While speaking in an interview with PRNigeria, the All Progressive Congress (APC) National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, said the allegation against Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, of collecting kickbacks from contractors, would not substitute his name for the 2019 election.
According to PREMIUM TIMES, Issa-Onilu, who was asked whether the embattled governor will eventually be dropped as APC’s Kano gubernatorial candidate in view of published video clips, said Ganduje remains the standard bearer of APC in next year’s governorship election.
He clearly pointed out that the party lacks the power to change or arbitrarily substitute a bonafide candidate, adding that: “The INEC guidelines on the selection or replacement of candidates are explicit. It doesn’t confer power on political parties to whimsically, arbitrarily or recklessly just substitute a candidate on frivolous grounds.
“It is only when a candidate dies, voluntarily withdraws from contesting an election, or a court pronouncement that a candidate can then be substituted or replaced, if you like.
“So as things stand, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, regardless of the unfortunate development is and still remains APC’s Kano guber candidate. Don’t forget that the governor has sued the publisher of the online media for defamation of character,” he concluded
Meanwhile, a top party stalwart in Kano State who pleaded anonymity said that political parties in Nigeria collect donations and commissions from individuals and groups to fund electoral campaigns and mobilisation of members for political rallies.
The politician, who claimed to be actively involved in APC fund mobilisation in the state, said: “There were agreements reached as early as 2016 on preparation for likely bye-elections and re-elections in 2019 where suggestions were made to accept donations and commissions from patrons and contractors in the state who are beneficiaries of government’s gesture.
“These donations are not for Ganduje, but for the party. They are to be deployed into funding the party’s activities and campaigns for the re-election bid of Mr President, the Governor and other APC aspirants for 2019 general elections.
“Political donations and payment of commission are common and legitimate means of appreciation and reward for patronage. Even in media organizations, generous discounts and commissions are provided up to 30 to 40%.
“Ganduje has therefore done nothing dishonourable and scandalous as other state governors are also beneficiaries of financial gifts, rewards and donations from people who can afford to give.”
Another insider in the party and top-functionary in Kano State Government, who equally spoke in confidence, said though Ganduje may have been caught receiving bribes, he has delivered beyond expectations as Kano governor and remains the most credible flagbearer of the party to guarantee a landslide victory in the next year’s governorship election.
“The governor has executed several beneficial projects across the states. If at all he hasn’t performed excellently, will President Buhari have applauded him in Paris? Nothing can be more significant than Mr President assuredly commending Ganduje on a diplomatic trip.”