Lagos – While majority of aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi state are still protesting the adoption of indirect primary in selection of the party’s candidate for the November 16 governorship election, Governor Yahaya Bello, the incumbent governor on Wednesday demonstrated his seriousness for the much- anticipated contest by obtaining the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms at national headquarters of the APC in Abuja.
To demonstrate his readiness for the election, the governor purchased the forms a day after the party announced the sale of forms for the forthcoming Bayelsa and Kogi governorship polls, with the Expression of Interest form at N2.5 million, while the Nomination form is pegged at N20 million, making N22.5 million in total.
Prior before settling for the indirect primary method, GYB, as he is popularly known by his admirers had said he is confident of emerging the candidate of the APC for the election, irrespective of the mode of primary employed.
The governor who was welcomed to the secretariat by a tumultuous crowd also dismissed that the APC) in the state was factionalised, insisting that those peddling such information were not resident in the state.
Addressing journalists after picking his forms, Bello assured the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, the national chairman, national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu and other leaders of the party, that if given opportunity as the candidate of the party that he would win with landslide victory.
According to him “The APC Kogi state chapter of the party is not in crisis. Upon my assumption of office I inherited a State House of Assembly that was divided, but under my leadership the House was united.
“In the last election, we were able to deliver two out of three senatorial districts in the state and by the grace of God the third one is coming.
“Kogi APC is no longer factionalised and the court case has been withdrawn. Issues of marginalisation in Kogi is a thing of the past. The people of Kogi state believe in my leadership, the party believes in my leadership.”
He also explained that the state used to be a haven for insecurity but he has been able to tackle that and the state is now rated the second safest state in the country.
“l have been able to put the state together. Kogi state was largely divided along ethnic lines but today, citizens know that Kogi state first. Kogi state was harvest of insecurity but today Kogi is rated as the second safest state in the country.
“For us to be able to approach this election and win it overwhelmingly and to be able to bring everybody on board here you see him (former chairman) and he is going to speak to you about the unity of APC in Kogi state. The issue of Kogi state being in court, has been withdrawn. Anybody that is parading himself to say that there is a case in court, I will rather advise them not to toe the path of criminality.
“Everybody that is aspiring for the gubernatorial ticket under the platform of APC should come and join me and let’s deliver overwhelmed in November 2019 election,” he said.
He later visited Aso Villa where he presented the forms to President Muhammadu Buhari. Stakeholders in the party said the President is pleased with Bello as the party’s choice, especially after his endorsement by the monarchs in the state who visited the President last month and declared support for the governor.
It was also gathered that the President believed that Bello is in firm control of the state given the feat achieved by the APC in the last general election where the party won all the 25 seats in the State House of Assembly, seven out of the nine positions in the House of Representatives and two out of the three seats in the Senate.
Speaking shortly after Bello purchased the form, Kingsley Fanwo, the Director-General, Media and Publicity to the governor said he is confident that Yahaya Bello is the man to beat in the election, saying the massive crowd that welcomed him to the party secretariat is a testament to the popularity he enjoys in the state.
“ The governor is the most popular politician in Kogi state today. He is loved by all because of his detribalised style and the manner he has accommodated and united the three senatorial districts today. Just looked at the crowd that came to show solidarity with him just for purchase of forms, it goes to tell you how popular and acceptable he is in Kogi today”.
“He has done very well in repositioning and rebuilding the state from the ashes of the past. He has done well in turning Kogi State to an Agricultural hub. He has revolutionised education by creating better environment for teaching and learning in our schools. Industrial actions are now things of the past in our tertiary institutions”.
“The Governor has done well in the area of security too by turning around a state notorious for violent crimes to a state that is now nationally rated as the second most beautiful in the country. The administration has constructed many roads, schools, health facilities as well as water facilities across the state. But the most cherished of the sterling achievements of this administration has been the success at uniting the state”.
“Before now, we were splintered along terrible lines of division. Today, ethnic trust has replaced ethnic distrust. The Governor has broken the fences of division. He has also given power to a generation of youthful minds who are now serving the young and the old in a more pragmatic manner”.
“The people of Kogi state already gave him a second term by supporting the party he led to the polls in February and March. They said he wasn’t popular. The people said he was popular. So it is not about my feeling but the people. The people spoke in February and March and will speak again in November. The Governor will win resoundingly and dwarf previous governorship election figures. He is with the people and the people are with him” he said.