No aspirant has requested for the fees they paid according to the chairman. The forms were sold for N22.5 million each.
National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole on Thursday told aspirants for it’s governorship ticket in Kogi State that it will not refund the money they used to purchase nomination forms.
Oshiomhole who was addressing newsmen after hours meeting with the 16 aspirants who purchased the party nomination form to contest the primary that this was not the first time the party was conducting primaries and has a tradition which has to be maintained.
Out of the 16 aspirants that bought the nomination and expression of interest form totalling N22.5 million, seven of them were not cleared to participate in the exercise for various reasons, why nine others, including Governor Yahaya Bello were cleared.
At the end of the primary conducted by a committee led by Jigawa state governor, Badaru Abubakar, Governor Yahaya Bello was declared winner and the APC governorship candidate for the November 16 governorship election.
Asked whether the party was considering refunding money to some of the aspirants, Oshiomhole said “our party is guided by rules. If there are issues that we need to discuss, those are APC issues and not meant for the Press. We are not doing election for the first time. We have traditions and we don’t have any application before us.”
Oshiomhole said further that “this afternoon, we had extensive conversation as APC family to talk through issues arising from the Kogi state governorship primary which was conducted last week.
“I am sure that you know some of those who participated or attempted to participate in the process. They are men and women who, by any criteria can be said to be fit and proper persons to govern a state. But as you know, in democracy, if you have 16 angels as we had seeking the mandate of the people to produce just one person as governor, it means that 15 angels will not get it.
“So, winning or losing a primary is not a statement of your integrity, you capacity, your capability or your intellect. It is simply a fact that once you have more than one candidate and you have only one vacancy, only one person will win.
“As you already know, Governor Badaru of Jigawa state led the team that conducted the primary in Kogi state and have declared Governor Yahaya Bello as the winner of that exercise.
“We therefore decided to invite all those who participated in the process or wanted to participate and for one reason or the other, were not able to do so to have a conversation on the need to put the conduct of that process behind us.
“Usually in every campaign, aspirants tends to bad mouth each other, while trying to project themselves and people could fee injured, people could get angry over statements made. In our own part of the country, there can also be issues of how the exercise was conducted, whether it was free or not free.
“I want to thank all those who participated in the process and to thank our party members in Kogi state and going forward, to thank the good people of Kogi state who do not belong to any political party and whose future, our party is committed to improving by using the instrument of state in a way that will add value to the lives of the people of Kogi state.”
The APC Chairman announced that all those who lost out in the process have assured the party that will not challenge the outcome of the exercise in court, but will work for the success of the party during the election.
He said “our brothers and sisters from Kogi state who participated in the exercise has shared with us their feelings about the process and the outcome. But the good thing is that I found each one of them recognising the fact that we have to work together to win the next governorship election in Kogi state so that Governor Yahaya Bello will build on experiences gained, build on where we have done well and improve on where we haven’t so that after eight years, we will be able to look back and point at what has changed between when he came in and when he left.
“The conversation also enabled us to look at the fact that Governor Bello also met huge debt burden, not only in terms of salary arrears which were not paid by his predecessor, but contracts that were allegedly awarded and paid for, but jobs not done.
“Many of them have said that as a mark of respect for the party and not withstanding whatever reservation ay of them might have, they are not about to go to court to prolong issues arising from primary. To all of them, we are very grateful and we appreciate their sacrifices.
“We have also assured them that going forward and having taken note of some of the very valuable suggestions they have made, they will all be taken into account so that together, we will work hard to ensure that the people of Kogi state witness better governance.
“It is important that to evaluate the issues going forward, we need to help them to remember the woeful performance of PDP in Kogi state before now. I come from a state that has border with Kogi state and I know that once you cross what you call Murtala bridge, you are likely see people telling you that armed robbers have blocked the road and you have to wait for them to finish.
“So, security has been a big issue in Kogi long before Governor Bello came in. While we cant say that everything is perfect now, we can say that the state is safer today than it was under the PDP”.