Twelve aspirants disqualified from contesting the Kogi state governorship election by the All Progressives Congress (APC) have rejected the report of the party’s screening committee.
The aggrieved aspirants at a press conference in Abuja said that the screening was deliberately manipulated to favour the incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello by only clearing aspirants he sponsored to purchase nomination forms whom they said have no intention of contesting the primary election.
They said, “In the interim, delegates and citizens in Kogi have read, become apprehensive and confused about the candidacy of their preferred aspirants and or, the possibility of the conduct of the primary elections on August 29 as announced.
“Inquiries at the APC national secretariat convey a continuing insistence that the party has not received the report of the screening committee or made a decision about the screening exercise.
“Aspirants have now been irreparably damaged, their electoral fortunes and chances pre-empted, and their rights and privileges as citizens and party members completely undermined.
“The entire conduct of the screening exercise, the manner, irregularities and apparent inconsistencies and falsehood associated with the exercise is egregious and to railroad aspirants.
“The purported report that has been published specifically makes allegations against aspirants that are unsubstantiated, misleading and entirely inaccurate.
“The party has a process for screening, parameters for screening, and appellate process in the party’s constitution.
“There is absolutely no evidence that the party followed any known or acceptable process in the screening or appellate process whether in accordance with the constitution or rules, or ethos of the party or any such association.
“There are credible allegations that the only cleared aspirants in addition to Governor Yahaya Bello (incumbent) are lackeys/cronies of the governor whose nominations were purchased by the governor, and who have no evidence of campaigns or intention to contest the forthcoming elections.
“It is sinister that all these are occurring barely three days to the date of the elections.
“Under the circumstances, aspirants who sacrificed and committed significant resources including N22.5 million in purchasing nomination forms, and campaigns across the state are constrained to consider their remedies under any prevailing laws and to the fullest extent of such laws.
“Such remedies include pre-emptive action in the coming hours that could prevent the APC from conducting the primaries slated for August 29.
“While aspirants recognise the magnitude of, and unintended consequences of outcomes associated with pursuing the enforcement of their rights, the brazenness and impunity characterising the conduct and handling of the Kogi screening exercise make it inevitable that aspirants proceed in a manner that reserves their rights under law.”