From John Adams, Minna
Crisis no w looms in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Niger State following the open declaration of support for Governor Abubakar Sani Bello’s senatorial ambition by the Chairman of the state chapter of the party, Alhaji Haliru Zakari Jikantoro, ahead of the party primary.
Aspirants seeking various political offices on the platform of the party and other party faithful have therefore expressed reservations over the ability of the state chairman, to preside over a free, fair and credible primary election of the party.
The fear of the aspirants, who are now calling for his immediate resignation, arose from his open declaration of support for the state governor’s senatorial ambition in a trending video.
Jikantoro had in the trending video, openly declared that though as the party chairman, he was not supposed to take side with any aspirant ahead of the party primaries, he had no choice than to throw his weight behind the senatorial ambition of the governor who is vying for Niger North Senatorial District.
The chairman was said to have made the declaration when he played host to a former commissioner for Lands and Housing in the state, and House of Representatives aspirant for Agwara/Borgu Federal Constituency, Mouktar Ibrahim Nasale, a lawyer, in his office in Minna.
In the trending video, he said: “I am not supposed to do this as the chairman of the party but am saying this to the hearing of anybody who cares to listen that I am fully in support of the governor’s aspiration.
“In fact, I am not only in support, I am in the forefront of the struggle, and I want the whole world to know about this.”
However, in another forum, the chairman was quoted to have said that he would give all aspirants a level ground as he would be neutral during the forthcoming party primaries.
The chairman’s contradictory comment was made when a member of the House of Representatives, representing Chanchaga Constituency and Governorship Aspirant in the state, Alhaji Umar Bago paid him a familiarization visit in his office in Minna.
In a statement by the publicity secretary of the party, Musa D Sarkinkaji shortly after the chairman received the governorship aspirant in office, quoted him to have said that he would not take side with any aspirant ahead of the party primaries, assuring that “every aspirant would be given free playing ground within the party constitution.”
Expectedly, the doublespeak by the chairman has drawn reactions from aspirants vying for different positions, leaving them wondering whether the chairman could be trusted to supervise a free and fair primary election.
Some of the aspirants, who spoke to our correspondent but wished not to be named in print, described as unfortunate the open declaration of support for the governor ahead of the party primaries.