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Ex-Senator unhappy about Katsina APC congress

By Michael Jegede

Former Senate Majority Whip and chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Katsina State, Senator Kanti Bello, has expressed disappointment over the way the state congress was conducted in Katsina, while commending the outcome of the party's national convention.

Bello, who represented Katsina North Senatorial District between 2003 and 2011 said the group led by former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Masari hijacked the entire process leaving the other groups in the state party with nothing.

Speaking in an interview in Abuja, Bello noted that election was never conducted for the various positions except the chairmanship and therefore wondered how a group in the party would come out to say they won all the seats.

According to the erstwhile lawmaker, there are three groups in Katsina APC, which include the Masari group, his group and the group led by the younger brother of the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua.

Hear Bello: 'I am really happy that at least at last we were able to achieve a national convention. There may be one problem or the other. But at least it was a successful convention. A lot of people who emerged were by consensus, negotiation and discussions. That is what politics is all about. The national convention was very successful and I am happy about its outcome. But our state congress in Katsina is unfortunate. We held our congress just about two days before the national convention. So, it was very, very tight. So, when we were doing the elections only the chairmanship election took place on the understanding that after the election of the chairman, whichever structure emerges, then the other remaining positions will be shared pro-rata between the various groups based on the outcome of their electoral votes, which if you want the party to progress and you want to carry everybody along, it is a natural thing to do. This was my understating; it is really my understanding. I talked to the congress committee chairman, and he confirmed to me that that was what the understanding is all about. But to our surprise after the chairman has emerged from the (Aminu) Masari group, which is a combination of Masari, members of the house of Reps, and the Senators group with about 1000 votes. Our group had 800 votes. And we know what we did. To even get the 800 we had to soft-pedal because of certain interest. We don't want the party to be divided. It is deliberate. It is not because we don't know what they were doing to manipulate the election. We knew. But we accepted it as a family for us to move forward. It took us almost two months to conduct the congress. But it is so unfortunate after the result has been attained. We come in to the national convention. Then, suddenly this man who won the chairmanship and his group came out and said that they have won everything. That they are not willing to accept what is in the agreement.'

Describing the action of the Masari group as unfair and ungentlemanly, and insisting that the exercise was inconclusive, Bello added: 'It is my belief that the newly elected members of the national excos would look particularly into the case of Katsina and see that justice is done. I didn't want to say this because I have refrained from talking to the press. But I want to make it abundantly clear that we are not going to accept anything short of two things. One, it is either we share these things pro-rata or in the alternative we finish the congresses, whichever way they feel they want to do it, it must be nothing short of these two options.'

FROM MICHAEL JEGEDE
MEDIA PRACTITIONER
ABUJA