The many aspirants who are vying for the Nasarawa State House of Assembly seats across the 13 Local Government Areas of the state on the platform of the All Progressives Congress are currently protesting in their various constituencies on the action allegedly taken by the party’s national secretariat to change the delegates’ list submitted by the state chapter, according to The PUNCH.
Our correspondent gathered that almost all state assembly aspirants had withdrawn from the race in protest, vowing that the exercise would not hold unless the legitimately elected delegates are restored to participate.
Hours after the governorship primary election where Governor Abdullahi Sule emerged the winner to fly the party’s flag for the second time in 2023, The PUNCH gathered that the entire delegates’ list for the House of Assembly primary elections had been changed.
Although, the State APC Chairman, John Mamman, while briefing journalists in Lafia on Thursday night at the party’s secretariat said the delegates’ list for the just concluded governorship primary election was not doctored.
Mamman reacting to the doctoring of the delegates’ list said, “We consider this as undemocratic, capable of breeding disaffection and tension in the party. Therefore, the party will not accept any list outside the list of delegates who emerged after the APC congress in the state.
“The national secretariat should therefore in the interest of peace, unity, harmony and progress of the party, ensure that the wishes of the law-abiding and loyal party members are respected.”
APC members in the state said that development may affect the governor’s nomination if challenged in court because the delegates who voted for the governor were supposed to vote for the House of Assembly, House of Representatives, and the Senatorial aspirants, saying the strange delegates had no rights to vote.
A party member who pleaded anonymity alleged that the directive of doctoring the delegates’ list was given by the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, because he wants his loyalists to occupy all elective positions in the state.
“The plan is to take over the structures of the party from the incumbent governor in 2027 when he will be completing his second tenure, to enable Adamu to install the next governor and maintain the structures”, said the party member.
There are also fillers that the change of the delegates list might be to favour a senatorial aspirant in Nasarawa North, Danladi Evunlanza against incumbent Senator Godiya Akwashiki, and possibly to favour Shehu Tukur in the Nasarawa West Senatorial district against Ahmed Wadada and Labaran Magaji who are battling to succeed Adamu in the Senate.
“The doctored list is also not in favour of the member representing Keana, Awe, and Doma federal constituency, Hassan Nalaraba as well as the member representing Lafia/Obi federal constituency, Abubakar Sarki-Dahiru, who is seeking a 3rd term in office”, the source narrated.
The PUNCH further gathered that the Independent National Electoral Commission had warned political parties on the consequences of changing delegates’ list midway into the primary elections and with the doctored list in Nasarawa state, the entire primaries of the APC may likely be nullified if the matter is taken to court.
This development if not checked, may pave way for the court to declare all candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state as dully elected in 2023 on the account that the APC do not have valid delegates.
Meanwhile, reacting to the accusation leveled against the national secretariat of the APC by the state chairman, a chieftain of the party in the state, Nasil Zakari, condemned the statement made by John Mamman saying it was capable of bringing disunity among stakeholders of the party.
In a statement made available to journalists in Lafia on Friday, Zakari accused the state chapter of drawing up the list of delegates with serving state assembly members, without any input from other party faithful who bought forms to contest for various elective positions in the state.
He said, “The National Chairman of our great party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu is a true democrat who believes that power belongs to the people and can only allow the people to choose their leaders according to their conscience.
“So, I am calling on the state chairman to issue an unreserved apology to the APC national secretariat with immediate effect.”
However, a stakeholder of APC in the state, Isa Abubakar-Imam, while speaking with our correspondent on the matter, said in order to avert the issues that may arise as a result of the doctored delegates’ list, the party should conduct a direct primary election across the state to enable members of the party to choose their leaders of choice.