• Accuses delegates of being ‘pocketed by paymasters’
• Lawan, Wase, Ganduje, AbdulRazaq, others congratulate Tinubu
The Director (Media and Publicity), Yahaya Bello Presidential Campaign Organisation, Mrs. Yemi Kolapo, yesterday, described the just concluded All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primary as “largely peaceful but highly compromised.”
Bello, who is also the Kogi State governor, polled 47 votes, a significant distance behind the winner, APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who scored 1,271 votes.
In a statement, Kolapo said: “The presidential primary elections have come and gone. The process was largely peaceful but highly compromised. This is, however, not new in a country where democracy is defined as the government of the oppressors by the oppressors and for the oppressors.
“It is sad to note that those who should know and who many progressives had thought of as leaders with integrity are the ones working against the people they were (s)elected to represent for egocentric reasons.
“In this process, one leader stands out, according to the majority of Nigerians. And that leader is one that has proven to the downtrodden and those regarded as ‘Nigerians without surnames’, that regardless of age-long intimidation by the elite, the best of our people can stand tall without compromising the values that we should have been known for as a nation.
“That leader, I say with all sense of fairness, is Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello of Kogi State. He is the hero of this process and has made his point loud and clear to the admiration of even his worst enemies.
“If there was a clear, desperate gang-up by northern governors and the leaders of a party against one person, and that person never for once disappointed his teeming supporters but rather fought to the very end, not minding the crooked process, then he should be celebrated by the constituency he represents – the youth.”
The statement added: “A mode of primaries whereby delegates, who have largely been pocketed by their paymasters and who defer to the highest bidder are made to choose flag bearers of a political party, is as warped as the process itself.
“We do not have to talk much but pray that God Himself would deliver Nigerians from the hands of enemies of democracy. Poverty is a tool they have used for a long to keep Nigerians poor. At the right time, however, this jinx must break!
“We only wish that this obvious crack in the ceiling would not eventually make the ceiling cave in.”
BUT Senate President Ahmad Lawan maintained that Tinubu’s candidacy has reassured his party of winning the 2023 presidential poll.
In a letter of congratulation he personally signed, Lawan, who was also an aspirant in the primary, and who polled 152 votes, said the outcome has shown that Tinubu was the popular choice.
He expressed sincere acceptance of the election, noting that it was conducted in a free and fair atmosphere. He also expressed readiness to support the ambition of the flag bearer in 2023.
He said: “The outcome of the election process has shown that Your Excellency is the popular choice of our party for that assignment. I do not have an iota of doubt in the wisdom of that decision by our party’s delegates from across the country.
“Your glittering track record of public service, foresight and grit in party building and administration, as well as the courage you continue to demonstrate in fighting for the entrenchment of democracy in Nigeria make you worthy of the high esteem and trust of our party members everywhere in Nigeria, as exhibited at the national convention.
“It is on this note that I heartily congratulate you on your well-deserved victory at the primary. I have no doubt that with your credentials, experience, antecedents and political sagacity, our great party will go into the 2023 contest confident of victory.”
SIMILARLY, Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, applauded Tinubu’s victory in a signed statement.
He said: “Your emergence as the flag bearer of the APC in the 2023 general elections would be a victory for the Nigerian project, as you have the capacity to provide the needed leadership that would consolidate and build on the country’s democratic gains.
“I have no doubt in my mind that as party leader, a seasoned politician and administrator par excellence, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will deploy his immense experience to bear towards ensuring the final victory of APC across the board in the 2023 general election.”
ON his part, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase, said in a statement: “Your emergence in a transparent process is a testament to the fact that the APC is now more united and stronger and has sent a strong message about our resolve to bring about the desired national transformation needed to turn around the fortunes of our beloved country Nigeria.
“By this convention and all the primary elections, we have demonstrated an uncommon desire to be different from the inefficiency and maladministration of the opposition PDP that has stunted our country’s march towards greatness.
“I am confident that the APC that will emerge from the outcome of the primary will be one that will inspire hope, harness our potential and lead us to prosperity.”
KWARA State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, also congratulated Tinubu in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye.
He said: “It was a moment to speak to the direction the party must take to consolidate on its own wins, build on the many successes of President Muhammadu Buhari, and raise a dynamic successor team that is able to take up the challenges of nation-building and development in a peculiar age of changing metrics of governance and collective security.
“In antecedence, capacity, and reach, there is no doubt that Asiwaju ticks all the right boxes. With his emergence, our party is clearly destined for a big win in the next general elections.”
The governor congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari “for showing a good example in bequeathing to the party and the country a flag bearer and successor in a befittingly democratic way. This is a new height in party politics and internal democracy in Nigeria and Africa.”