Avoid the emergence of Kogi Gov, others – Lukman

by Joshua Omoloye

Immediate past Director General of the Progressives’ Governors’ Forum, (PGF) of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), Dr Salihu Lukman has warned the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to avoid certain persons in the party’s recruitment process for different offices ahead of 2023.

He said the recruitment process in APC is not different from recruitment methods employed in the past by the former ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The party chieftain in a statement signed and made available to journalists on Monday said: “The reality is that leadership recruitment in APC, as it is today, is not fundamentally different from what exists in PDP”.

Lukman specifically mentioned the likes governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello among aspirants that should be blocked from flying the party’s flag in the coming general election.

He said “the case of His Excellency Yahaya Bello requires some bold decisions by the APC as a party, which should include acknowledging that his actions as Kogi Governor contradicts the commitment of the party for good governance as represented by the provisions of the APC constitution and manifesto.

“Take the case of N19.3 billion salary bailout given to Kogi State by the Federal Government, which was deposited in an unlawful bank account domiciled with Sterling Bank Plc. The money was recovered in November 2021 by the EFCC and returned to the CBN.

“Interestingly, while the controversy of the seizure of the N19.3 billion salary bailout is yet to be resolved, in February 2022, Kogi State announced the commencement of payment of N30,000 minimum wage.

“By the end of February 2022, media reports emerged that Kogi State workers, instead of receiving the new minimum wage of N30,000, received only percentages of their old salaries, some as low as only 25%.

“Part of the media reports suggest that there are workers who have received as low as N2,000 as salary for February 2022. Amid all these, Bello is going around the country, campaigning for his so-called emergence as the Presidential candidate of the APC for 2023.

“With such records of anti-people and anti-workers policies, APC must take steps to disclaim the government of Kogi State under Governor Yahaya Bello.

“He is one of the few APC leaders collaborating with Buni to undermine the decision to organize the Convention of the APC, perhaps in expectation that His Excellency Mai Mala, as APC Chairman, will manipulate the process of electing the APC’s Presidential candidate in his (Yahaya Bello) favour,” he stressed.

He lamented that APC has produced leaders, both in government and in the party who only succeed in reducing government and party management to a Bureau De Change The Trumpet gathered.

He said there is a need in APC to effectively mobilize opposition against such leaders.

“The current contest going on in APC is a typical example. Although the contest is partly to ensure that March 26, 2022, APC National Convention hold and produce new leaders, it must be stressed that the quality of new leaders of the party is expected to emerge from the Convention should begin to change, if APC is to meet public expectations”.

He called to question, the Mai Mala Buni leadership he internal opposition against Governor Mai Mala Buni’s leadership of APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) which he said is largely because of all the numerous cases of allegations of corruption against him.

“How the party treat allegations of corruption against the leadership of Buni, will substantially determine the nature of new leaders to emerge. Many of the allegations against him are already public knowledge in the media.

“From Anambra to Ekiti and Osun primary, there are allegations against extorting money from aspiring party leaders for Governorship. Part of the media report alleged that the discovery of how much money could be made from conducting primary is responsible for why Gov Buni is doing everything necessary to ensure that APC National Convention is delayed and merged with the process of party primary to produce candidates for the 2023 elections.

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“The speculated expectation is that the opportunity to organize APC primary to produce candidates for 2023 election will provide the opening to make ‘good business.’

“There are already allegations against Buni that he has started extorting money from some of the emerging Presidential aspirants. Although no details are available, there are speculations that one of the aspirants who is alleged to have made some payment is yet to join the party. Yet, party campaign offices are being speculated to begin to spring up for the would-be aspirant expected to join the APC, as part of the deal.”

“There was also specific allegation against Mai Mala bordering on extorting money from party leaders, including serving Governors, involved in disputes arising from the Party Congresses.

“First term APC Governors are being alleged to have been offered automatic tickets. Similar automatic tickets are also being alleged to have been offered to APC Senators and House of Representatives members. If Anambra State 2021 Governorship primary is to be the yardstick, automatic tickets would mean that the highest bidders will emerge as the APC’s candidates at different levels.

“Serving Governors, Senators and House of Representatives members, will be required to match the amount given by aspiring highest bidders. Based on that, dishonest party leaders will be given the responsibility of returning the highest bidders, just like Governor Dapo Abiodun was the returning officer of the APC Primary election in Anambra State, which declared Senator Andy Uba as the winner with more than two hundred thousand votes. Yet, in the main election, APC could barely poll fifty thousand votes,” alleged Lukman

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