Kogi Guber: Here's Why APC Settled For Yahaya Bello

Details of how the All Progressives Congress (APC), settled for Alhaji Yahaya Bello as replacement for Abubakar Audu, the party’s governorship candidate who died last Sunday has emerged.
Bello came second at the APC governorship primary that produced Audu.
It was gathered that
the leadership of APC took rapid steps to arrive at the choice of Bello and also ensure that his name was submitted to INEC before the close of work on Friday.
A reliable source and supporter of Bello, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue, stated that the party moved swiftly to try to circumvent a possible court injunction by the PDP that could stall APC’s attempt to substitute another candidate for Audu.
“The party had to apply common sense under the prevailing circumstances since any plan for primary will entail giving INEC 21 days’ notice, which is not feasible. Also we had to consider two available options, which are that we either say, let’s allow the deputy candidate to inherit it or get the man who came second in the earlier primary to succeed him,” he said.
The source confirmed that major stakeholders of the party, including President Muhammadu Buhari, legislators, and the top echelons of the party were privy to the decision to submit Bello’s name to INEC, as they were either notified or consulted on the matter.
He said, “But the first option fell short of meeting the legal requirement, which is that one has partaken in the primary to be able to contest the governorship. So we have to consider the other alternative, to go back to the validly held, above board, and transparent primary to pick the runner-up as a replacement.
“The timing of the death of the APC governorship candidate made it almost impossible for the party to consider going into fresh primary, except, of course, to fall back on the earlier primary election, which was done transparently. After consulting very widely with legal experts on various scenarios that are likely to play out, it dawned on us that Bello will be the only viable option.”
The source described the decision as the most sensible and rational option under the circumstances, adding that it is the most legally defensible action considering the legal quagmire the Kogi governorship election presented.
“It is certainly disarming; it came as rude shock, straight out of the blues. It has been a very major blow to the party and, I am sure, to the entire people of Kogi State. It could not have come at a more inconvenient time. It has brought about with it constitutional and legal challenges. But we are now on the clear path to returning normalcy to the situation,” the source added.
By forwarding Bello’s name to INEC as replacement for Audu, the APC might have set the stage for legal tussle with other contenders. Faleke has written INEC to declare him winner of the November 21 election rather than go to a supplementary poll. Wada is in court challenging INEC’s decision to allow APC change its candidate and to seek to be declared winner of the election.
But the court actions do not seem to be APC’s greatest bother.
Another source in the party said, “Once APC goes through the supplementary election, wins and its candidate is sworn in as governor by January, the party can now relax to face any outcome of the legal actions, even if it means ordering for a re-run, it will be a formality.”
He said that was why the party felt rather than take the risk of doing another primary with an, obviously, controversial timing, it was better to pick Bello. And to ensure a quick resolution of the matter, the source said, the party decided to limit its consultations to few top leaders, governors and its North-central caucus in the National Assembly.
It was learnt that the national leadership of APC had engaged Faleke and his team of legal advisers at the weekend in Abuja to try to dissuade him from taking any further action that may be injurious to the chances of the party at the December 5 supplementary poll.
Meanwhile, ahead of the public presentation of Yahaya Bello at its national headquarters in Abuja on Monday, it was learnt that the APC national leadership had on Friday sent representatives to aggrieved contenders for the governorship slot, including Audu’s running mate, Mr. Abiodun Faleke, and the late Audu’s family in an attempt to appease critics of Bello’s choice.
Bello is expected to be unveiled on Monday after the meeting of the APC national working committee (NWC) expected to hold Sunday night.
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