike, Kogi State didn’t go on strike, we have very stable educational in Kogi State. As per all the labour leaders in  Kogi State, we are moving on harmoniously, you can confirm from the various chapters.

“If not because they are not politicians, labour leaders would have taken the fore front to campaign for my re-election.” he said