Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has said that the high number of aspirants that have indicated interest to contest in the 2023 general election in the state, has shown that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) remains the party to beat.
Engineer Sule stated this during a meeting with APC executive committee members from the local government and state, at the Government House, on Tuesday.
According to the Governor, the high number of aspirants that have so far indicated interest to contest for the state House of Assembly, House of Representatives and senate, is a good omen and shows that the people of the state are in love with the party.
Engineer Sule emphasized that for that reason, he’s not worried about the high number of aspirants turning up to contest for positions in the coming general elections.
He however appealed to the party to go about its activities in fairness to all the aspirants.
Drawing from the experience from the recently held congresses in the state, Engineer Sule noted that it’s not possible to please every aspirant but that if the party remains fair in its dealings, the aspirants will have no cause to disagree with any outcome.
“Let us be careful in the sense that so far, we have had very peaceful state. We had our registration exercise going peacefully, our congresses going peacefully. I know you can’t go through this primaries and finish peacefully.
“But if you are doing it in fairness, even if somebody is angry, he will understand that you have been fair to them. But if we come out clearly that we are not fair to somebody, the people will fight,” he stated.
Engineer Sule commended the party for taking proactive measures to regulate activities leading to the primary elections billed for next month.
“This perhaps is one of the few states we are seeing in the whole country, that the leadership of the party, even though the forms are yet to start selling, you are already thinking of how to manage the primaries. I think this is a highly commendable initiative and effort,” he said.
On the call for him to regulate activities of some of his political appointees who are seen to be taking sides with particular aspirants, Engineer Sule warned his political appointees against dropping his name to curry favour.
On his part, Engineer Sule called on the party officials to do their best not to be at the forefront of supporting any aspirant.
“I can assure you from my own end, I am not sending any political appointee.I don’t want any political appointee going out there to say it’s the Governor that sent me,” he stated.
He emphasized that neither the Deputy Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe nor the Secretary to the Government of Nasarawa State, Barrister Mohammed Ubandoma Aliyu, are directly or indirectly behind any aspirant.
“Let us be careful in the sense that so far, we have had very peaceful state. We had our registration exercise going peacefully, our congresses going peacefully,” the Governor said.
He used the opportunity of the meeting to update the party officials regarding the emergence of presidential aspirants under the platform of the APC, stressing the need for circumspection because the national chairman of the party is from the state.
The Governor said he doesn’t want to pass the wrong signal.
“Because for the fact that I have the national chairman in my state, the direction I go may be seen as the direction of the national chairman and it will send a wrong signal,” he said.
He pointed out that even though a lot of presidential aspirants are approaching the governors, as.far as the state is concerned Nasarawa State don’t have a direction yet.
Engineer Sule however warned that if any of his political appointees is seen with particular presidential aspirants, such appointees are on their own.
Earlier, in an opening remarks, Nasarawa State Chairman of the APC, Hon. John Mamman, said the party saw the need to meet with chairmen, secretaries and members of working commitees of the party from across all the local governments and state, with a view to generating a working data to guide the party ahead of the coming primary elections.
The state party chairman disclosed that a fallout of the meeting was the decision banning party officials from leading political campaigns of particular aspirants.
“As referees, we cannot afford to become players. Because every person looking for this position will come to the party. It’s on that note that no party official should be seen leading a campaign of another contender. Since they are going to come before us,” Hon Mamman said.
He further disclosed that, so far, 198 aspirants have shown interest to contest for the state assembly, House of Representatives and senate.
Hon. Mamman gave a breakdown of the aspirants as follows, state assembly, 163 with Akwanga 7, Awe 5, Doma 16, Keana 7, Keffi 12, Karu 23, Kokona 16, Lafia 20, Nasarawa 16, Nasarawa Eggon 17, Obi 14, Toto 5 and Wamba 5.
For the Federal House of Representatives, Northern zone has 7 for the two constituencies, Southern zone has 5, with 4 aspirants gunning for the Lafia/Obi constituency, while only one candidate has indicated interest to contest the Obi/Keana/Doma constituency.
For the senate, Northern zone has 4 aspirants, Southern zone has 2 while the Western zone has two aspirants also.
The chairman however said the figures remain tentative as sales of forms is yet to commence.
For the governorship seat, Hon Mamman indicated that only in the Northern zone, there is the possibility of a candidate emerging to contest against the incumbent.
“In all the local governments, I have asked in earnest, whether anybody has held private meetings or they heard somebody who intend to contest for governorship. I think it’s only Akwanga that is having the half,” he stated.
The state party chairman called on the governor to impress on his political appointees not to overheat the polity, stressing that there is need to carry out political activities with decorum and according to the rule of the game.
“Bearing in mind that the national chairman of our party comes from this state. You the Governor you are in APC. We have no reason why we should start quareling, in as much as we have been able to manage our internal democracy.
“I think we are good to go at the general election,” he stated.
In a vote of thanks, State Secretary of the APC, Hon. Aliyu Bello, emphasized on the need for the Governor to regulate the political activities of some of his appointees.
According to Hon Bello, political appointees and party leaders should be fair to all aspirants and that If there is need for the Governor to advice a particular aspirant, it should be behind closed doors.
“We will read the riot act for party officials from the ward, LG and state levels and to sanction any official seen as part of campaign train of any aspirant,” he said.