A former Kogi state governorship aspirant under the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hajia Rukayat Ibrahim, has accused the national leadership of the APC of playing politics of exclusion.
Ibrahim stated this in a statement she personally signed in Abuja on Friday.
She expressed dissatisfaction over alleged unfair treatment from the party’s hierachy which she said before the primary assured all aspirants of equal opportunity.
She said, however, after the August primary where Governor Yahaya Bello was declared as the winner,the party has turned back on other aspirants.
She wondered why the party which excluded some aspirants from the primaries also decided to keep aloof after the exercise.
“It is disheartening that we were prevented from participating in the primary on flimsy excuses of not signing a section of the form. Could you believe someone asking me if I was a Nigerian, asking for my local government and village; they even thought I was coming from the SDP during the screening. Can you imagine someone saying I don’t have voter or membership card. Unfortunately, they didn’t ask for them.
“When the NWC asked for my documents, I submitted them and just a moment after, I received a call that they misplaced my document. I still don’t understand,” she lamented.
She disclosed that despite party’s policy waiving purchase of nomination form for female aspirants, they were eventually made to pay the same rate which should have given all aspirants equal opportunity before the party.
“When we registered our displeasure, the national leadership of our party promised to relate with us; in fact, the Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole said we should call him. Till today, the election is just few days away; ask if they have reached out to us. If you even call the Chairman he wouldn’t answer.
“You don’t beat a child and ask him not to cry. I am unhappy that the APC, a party I joined and worked for from the Action Congress of Nigeria could treat me this badly.”
She said the embittered aspirants were not allowed to bare their minds during the only reconciliatory meeting organised after the primary.
“If we meant anything to the party, shouldn’t they at least talk to us? But they are so confident that the election would be a walkover, making them to disregard whatever inputs we can make to give victory to the APC on November 16. Even if you call them, they will not answer you. Politics is all about the people, it should not be played to the detriment of the party,” Hajia Ibrahim lamented.
Hajia Rukaya dispelled insinuations that Governor Yahaya Bello purchased her forms, as she stated that she obtained her expression of interest and nomination forms at N2.5m and over N11m respectively even as a woman aspirant.
“How will the Governor who I was meeting for the first time at the reconciliatory meeting be the one buying my forms? The APC is unfair to me and I am not happy that the Chairman did not handle it well,” she said.
The former women leader in the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, whose mission was to unite different ethnic groups and elevate the Kogi youths and women said she was optimistic that the party would emerge victorious in the November 16 governorship poll.
“We choose APC because we believe that the party possesses strong democratic ideals considering the pedigree of its founding fathers and the class of the people on the membership.
“Our party should be a rallying and reference point for everything democracy; we should be champions, promoters of good governance. We cannot do this without bringing everyone on board, it may not augur well even if God uses the Kogi people to retain APC in Kogi State,” she said.
Hajia urged the leadership of the APC to promote unity and ensure that contest for opportunity reflect free and fair process at all time. She is confident of the chances of the party to triumph at the poll on Saturday.
“I strongly believe we will win, but it is not enough to win; it is also crucial that the right thing is done to promote unity, gender balance and reconciliation among party faithful, especially those of us feeling shortchanged aftermath of the last primary. If you look very well, we lost some states in the last general elections because of mismanaging internal party issues like this,” she said.
She said it was imperative to deepen internal party democracy, saying it remains the acceptable way to sustain members’ confidence and ensuring equal opportunity for stakeholders and party loyalists.