A cross section of observers for Saturday’s election into the various offices of the Kogi state chapter of the National Youth Council of Nigeria NYCN have faulted the screening parameters deployed by the council in edging out some aspirants while granting waivers to others.
One of the observers, Ismail Mohammed of ‘Youth in the Gap’ said while the committee granted certain waivers to some aspirants, it disqualified others without extending the waivers to them.
“They introduced a caveat in the middle of the whole process, saying aspirants who have never held positions in their various local government chapters are not eligible to contest. The funny thing is that the council’s constitution is more like a secret document which many of the aspirants cannot even access; again, this caveat was never spelt out before people purchased their forms.
“However, what could detract from the fidelity of the entire process now is that the committee went ahead to clear some aspirants, granting them waivers. Then they disqualified others based on this same provision for which they granted some aspirants waivers”, he explained.
A youth activist, Alabi John who also monitored the screening exercise at the Lokoja Township Stadium advised state officials to steer clear of the council polls.
He said; “What kind of body of youth allows themselves to be barefacedly manipulated by government stooges and vested interests who care little about their welfare? Why is an election fated with so much seeming misgivings and anomalies? If someone from the West can be cleared to contest the election without citing any clause why should someone from Central be disqualified with the same clause? Are the rules guiding the operation of NYCN not same from persons to persons?”
Outgoing chairman of the council, Suleiman Mazai Farouk however defended the process’s, saying though the constitution could not be bent for anyone, the council has a ‘tradition’ of granting waivers to some aspirants who are closer to meeting the requiremets.
“The constitution cannot be bent for anyone. I was once a victim of the same constitution. Nearness to requirements is the key word”, he said.
One of the aspirants for the position of secretary, Abubakar ‘Moon’ Onimisi accused some state actors of trying to influence the outcome of the exercise.
”They have shown resolved determination to disqualify me in as much as I don’t bow into accepting their offer of lower position. The screening was one done with patricidal malice. A constitutional provision that was never used or even seen by the screening/electoral committee was immediately invoked at my turn of screening. The waiver enjoyed by other candidates was denied me. Reasons are that I am not their anointed and that I am too critical of the government of the day”, he alleged.
But Farouk said granting waivers to aspirants should not be interpreted to mean a subversion of the process.
“Even if he (Onimisi) is granted a waiver which is not possible, his organization is not known to the council, so of what effect will the waiver be if he cannot even come as a delegate? Meaning his being in the contest would not stop Abdulrahaman (the other aspirant) from winning; that I am sure of”, he said.