Kogi Election: APC West-Central Zone Picks Baba Ali As Consensus Candidate Amidst Protest From Others
Against the backdrop of arrangement by the coalition of leaders from the West and Central senatorial zones of Kogi State to present a consensus candidate for the forthcoming governorship election, the leaders have endorsed the candidature of Alhaji Suleiman Baba Ali as their sole aspirant.
The adoption of Baba Ali is however coming amidst protest from some other stakeholders in the party including a member of the committee and an aspirant in the forth coming election.
Making the declaration yesterday in Lokoja, the state capital, the coalition Chairman, Professor Eyitayo Lambo, said Ali was chosen because he represents a bridge between the old and the younger generations and the people of the west and central zones of the state.
He added that the coalition took the decision after close examinations of all the aspirants from the zones and discovered that Alih has an edge over other aspirants in preserving the ideals of the zones.
While speaking with journalists after the meeting, the spokesperson of the committee, Alhaji Yusuf Tawari, said several screenings were undertaken before arriving at Alih as the only choice of the Zone to fly the flag of the APC in the November 29, 2015 governorship poll.
Tawari, hinted that all the 16 aspirants from the zones who had picked the APC nomination forms were screened by the committee before arriving at the conclusion.
The spokesperson urged other aspirants to accept the decision in good faith even as he appealed to them to work assiduously to ensure that the candidate of the zones emerged victorious at the primary election.
Speaking on his endorsement as the consensus candidate, Alih, described his emergence as the will of God and the people of the zones, stressing that he needs the support of other aspirants to guarantee him victory at the August 29 APC primary election.
While thanking the committee for their verdict on him as the sole aspirant from the zones, Alih promised not to betray the confidence repose in him by the people of zones.
“I see this development as moral victory and victory to all other aspirants in these two zones. I salute their maturity in accepting the committee’s resolution. I have no doubt that they will join hands with me and the party to ensure our success in the forth coming primary election,” he added.
Reacting to the endorsement, a member of the committee Mr. Kayode Ariyo, expressed satisfaction with the decision, noting that it was the first time the west and central zones in the state are agreeing on a sole candidate to wrest power from the eastern zone which has ruled the state since its creation.
Some of the committee members who attended the weekend screening meeting in Lokoja included Dr. Tom Adaba, Alhaji Yusuf Tawari, Professor Aliyu, Professor Angela Okathi, General Oshanukpin and other prominent members of the committee.
But in a swift reaction to the purported endorsement, prominent members of the party have noted that the statements credited to the spokesperson of the screening committee, Tawari, was untrue.
Dr. Tunde Arosanyin, a member of the committee, denied the statement credited to Tawari, arguing that there was no final decision reached on the representative of the coalition yet.
According to him, “The meeting observed that out of about 18 aspirants from the West and Central senatorial districts, three names; Hon. Clarence Olafemi, Dr. Onukaba Ojo and Alhaji Suleiman Baba Ali, were recurring decimals. It therefore resolved that the forum should sustain engagement with all stakeholders: the political class, delegates, aspirants and opinion leaders, to build a consensus on power shift. No communiqué was issued by the Dr. Tom Adaba-led media committee because no concrete decision was taken.”
Also, Onukaba, a former Managing Director, Daily Times and former Special Adviser to former vice-president, who is a leading aspirant from Kogi Central senatorial district, described the news circulated by some elements in the party as mischievous and contrary to what actually transpired at the meeting.
He said talks are still ongoing on who is best to represent the coalition.
“The objective was to present a common front against our brothers and sisters from Kogi East that have been at the helm of affairs since Kogi was created 24 years ago. However, two of the conveners of the alliance, Professor Y. O. Aliyu and Alhaji Yusuf Idris Tawari, decided to stage manage the selection process to adopt their preferred candidate.
“The people of Kogi Central have rejected the so called consensus candidate. The Okun Yoruba people have equally rejected the choice because it lacked integrity and transparency. It is an exercise in futility. Some of us believe that Prof. Aliyu and Alhaji Tawari have been used by a powerful aspirant to destabilise the group.
“I have bought my nomination form and so have nine others from Central and West. Efforts are now being made by the two zones to produce a governorship candidate and a deputy out of the 10 aspirants in the two zones. There is no consensus candidate yet. Anyone peddling such a story is not being truthful,” Onukaba stated.