Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, says all members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state are welcome to participate in the party congresses, assuring them of their safety.
Bello said this in reaction to claims that his government has hijacked the congress.
James Faleke, running mate to the late Abubakar Audu in the 2015 governorship election in the state, had advised his supporters against participating in the congress.
Reacting to the allegations, Kingsley Fanwo, spokesman to Bello, told TheCable that Faleke and his members are only cooking excuses to boycott the congress because they cannot face other party members.
Describing them as “diaspora politicians”, Fanwo also said they have stayed away from the party since Bello assumed office, and failed to participate in its activities.
“Those people making the allegations, we need to ask them where they have been in the last two and a half years,” Fanwo said.
“They have stayed away from and abandoned the party. They have not contributed anything to the party. They have not been holding meetings even with party members. All these are in Abuja. They don’t go to Kogi state. They are permanently in Abuja.
“They know they are going to fail because the people have rejected them so they are already cooking up excuses to cover up for their own failures.
“They have constituted themselves into the category you can call diaspora politicians. So, for them to now say it is the governor that has made them so unpopular to the extent that they cannot come and face their party member during the congresses is quite unfortunate.”
Speaking on the alleged threats to their lives, Fanwo said it is just ” figments of their imaginations.” He assured them of their safety throughout the process.
“Who is threatening them? These are just figments of their imaginations. Nobody is threatening them. The congress is open to all members Anyone who is interested can come and participate,” he said.
“Kogi is one of the safest places in Nigeria. You will be afraid only if you are a criminal because we have zero tolerance for criminals.
“The governor has rejuvenated the security architecture of the state so much more that it is no longer conducive for criminals. So, if they have criminal plans, that is the only thing that can make them afraid of coming to the state.
“Everybody is going to be safe before, during and after the congresses. They should tell the people what the real problem is, that they are no more popular, that they have become aliens to their own party members.
“I am giving the assurance that all party members are safe. If you can face your people, come and seek for elective positions in your party.”
He said there was no truth to the claim that Bello handed over the ward congresses to local government area (LGA) administrators to compile names from wards to LGA.
“It is another terrible lie from them from the pit of hell. Nobody is compiling any list anywhere,” he said.
“We have our party constitution and the governor is a respecter of the constitution or any constitution that is binding on him. There are guidelines for the congress.
“So, nobody can sit down anywhere and compile names. People will queue and vote those that are popular to pilot the affairs of the party for the next four years.
“So, the era of compiling lists, which they supervised four years ago, is no more tenable now. In the primaries, they hijacked the process. They didn’t allow party executives to choose their candidates.
“They think that Alhaji Yahaya Bello will tow their own path. We will not do that. We will follow guidelines and the constitution of the party.”