The party appears divided over his choice because a large number of its member in Kogi, and at the national level feel to ignore or sweep under the carpet some of the violations of Audu, may alienate a large chunk during the election.
The aspirant who ran against Audu, Yahaya Bello had written a petition to the national body concerning issues bothering on the ineligibility of Audu to contest.
Aside from the fact that Audu lied about his N11 Billion graft case with the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), he also violated Article 14 (III) e) of the 2014 Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for Public Office which allows such party officers to vote as statutory delegates.
Audu did not resign his position as a BOT member before the election because he voted for himself in the election by virtue of his membership of the BOT pursuant to Article 14 (III) e) of the 2014 Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for Public Office which allows such party officers to vote as statutory delegates.
But, Pointblanknews.com sources hinted that Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has prevailed on the party to ignore the report of its Appeal committee led by Sam Jaja.
Sources close to the APC NEC told Pointblanknews.com that Audu had reached out to Tinubu to see that the report of the Appeal Committee is discarded at the forthcoming APC NEC meeting scheduled to hold on Tuesday, 6th October, 2015 in Abuja.
According to a source who pleaded anonymity said that “ Asiwaju has been reaching out on Audu’s behalf to ensure that the report of the Appeal Committee is not implemented.
It was gathered that even though the time to effect disqualification has passed, there are moves to compel Audu to step down for a preferred candidate
The appeal committee recommended that Audu be disqualified and the first runner up in the contest Alhaji Yahaya Bello (FairPlus) be made the party’s standard bearer.
One of the committee members, Tunde Imolehin, told Pointblanknews.com on Saturday “ we have submitted our report to the party, as scheduled”
The report which was signed by the three members of the Appeal committee, Dr. Sam Jaja, Barr. Ahmad El-Marzuq and Arc. Tunde Imolehin recommended that “the Party should immediately disqualify or nullify the purported emergence of the respondent (Abubakar Audu) as the candidate of the APC in the upcoming Governorship election in Kogi State, and the name of the petitioner (Yahaya Bello) being the aspirant with who scored the second highest votes and who is constitutionally eligible, be immediately forwarded to INEC as the candidate of the APC in the election.”
In arriving at the decision the report stated that “Abubakar Audu was served a letter of invitation which was duly received by him, but he voluntarily absented himself from the sitting of the Committee set up in accordance with the APC Constitution and the 2014 Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for Public Office”
Following the conduct of the governorship primaries in Kogi state which Audu pulled a total of 1104 votes to defeat his closest rival Alhaji Yahaya Bello who pulled 703 votes, Bello had petitioned the national leadership of the APC in a petitioned titled “ Petition Against the Emergence of Prince Abubakar Audu as the Flag Bearer of the All Progressive Congress for the Upcoming Gubernatorial Election in Kogi State: Appeal for his Disqualification and Fielding of Alhaji Yahaya Bello in his Stead”
In the petition, Alhaji Yahaya Bello accused Audu of not resigning as a member of the BOT of the party, as stipulated in the Constitution of the party in Article (I) iii that states that “any such party office holder or officer of the party who is interested in contesting for an elective position within or at a general election shall resign 30 days before the date of the nomination or party primary for that office he is contesting for.”
“We know Prince Abubakar Audu did not resign his position as a BOT member before the election because he voted for himself in the election by virtue of his membership of the BOT pursuant to Article 14 (III) e) of the 2014 Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for Public Office which allows such party officers to vote as statutory delegates” Part of the findings of the report was that there was video evidence showing Prince Abubakar Audu casting his vote at the primary election.
Also in his petition, Alhaji Yahaya Bello also stated that there is an indictment and pendency of criminal trial bordering on financial crimes against Prince Abubakar Audu by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The report also stated as part of its findings that “the Committee found that the respondent in his Nomination Form while providing an answer to the question if he had any pending criminal cases against him stated that he had a pending “EFCC Political Case” against him. But when we visited the EFCC headquarters to make enquiries and verify these allegations, we confirmed that there was a pending Criminal Trial: FRN V. Prince Abubakar Audu & 1 Other Charge No. FCT/CR/115/2013 for offences bordering on abuse of office, theft of public funds and money laundering all committed during the Respondents tenure as the Executive Governor of Kogi State between 1999 and 2003”
The report also stated that “ on the overall the Committee finds it shocking that the Kogi State Governorship Screening Committee successfully screened the Respondent and gave him a clean bill of health to contest the primary elections of the party.” It also read that “ the Respondent ought to have been prevented from voting as a statutory delegate and for himself at the primary elections.”
A source told Pointblanknews.com “ It is a problem if you ask me. Audu and Tinubu feel if they arm twist the party to ignore the report, all will be well, but it is a mistake. Right now the party is divided over Audu’s choice.”
Our source continued “ The issues are legitimate. First you lied about your case with EFCC. while providing an answer to the question if he had any pending criminal cases against him, he stated that he had a pending “EFCC Political Case” against him. But the EFCC records confirmed that there was a pending Criminal Trial