Kogi is Not Governor Yahaya Bello’s Estate – Murtala Ajaka

Alhaji Murtala Ajaka is a governorship aspirant in the just-concluded controversial primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi state to pick a candidate for November 2023 election. In this interview with CHAMBA SIMEH, Ajaka provided an insight to what really transpired in the primary, the alleged manipulation to impose a candidate, among other issues bordering on the development of the state.

How would you describe the primary election held in Kogi state and in which you were one of the contestants seeking to be a candidate of the APC?

The so called primary of the APC in Kogi state was a charade. The APC came to power on the mantra of change. Our people were convinced that the best way to go was change. We all joined the APC as the only credible alternative going forward. But today after investing all our trust in the party seeking a new type of politics dispensation that emphasises a leadership recruitment process that gives the people the right at every point in time to choose their leaders, the present leaders of the party in connivance with Governor Yahaya Bello want to return us to the days of yore where godfathers were the only determinants of who governs the state. I can assure you that our people have matured and politically sophisticated that if the party’s leadership with wants to allow the state governor to preside over the death of the party in Kogi state, we shall not allow it.

The primary election held on Saturday was adjudged by many as controversial. What really was the problem with the election?

In my own case, they came up with a court order at the 11th hour with the singular intention to stop me from participating. A court of competent jurisdiction gave me the go ahead to participate in the primary after the the powers that be in the state orchestrated a stop Murtala Ajaka by all means court injunction against me. The present governor is from Kogi central and it was the expectation of the peace loving members of the party in the state that a consensus should have been reached for power to rotate to Kogi west or east. But what did we get? a destabilising force  by the governor well rehearsed to make an aspirant from the same ward in Kogi central to be the governorship candidate, which even a baby knows is impossible in the state.

How would you rate the chairman of the electoral panel and returning officer for the primaries in Kogi state Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state?

Initially, I thought he was misled to do the bidding of Governor Yahaya Bello. At the 11th hour, he brandished a court order orchestrated by the governor that I have been disqualified from contesting the primary election. I called him up and asked if he was in the state as a judicial panel or an electoral panel? To my surprise, he was evasive and confused. Muslims all over the world are observing the month of Ramadan, and when it dawned on him that at this period it was unexpected of him to be the instrument of a manipulative power seeking and vested interest against the peace and cohesion of the APC in the state, he decided to opt out. And that was why you did not see him announcing the result of any primary election because there was none. According to the guidelines, only the chairman of the primary election committee is vested with the power of announcing the result of the election if any was held and any deviation from that renders the whole process invalid. Trust me, the announced results by the secretary of the committee is null and void.

Is the party in the state imploding because most of you aspiring to be the governorship candidate of the party in the election coming up later this year have rejected the primary?

I can tell you that the power that be in the APC in the state have shown that they do not have the capacity to lead and the people of the state can no longer be fooled. Gone are the days when our people wander in the wilderness, seeking leaders to recruit to tackle it’s symmetric and assymetric warfare. The aspirants of the party are all honourable men and because of their love for the state, we won’t allow the imposition of any candidate for the simple reason of covering the track of anybody. We will never again allow anyone to play God in Kogi state. Our people know who they want to govern them at any point in time and our call is for all to allow the will of the people to prevail.

Why are you in the forefront of those opposing the process and what do you really want?

I do really appreciate your question. For people like me who are in politics to positively change the narrative of the common people in society and thanking God for giving me the driving vitality to contribute my quota to the development of the state, I think there are basic democratic tenets entrenched in the party that we must to adhere to or fight for it to fester. If democracy is government by the people, for the people and of the people, then we are obligated not to sit back and allow some vested interest destroy that which we have fought for and that is why I am going to fight this manipulation and daylight brigandage. And Insha Allah, it shall not stand.

Some persons are of the view that the fear of Murtala Ajaka is the beginning of wisdom for the power that be in their quest to impose their anointed candidate on the people. What is the secret behind your success in such a short time in politics?

I think it’s because people see me as the new kid on the block that is in politics to give our people a breadth of fresh air. The people see me as an apostle of the new type of politics dispensation that emphasises development in all its physicality and that we can see. In my personal capacity, I have contributed to the development of my people and they know that I have the capacity to do better. My modest successes so far in politics are the people who are the basis of my politics. My venturing into politics signals the end of an era and an error in the political scene of the state where the people are taken for granted. I am not in it for self but to emancipate the people.

Let us go back to the intra-party politics of the APC. What will you do if the national leadership of your party allows the primary election of the party in the state to stand?

You have forgotten that I am a member of the national working committee of the party and I can vouch at any given time to the leadership and integrity of the present NWC of the party led by the party chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu. We are going to sit down with the leadership of the party and make sure that any decision taken is for the good of the party and democracy in general. I can tell you that the chairman of the primary election committee of the state, the governor of Zamfara state, is a man of honour and his report on the primary election will be just, fair and honourable. No man must be allowed to put his personal interest above that of the people. Yahaya Bello must not be allowed to preside over the death of the party in Kogi state.

What do you really want the NWC of the party to do with the present situation of things in the party in Kogi state?

Simple. Look at the conduct of the primary election of the party in Kogi state and see if it adhered to the guidelines of the party and all verifiable irreducible practices of democracy and come up with a decision that would be applauded by all. This is very important because for the APC as a party, we are known to do what is right in losing than what is wrong to win. The interest of democracy is better served when the people are holistically allowed to recruit leaders. Anything short of that will portray APC as a party that serves the interest of one above that of all.

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