A group of aggrieved aspirants who participated in the just-concluded All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries in Kaduna State, have vowed to work against the party in the 2019 general election.
A source close to the aspirants revealed that the showdown is inevitable and cuts across local, state and federal governments, noting that some of those who won the election but had their names substituted with preferred candidates of Governor Nasir el-Rufai, decided to remain with the party to enable them take their own 'pound of flesh'.
He cited how a candidate for Kawo North Constituency of State House of Assembly, Yusuf Salisu, who polled 99 votes ahead of his rival who came second with 44 votes, was replaced with one Ali Shakkis during the primaries. He also cited the case of one Abubakar Mamadi in Igabi Local Government, who got two votes while his opponent, Zayyad Ibrahim, polled 182 votes. However, Mamadi was declared winner of the election.
He said many party supporters have lost confidence in the party as a result of the "fraudulent way the primaries were conducted", stating that "80 per cent of those that were declared winners were influenced by the governor".
Five councillors in Kaduna South dumped the party and picked tickets under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while another settled for the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
According to findings, the party may lose its grip in Zone 1 Zaria (Kaduna North) judging by the strength of the heavyweight opposition in the area. For example, the former PDP Caretaker Committee Chairman, Ahmed Makarfi, is from the zone; the PDP governorship candidate, Isa Ashiru is from the area and former Deputy Governor Ramallan Yero is also a political figure to reckon with in the senatorial district.
Also, the alleged non-performance of the governor in the past three years may deal a heavy blow to the chances of the APC in the 2019 elections, as he is also accused of appointing inexperienced people, who are mainly his family, friends and close business associates.
The sacking of close to 5,000 traditional title holders on the premise that the government cannot pay them may also determine how far the governor will go in achieving his political ambition come 2019.
"For the first time, you will hear and see people challenging the governor openly that he influenced the results of the primaries. You will see the governor going to gathering and people shouting at him. He has buried APC in Kaduna State and they are just waiting for election day to perform the funeral," he said.
He condemned the undue influence and control by the governor on the party structure in the state, and accused the state chairman of the party, Emmanuel Jekada, of bias for accompanying one of the senatorial aspirants for the Kaduna Central Senatorial Zone, Uba Sani, to Abuja to pick the party’s nomination form.
The source said: "His raising the hands of his political appointee Uba Sani, who is an aspirant is undemocratic and against the party’s Constitution, which states that aspirants should be treated equally."
Investigation revealed that Uba Sani, who is also the political adviser to the governor, allegedly substituted delegates in seven Local Government Areas, which make up Kaduna Central Zone with his loyalists and domestic aides to enable him use them to his advantage at the party primaries.