Arch. Yomi Awoniyi Insists, Governorship Primaries Conducted In Kogi Was Not Free and Fair.
By:Abubakar S. H
The PDP Governorship primary has come and gone. It took place on the 16th of April 2023. Senator Dino Melaye was declared the winner, having secured 313 votes from a tainted delegates’ list. I secured 77 votes, alongside a hodgepodge of votes secured by 6 other fellow aspirants. Senator Melaye played a pivotal role in the recently concluded Atiku-Okowa presidential campaign. I was the Kogi State Director for the aforesaid campaign.
Without an iota of doubt, I make bold to say Senator Melaye’s victory is a prriyic one. This victory portends great danger to the unity of our party and the prospect of winning the November 11 governorship election.
The reason for this assertion is simple. The primary that threw up Senator Melaye was flawed. 158 delegates who emerged from the State Ad-hoc Congress of the 29th March 2023 were replaced by the woeful Sen. Abdul Ningi Congress Committee, working in concert with Senator Dino Melaye’s enablers within the Party hierarchy at the highest level. Let me hastily add this, in the pursuit of justice and correct conduct, it is necessary to state the facts as they are.
To gift any aspirant, a total of 158 votes in a contest for 739 votes involving 8 aspirants is not a fair contest. It is fraudulent, duplicitous, sinful, and unwholesome because it confers undue advantage on the favoured aspirant. Sen Dino Melaye won a fraudulent primary.
To throw some light on the corrupted delegates list, let me mention just a few of the grave anomalies therein. Firstly, one of the ‘delegates’ imported into the list was the candidate of APGA in the just concluded House of Assembly elections. Another illegally imported delegate is native to and resides in a ward totally different from where his name emerged. 62 of the 158 delegates imported come from 2 LGAs, Yagba West and Kabbabunu, which are undoubtedly my strongholds for the primary elections. In Ijumu, Senator Melaye’s LGA, 29 of the 46 delegates were switched. I stood to be one of the beneficiaries of the delisted delegates. I made the assertion above, at a meeting held at the instance of H.E. Ahmed Makarfi, a fine upright gentleman with impeccable credentials, who was brought in to chair the Primary Election. Present at the meeting, were the State Party Chairman, some stakeholders and all the other aspirants. Not one voice controverted my statement. If the delegate list which came from the Ad-hoc delegates Congress of the 29th March 2023 had been used for the Primary of the 16th April 2023, we would have had a free, fair and transparent event with probably a completely different outcome. Party faithful across the 3 senator Districts would have accepted the outcome of the election, which was very well conducted under the Chairmanship of H.E Sen Ahmed Makarfi and secretaryship of Barr. Laureta Ogwuche. But you cannot put a veneer of integrity on a cesspool of fraud. What we have today in Kogi State, is discontent within the PDP rank and file, and some measure of elation within the other political party.
This pyrrhic victory may look like a fait accompli, but the dust is unlikely to settle even beyond the 11th November 2023 governorship election.
From the forgoing, it may surprise many that I do not necessarily blame Senator Dino Melaye for where we find ourselves today.
He needs to search his heart to see if he has behaved well, as a counsellor of the celestial, which he claims to be. But I blame his enablers.
It is natural for anyone to make the most of any temporary advantage he or she possesses. But it behoves on the custodians of the party to ensure that such advantages are not misused to the detriment of the common good.
All entreaties made to the NWC of the party for the rectification of these anomalies were simply paid lip service. The PDP at the national level, seem not to have learnt anything. They continue to foist persons, only known to them in Abuja, on the state chapters and expect to win elections.
This statement is being made to correct the impression being given that the primary was a free and fair process. It was not. This has led to the PDP, in Kogi State, fluffing a great opportunity of winning back the state from the ruling party. We wait to see what happens in the days ahead. Thank you.
Former Deputy Governor of Kogi State and an aspirant in the just concluded primary.