APC screening c’ittee drills Ambode, Okorocha, el-Rufai, Ganduje, other govs
No fewer than 15 All Progressives Congress (APC) state governors seeking re-election into either their positions or the Senate were drilled by the APC Screening committee in Abuja, on Thursday.
In the early hours of Thursday, the campaign office of the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, came alive with activities as the Progressives Governors were given special consideration by the national leadership of the party when they arrived the screening venue.
Among the early arrivals included the governors of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Zamfara State, Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari, Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, Borno State, Kashim Shetima and Nasarawa State, Umar Tanko Al-Amakura. These underwent screening for senatorial seats.
The second term governors seeking re-election that were screened included governors of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, Niger State, Sani Bello, Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Jigawa State, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Adamawa State, Bindo Jibrilla, Plateau State, Simon Lalong, Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode and Bauchi State, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar.
Speaking to newsmen separately after appearing before the screening committee, all the governors noted that the screening was more or less a formality, expressing confidence that they have no reason to entertain any fear over their re-election.
Governor Abubakar of Bauchi State, however, boasted in a chat with newsmen, that the defection of the Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, will not affect the fortune of the party in the state or his re-election.
Speaking shortly after completing the screening exercise for sitting governor seeking fresh mandate, Governor Abubakar insisted that he was not even aware that Dogara had defected to the PDP.
Asked his view on the detection, he said: “Well, I don’t know whether he has actually defected. Has he? If he has, I don’t know, but I learnt some people presented him with a PDP form.
“But we haven’t heard any specific statement from him that he has defected. So I am waiting for that before I can comment.”
On his exit affecting his re-election, Governor Abubakar said: “The Speaker represents a constituency that has a total of 70, 000 registered voters.
“In 2015, I won election with a margin of 393,000. So, that answers your question.”
The Bauchi State governor justified the APC governors’ preference for indirect primary even as he noted that it was the choice of the state executive committees of the party.
The governor continued, “The position of the state executive in Bauchi State which they took while I was away in China with Mr. President was for indirect primary.
“The constitution of the party provides for indirect. The last NEC meeting allows for the state executive committees to take charge and determine for themselves what type of primary that they want and Bauchi chose indirect,” he said.
Similarly, Governor Ganduje of Kano State said that the state chapter of the ruling party gained more people than those that left, which he described as ‘nomadic politicians’.
He said that the exit of former Kano state governor and senator representing Kano central in the National Assembly, Rabiu Kwankwaso, has been naturalised with the entry of another former governor of the state, Ibrahim Shakarau.
While describing his experience with the screening committee as the easiest because he has no challenger, he said: “The screening went on successfully but you know the number of governors that took turn to undergo the screening.
“My own took less than three minutes then I bowed and left because I have no challenger in APC governorship primary in Kano state.”
Commenting on the spate of defection in Kano state APC recently, he said: “It is the opposite, meaning many more politicians are coming to APC.
“I know that they are nomadic politicians but and we have gained more from nomadic politicians than we initially suffered from.”
When asked specifically of the exit of Sen. Kwankwaso from the APC, Governor Ganduje simply also asked: “And the coming of Shekarau?”
The Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, on his part, declared that he has no anointed aspirant as all the contestants are qualified and capable of governing the state.
According to Governor Ajimobi, “The screening is a normal process and it is just to access your eligibility as well as winnerbility and I think that has been done.
“On the issue of direct and indirect mode governorship the party candidate in Oyo State, I think we have opted for indirect but more importantly, we have so many people who are eminently qualified aspirants and for me, I have given them free hands, let them talk to all party members.
“And whoever they want among them, I am okay. There is none of them who is not eminently qualified.”
In his own reaction, Governor Sani Bello of Niger State, said that the party’s stakeholders had met and decided to settle for the direct primary in the state.
Governor Bello, who was also seeking re-election, told newsmen after his screening in Abuja, on Thursday, that all the APC stakeholders in his state were on the same page as regard the mode of primary election.
Asked on the strategies he is putting in place to ensure that APC win at the general election in Niger, the governor said: “With the adoption of the direct primary the party is becoming more popular.
“We will try as much as possible to uphold fairness and justice in the party, and give everyone equal opportunity to vie for any position they want.
“We will ensure that by God’s grace we have outstanding victory in 2019.”
The governor of Nasarawa State, defended the committee he set up to probe former governor Abdullahi Adamu 11 years after he left office saying, “You see, government is dynamic. Operation of government is also dynamic. Certain things propose certain things. Certain actions precipitate certain actions.
“As far as governance is concerned, the gestation period for a number of issues don’t come at the same time.
“Certain issues take a long time before they come up themselves, that is the case with the commission of enquiry I constituted yesterday.”
Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State supported the use of indirect method of primary, defending his colleagues who have opted for the indirect primaries, saying that the governors are mostly on ground and will easily adapt to any of the options for primary election.