BY ISRAEL BULUS
Ahead of the 12th May, 2018 local government elections in Kaduna state, the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) counsellorship aspirants in Kaduna North local government area yesterday staged a peaceful protest over what they termed imposition of candidates and undue interference against the wishes of the people.
The agrieved aspirants who came out in their numbers carrying placards with various inscriptions called on the state governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai to intervene in the spirit of justice and fairness.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the protest, the agrieved counsellor ship aspirants alongside their Supporters under the auspices of Congress of Counsellorship Aspirants, Kaduna North local government, under the leadership of Comrade Aminu Adam also posited that against the direction of the governor of no interference, some top government officials interfered unduly.
The text of their protest reads; “recall that the Kaduna State chapter of our great party the All Progressives Congress (APC) had scheduled primary elections into councillorship positions to hold simultaneously in all the wards of the state on Thursday 29th March, 2018.
“This was followed by a solemn pledge by the state government to ensure a level playing ground for free, fair and credible conduct of the scheduled primaries.
“On the strength of Government’s pledge of neutrality, aspirants duly presented themselves for the contest which was generally expected to be conducted devoid of undue interference or interference from any quarter, especially not from government representatives.
“Contrarily however, in gross contravention of the guarantee for neutrality given by His Excellency the governor of the state, some top government officials interfered unduly with processes of the elections.
“The interference was so widespread and glaring as not to allow the elections to hold on the scheduled date and on any subsequent date in nine of the 12 wards that make up the Kaduna North Local Government.
“This undue interference that caused the non-conduct of the primaries in these nine key wards clearly angered the people and all stakeholders of the party in those places and around the state generally.
“To douse tensions and calm frayed nerves, we petitioned the state governor and copied same to all the security organs in the state, and also petitioned the Appeal committee on APC Local Government Primary Election.
“The petitions articulated the perpetrated irregularities that marred the polls which included non-availability of voting materials such as ballot boxes and comprehensive register.
“Regrettably, several days after the petition, government and party does not appear willing to address the situation which is continuing to stimulate negative sentiments.
“This uncomfortable silence by the state government and all relevant authorities bordering on complicity is what informed our civil protest today as part of our resolve to press for the conclusive resolution of the matter which potentially threatens the cohesion of the party.
“Unless this matter is judiciously handled, the party stands the risk of suffering electoral losses in the state in view of the growing public discontent with the deliberate disruption of the polls in those nine wards.
“We are hereby calling on the State Governor, Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai and all party stakeholders in the state to take steps to urgently address the issue in the spirits of the party’s internal democracy principles.
“We remind the governor and all stakeholders that a stitch on time saves nine as we are committed to insisting on redress by pursuing the matter to every level by whatever available legitimate means.The struggle is just beginning” the aggrieved aspirants stressed.
Meanwhile, the acting State secretary of APC, Yahaya Baba Pate when contacted simply said , the primaries were conducted free and fairly in all of the 23 local government areas of the state.