Road to 2023: How Niger North APC senatorial primary was manipulated – Sen Aliyu Sabi

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From John Adams, Minna

The Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, has rejected the outcome of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Primary election for Niger North Senatorial District held last week Saturday, describing the exercise as a complete violation of the guidelines and procedures for the conduct of the party primaries and the electoral act 2022 and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Senate Deputy Chief Whip in a five-page letter of petition, personally signed by himself and addressed to the Chairman, APC Legislative Election Appeal Committee for Niger North Senatorial District, called for the cancellation of the primary election which he claimed, was heavily manipulated and forceful usurpation of the people’s mandate.

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Senator Sabi while calling for a legal, free and fair primary election where the will of the people will not be coerced nor manipulated but freely conducted in line with the party guidelines and procedures, pointed out that what took place last Saturday was nothing but “inglorious and shameful charade”, all in the name to force a sitting governor on the people as their senator.

According to the senator in his petition, the entire process from accreditation of delegates to voting was hijacked by the member, representing Kontagora/Mariga/Magama/Wushish Federal Constituency, Alhaji Abdullahi Idris Garba who had no business in the senatorial primary election, and under the watchful eye of the Chairman of the APC Primary Election Committee for Niger State, Dr Ray Murphy, who had earlier told him on the phone that due to time constraints, it was not possible to hold joint stakeholders and aspirants meeting before the election.

He alleged that verification and accreditation of delegates were done in the private residence of the federal lawmaker, located at Maigari Godabe road, opposite Safari annexe in Kontagora instead of the official venue, the Teachers house in Kontagora which was meant to serve as verification, accreditation and voting centre, adding that “this made it impossible for other delegates they perceived not to do their bidding to be accredited.”

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Senator Sabi in the petition equally alleged that the delegates list that was used in both the House of Representatives and state Assembly primary elections was changed during the Senatorial primary, stressing that “new names were called to replace these legally recognized local government delegates, a clear contravene of section 115(1)(a)and 119(1)(e) and (f) of the Electoral Act.

“Some delegates were invited to the private residence of the Federal lawmaker, and the event at the private residence turned out to be an official process of harassment, intimidation, threats, hijack/Kidnapping delegates who were serially threatened by the security details of the state Governor and an Aspirant in the Senatorial election, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello.”

According to him, “the residence played host to the state Commissioner of Police, the Director of the Department of the State Security, Niger State and all other state government functionaries in a deliberate show of force over the delegates.

“The delegates they held there were issued tags suggesting that they have been verified and accredited, and ready to vote even when we thought we were still waiting for the arrival of election materials, including tags”, adding all these were done without the presence of his agent, Hon. Mohammed Garba Danladi.

Senator Sabi in the petition further alleged that all the tags that were given to the delegates at the private residence of the Federal Lawmaker which was turned into an accreditation centre, had the name and picture of the state governor on them, adding that “we later learned that the 10-member local organizing committee headed the state organizing secretary of the party, Alhaji Musa Fasasi headed straight to the residence of the Federal Lawmaker where all the schemes and emasculation of the entire process was hatched and subsequently executed.”

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