Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State, yesterday, advised the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to refund the money paid by aspirants to obtain expression of interest and nomination forms for various offices to douse tension.
The governor made the appeal during a consultative meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC with its governorship candidates, state chairmen and state secretaries of the party which was held in Abuja.
“God has made it possible that we emerged candidates by defeating our opponents. What we should do is to extent hands of fellowship to them and like the national chairman said, make them part of your campaign council. It will help to douse tension and give them sense of belonging,” he said.
“What we are doing in Niger State which we feel can help in other states is to refund them (aspirants) the money they used in buying the forms; it will help douse a lot of tension,” he said.
Daily Trust reports that the APC had collected billions of naira from thousands of aspirants that aspired for various positions, including governorship, national and state assemblies.
However, many of the aspirants were not allowed to showcase their popularity during the primaries, considering that tickets for many of the elective positions were determined through consensus or outright endorsement of incumbents.
The development left the ruling party in disarray in many states, with some aggrieved aspirants calling for refund of their monies alleging that they were short-changed.
Earlier in the meeting yesterday, the APC leadership led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole likened the decision of Governors Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and Rochas Okorocha (Imo) to support their preferred governorship candidates on the platforms of other political parties to anti-party activities.
The APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in a statement issued after the consultative meeting, said the party frowned at activities of chieftains in some states.
He said a situation where leaders engaged in selective support by picking and choosing candidates to campaign for amounted to anti-party posturing.
He said the meeting also encouraged the candidates and other stakeholders to domesticate the ongoing peace and reconciliation efforts initiated by the NWC.
In his speech, Oshiomhole said 20 new APC governorship candidates and nine sitting governors would run for victory at the March 2, 2019 election.