The Kebbi Development Forum (KDF), comprising of retired civil servants in the old Sokoto State and elders statesmen, in Kebbi State, have kicked against the adoption of indirect primaries by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, while lamenting the poor leadership focus of past administrations which, they claimed, have subjected the state to underdevelopment.
Secretary General of the Forum, Alhaji Usman Abubakar, who stated this during a press conference along other elders of the Forum, wondered why the ruling party would allocated direct primary for its presidential primary and order states to decide between indirect and direct primaries to pick their candidates.
According to him, “We, in the KDF, as stakeholders and direct beneficiaries of good governance have found it necessary, at this point in time, to voice our concern over the recent political developments in the country as it affects our State.
“The decision by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of All Progressives Congress (APC) to adopt direct primaries for presidency and allow states to choose between direct and indirect primaries is not only self- serving, counterproductive but clearly runs counter to the principle of fairness, equity and justice.
“APC’s slogan is ‘change’, so one would have expected a clear departure from the impunity of the immediate past, especially as regards to the issue of party internal democracy.
“The implication of this vague directive gave room for certain retrogressive and anti democratic elements to unilaterally hoist or impose party flag-bearers on the good people of Kebbi State.
“The so called consensus, adopting the incumbent Governor as the sole candidate of APC for 2019 and other elective offices reflects a mindset on the part of those unpatriotic elements to perpetrate poor governance on the people of Kebbi State that are already grappling with huge issues of poverty, unemployment, inclusiveness, development and Civil Service discontent.
“How, in a democratic setting, can a few individuals benefiting from the system, simply because they fraudulently acquired party machinery, hijack the will of the majority? Who is afraid of direct primaries?
“Why can’t they follow the footsteps of Mr. President, if they truly hold his principles so dear? Why is direct primaries acceptable at the presidential level, where there is no competition and not applicable at state where you have multiple aspirants, whose rights have clearly been infringed upon.”
While speaking on bad leaders in Kebbi State, the Forum noted that ” One of the problems of leadership in Kebbi State, over the years, has been in the area of recruitment of leaders.
“We, therefore, condemn, in very strong terms, any attempt by political parties to narrow the recruitment process into political offices by presenting charlatans and unscrupulous people, as this can only further guaranty the continued underdevelopment of Kebbi State.
“We note that, in spite of its flaws and choice limitation, especially in the case of those aspiring for governorship position in the state, direct primaries, that guarantees every party member to elect people of their choice as party flag-bearers, remains the most viable option. This also guarantees the emergence of responsive and responsible leadership.
“Another challenge of democratic dispensation in Kebbi State is the poor leadership examples and capacity, occasioned by serious lack of accountability on the part of the successive Governments.
“This is further aggravated by lack of strong opposition and elites’ complacency, cynicism, docility and failure to provide leadership to their communities and immediate environment.
“Indeed the inability of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to effectively challenge the ruling APC has regrettably turned Kebbi into a one party state.
“Thus, in spite of its incredibly vast human and natural resources, Kebbi State has some of the worst indices in human development, with an alarming and dangerously high level of poverty.
“Its educational sector is in shambles, so is the health sector and indeed most of the sectors.”
While corroborating the Forum Secretary, an Elder in the Forum, Alhaji Adamu Mohammed Idris, lamented that many of them fought hard, sacrifice many things and their lives to ensure the creation of Kebbi State but they regretted that their sacrifices had wasted, not yielding any development for the benefits of the people.
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They added that, “Though the decay cannot be blamed on the current administration alone, the apparent lack of vision, focus, sincerity of purpose, abundant recklessness with public funds and wanton disregard for due process by this administration is unmatched and has further aggravated the rot in the sectors.
“Even in such areas where the state has comparative advantage like agricultural sector and received over N17 billion from the CBN, has not fared any better.
“If 40 per cent of this amount is directly channeled to genuine farmers, with good management, a huge positive impact would have been made.
“Instead, millions of funds that could have been channeled to improve the condition of the people have been allegedly spent in dubious public relations, creating a rosy but false picture of Agricultural transformation in Kebbi State”.