Niger state: Aspirants expresses reservations over APC chairman’s capability to  presides over primary election

By Naseer Mijinyawa, Minna

Aspirants seeking various political offices on the platform of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC in Niger state and other party faithfuls have expressed reservations over the ability of the state Chairman of the party, Alhaji Haliru Zakari Jikantoro to preside over free, fair and credible primary elections of the party.

The fear of the aspirants, who are now calling for his immediate resignation, follows his open declaration of support for the state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello’s senatorial ambition in a trending video.

The Chairman had in the trending video, openly declared that though as the party Chairman, he is not supposed to take side with any aspirant ahead of the party primaries. He has no choice than to throw his weight behind the senatorial ambition of the Governor, who is vying for Niger North Senatorial District.

The Chairman was said to have made the declaration when he played host to a former commissioner for Land and Housing in the state, and house of representative aspirant for Agwara/Borgu federal constituency, Barrister Mouktar Ibrahim Nasale in his office in Minna. 

According to the Chairman in the trending video which is in possession of our correspondent, “I am not supposed to do this as the Chairman of the party, but I am saying this to the hearing of anybody, who cares to listen that I am fully in support of the Governor’s aspiration.”

“In fact, I am not only in support, I am in the fore front of the struggle, and I want the whole world to know about this”, he declared.

However, in another forum, the Chairman was quoted to have said that he will give all aspirants a level plain ground as he will be neutral to everyone during the forthcoming party primaries.

The Chairman’s contradictory comment was made when a member of the House of Representatives, representing Chanchaga constituency and Governorship Aspirant in the state, Alhaji Umar Bago paid him a familiarization visit in his office in Minna.

In a statement by the publicity secretary of the party, Musa Sarkinkaji shortly after the Chairman received the governorship Aspirant in his office, quoted him to have said that he will not take side with any aspirant ahead of the party primaries, assuring that “every aspirant would be given level playing ground within the party constitution”.

This double speaking by the Chairman has drew a lot of reactions from aspirants vying for different positions ahead of the party primary elections, wondering if the Chairman could be trusted in conducting free and fair primary elections.

Some aspirants, who spoke to our correspondent, but did not want their names in print, described as unfortunate, the open declaration of support for the governor ahead of the party primaries.

“This is the most unfortunate comment that could come out of a party Chairman who is expected to be neutral to all aspirants in the party. This kind of comment could spell doom for the party at the general election if the people discover any foul play” he said.

Another aspirant, who is vying for the state House of Assembly seat, in his reaction said that the chairman, by his biased comment, has demonstrated that he can never be neutral and therefore can not be trusted.

He however warned that any attempt to manipulate the forthcoming primaries in favour of a particular aspirant will not go down well for the party in the general elections.

“The party may have its way in the primary, but certainly at the general elections, the people will have their way. The Chairman should learn from past mistakes of other parties who tried to impose candidate on the people”, he stated.

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