Protesters block APC secretariat, demand explanation for Irukera’s disqualification

August 28, 2019
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A group of protesters on the platform of Kogi Mandate Group on Wednesday evening blocked entrance to the National secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) demanding explanation why their candidate for the Kogi Governorship primary, Babatunde Irukera was not cleared to contest the party primary.

The group alleged that the National Working Committee of the party deliberately omitted the name of Irukera from the list of cleared aspirants even after the Appeals committee set up by the party had cleared him for the contest.

Irukera was disqualified by the Screening Committee headed by Senator Hope Uzodinma for invalid declaration of age, not attaching his academic credentials and supporting documents and for his nomination form not duly signed.

But a copy of the appeals committee report cited by The Nation on Wednesday claimed that they found no evidence to support the claim by the screening committee after listening to oral submission by Irukera and therefore cleared him for the primary.

Read Also: Irukera: My disqualification is in bad faith

But after its meeting on Tuesday night to consider the reports, the National Working Committee upheld the decision of the screening committee and disqualified Irukera from the contest, a decision that did not go down with his supporters.

However, the group accused the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party of deliberately shutting out Irukera to pave way for Governor Yahaya Bello to emerge unopposed at the primary billed to hold in Lokoja on Thursday.

Spokesperson for the group, Amos Alfa expressed surprise that the party went ahead to disqualify Irukera in spite of the fact that he was cleared by the screening committee of the party.

He said: “We want justice to be done. Irukera was cleared in 2015 by this same party and he contested at the primaries. The sitting governor is aware that only Irukera can unseat him. We have evidence that in the result from screening panel, it was written boldly that he was cleared. We want justice on this issue. The party should not be left in the wrong hands. Let APC do justice to ensure that Babatunde feature in the primaries otherwise what happened in Zamfara state would happen in Kogi state.”

Some of the placards brandished by the protesters had inscriptions like “We say no to impunity in Kogi”, Hope and Oshiomhole! stop sale of kogi Governor ticket to Bello, he can’t win election,” “Do not kill APC in Kogi state, APC should be fair and transparent”, “APC learn from Zamfara mistakes.”

A statement signed by the party’s spokesman, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu had announced that the NWC has cleared nine aspirants to contest the indirect governorship primary comprising Governor Bello, Hadiza Iyoma Ibrahim, Yahaya Odidi Audu, Sani Lulu Abdullahi, Engr. Abubakar Bashir, Engr. Danlami Umar Mohammed, Yakubu Mohammed, Hassan Abdullahi, Ekele Aishat Blessing just as it has shifted the date for the Bayelsa governorship primary from today to Saturday this week.

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