Kaduna state chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has declared 38 of the 115 aspirants that purchased forms to contest the local government chairmanship not suitable for various reasons.
Some of the reasons adduced for the party’s decision ranged from being indicted at one time or the other, to failing to measure up in the aptitude (test) carried out by the party.
A major highlight of the exercise was the disqualification of some serving chairmen seeking second tenure.
Two of the serving chairmen, as contained in the results released by the party, were sent parking for anti-party activities. Further details on this were not provided.
The affected council chairmen in this case are those of Soba local government, Mr Aliyu Mahmood and his Lere counterpart, Mr Abubakar Buba.
Also, an incumbent local government chairman of one of the urban local government areas in Kaduna central was dropped on account of indictment by the report of the auditor general in 2019 for mismanagement of public funds/financial misappropriation in the council.
The party said the exercise was conducted to screen out incompetent aspirants as well as those with questionable credentials and deficiencies that could expose the party to post-election litigations.
Blueprint recalls that the party organised written examination for the chairmanship aspirants, being the first in the history of Nigeria, as condition for qualification to contest the party’s local government chairmanship primaries.
The aspirants were also subjected to thorough oral interview by a 17-member panel comprising professors, lawyers and holders of doctorate degrees among others.
It was also gathered that one of the questions during the examination was for the aspirants to write biographical essay on their life, schools attended, work experiences, places lived or visited within Kaduna state, Nigeria and abroad.
Among the 115 aspirants that purchased the forms to contest, 75 were declared suitable while 38 were declared unfit and two of the aspirants failed to return their purchased forms.
APC justifies stance
Justifying its position, the state chairman of APC, Air Commodore Emmanuel Jekada (rtd) said: “Do you expect all of them to be successful? The essence of the exam and screening is basically to ensure that those that are not suitable having been given equal opportunities to prove themselves are not allowed to go into the primaries.
“We are doing this to ensure that it is not business as usual and to strengthen the party ahead of the primaries and the actual election.”
The APC publicity scribe in the state, Mr Tanko Wusono, had April told newsmen in Kaduna that the State Independent Electoral Commission (KAD-SIECOM) fixed the polls for June 5.
Wusono said: “At the close of the sales of nomination forms on April 14, some 105 contestants have picked the forms to seek the party’s platform and stand election for the chairmanship position in the 23 LGs.
“Some 800 others had purchased the nomination forms for councillorship tickets of the party in the 255 wards in the state.”
Meanwhile, Director General Voice of Nigeria (VON) Osita Okechukwu has taken a swipe at the Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and Ekiti state Governor John Kayode Fayemi, for calling on those agonising about the state of affairs in the country to organise and vote out the ruling APC.
Okechukwu, an APC founding member like Fayemi, accused the Ekiti governor of inciting Nigerians against their party, rather than use his position to organise the Governors Forum to unlock democracy at the state level.
The Enugu state APC chieftain was reacting to comments made by Governor Fayemi on The Platform, a programme organised by the Covenant Christian Centre, aired live on Channels Television.
Fayemi had on the platform said: “If your search is a regime change in a democracy, there is only one way for regime change in a democracy. You work towards it. Another election is going to come if you do not like what APC is doing, stop agonising, organise against the party. Link up with others who are agonising and then kick the APC out of office and put people that you think will do better.”
But condemning the statement during a chat with journalists Sunday in Abuja, Mr Okechukwu said notwithstanding his respect for Fayemi, his speech at the Covenant Platform on Saturday is in simplicity anti-party and overkill.
He said: “Is it politically correct for a person of his caliber to use such world wide audience and uncommon platform to incite people against our great party? Yes, one agreed with him that there are competing narratives and some unforced security errors were made, but one expected him to use his acclaimed intellectual prowess to mobilise his fellow governors to unlock democracy at the state and local government tiers.”
Okechukwu described governors’ emperorship as the greatest paralysis to restructuring in Nigeria, contending that by omission or commission, Governor Fayemi neither protected President Muhammadu Buhari nor the APC in the brouhaha of restructuring.