Officials in the North Central Zone under the All Progressives Congress (APC) have disclosed that the presidential ambition of Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, is non-negotiable even if the zone produces the party’s national chairman in the forthcoming convention.
According to the stakeholders, even if the party’s chairmanship is zoned to Okene Local Council, Yahaya Bello will contest.
The APC stakeholders in the North Central Zone said this, yesterday, while responding to a press release allegedly by an unknown group, “Stakeholders in Nasarawa State Council APC, appealing to Bello to sacrifice his presidential ambition for the rumored national chairmanship position awaiting the zone.
In a communique by the Director-General, North Central Coalition for Leadership, Williams Oluwatoyin, the group said the alleged appeal to Bello to give up his ambition belittles the zone.
They made this known on a day Bello officially presented staff of office to newly approved, graded and upgraded traditional rulers in Kogi State, at the Muhammadu Buhari Civic Center, Lokoja.
According to the APC chieftains, Bello remains the outstanding mandate of the North Central and Nigerians as a whole to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
“A Bello presidency can’t be sacrificed on the altar of ‘cash and carry politics,’” they maintained, while wondering what kind of zone would be satisfied more with producing a party chairman than producing a president.
“The said statement reportedly made by the Chairman of the Council, Kassim Muhammed-Kassim in Yola, claimed that the group endorsed Senator Abdullahi Adamu for the position of National Chairman in the forthcoming party’s convention.
“Without mincing words, we are the authentic APC stakeholders in the North Central and there is no other apart from us. We wonder what kind of zone would be satisfied with producing a party chairman than producing a president.
“We, the authentic stakeholders in APC North Central want to state categorically that we are in full support of Bello’s presidential ambition and we regard the purported appeal for him to back out from the race as standing logic on its head.
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“By saying this, we do not by any means, infer that anybody should not vie for the chairmanship position in the North Central. What has come to stay, through popular demand, is that Bello will contest presidency notwithstanding where the party’s chairmanship position is zoned.
“It is obvious that these unknown individuals who brand themselves as stakeholders are singing the tune of their pay masters, but doing this at the expense of the wish and yearnings of the people is undemocratic and belittling the North Central, to say the least.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the North Central has produced the national chairman of the then ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not less than five times. What has this brought to our zone?
“Those who had occupied this position include: 1998-1999- Chief Solomon Lar, Plateau State; 1999-2001-Chief Banarbas Gimade, Benue State; 2001-2005- Chief Audu Ogbe, Benue State; 2005-2008- Col. Ahmadu Ali, Kogi State and 2011-2012- Alh Kawu Baraje, Kwara State.
“What has these chairmanship positions brought to our zone if dividends of democracy is our interest? Bello has demonstrated capacity, excellence and unequalled competence in governance and he holds the overwhelming mandate of the North Central and Nigerians to succeed Buhari. Bello’s presidency can’t be sacrificed on the altar of cash and carry politics.”