Incumbent Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, was amongst a reviewed and updated list of aspirants, cleared by the All Progressives Congress, APC, National Working Committee, NWC, after the Screening of Governorship Aspirants for the Kogi State party primary scheduled for Thursday, 29 August, 2019.
Recall that Governor Bello had been embroiled in a yet to be substantiated double registration allegation prior to the screening exercise and the controversy which attended the exercise was heightened, when the result of the Senator Hope Uzodimma six-man screening panel, which disqualified 12 aspirants on the grounds of invalid registration and membership issues amongst others, had been greeted with widespread disenchantment from supporters of some of the aspirants who were regarded as strong contenders to Governor Bello in the forthcoming primary.
The disqualified aspirants had subsequently taken their case to the three-man appeal panel led by Dr Lawal Samaila Abdulahi Yakawada, which then upturned some of the decisions of the Senator Uzodimma committee and reportedly cleared some disqualified aspirants including Mustapha Mona Audu, the son of former Kogi state governor, late Abubakar Audu and Babatunde Ayo Kunle Irukera, a prominent legal practitioner and Director General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
The Dr Yakawada panel in its report said it cleared the aspirants because it could not reconcile some of the claims of Senator Uzodimma panel for the disqualification of the candidates with the reality on ground.
Interestingly, Irukera himself is presently tied up in a controversy with the APC Yagba West LGA chairman, David Samuel, who has openly denied writing a letter which claimed that Irukera funded the building and furnishing of the Secretariat in the LGA which he, Irukera also comes from.
News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, however reports that the All Progressives Congress, APC, in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in Abuja on Wednesday, August 28, said that the NWC of the party took the decision to bring out a final list, after deliberating on the report of screening and appeal committees for the party’s Kogi governorship aspirants.
“After a comprehensive review of the submissions by the two committees, relying on the party’s guidelines and the provisions of the Electoral Act, nine aspirants were finally cleared to contest the Aug. 29, 2019 Indirect Governorship primary.
“Those cleared by the NWC are:
1. Yahaya Bello
2. Hadiza Iyoma Ibrahim
3. Yahaya Odidi Audu
4. Sani Lulu Abdullahi
5. Engr. Abubakar Bashir
6. Engr. Danlami Umar Mohammed
7. Yakubu Mohammed
8. Hassan Abdullahi
9. Ekele Aishat Blessing
However, Seven other aspirants, including Mustapha Mona Audu, his brother Mohammed Audu and Babatunde Ayo Kunle Irukera, did not meet the requirements for participation in the exercise.
Those not cleared are:
1. Mustapha Mona Audu
2. Usman Oyibe Jibrin
3. Prof. Mohammed Seidu Onaili
4. Rukkaya Ibrahim
5. Gen. Patrick Adenu Akpa
6. Babatunde Ayo Kunle Irukera
7. Muhammed Abubakar Unukwu Audu
*Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu*
National Publicity Secretary
All Progressives Congress (APC)