A cross section of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders in Adamawa state have kicked against the purported attempt by an alleged group within the party hierarchy to zone the governorship post, adding that a by-election cannot be zoned to deny other interested aspirants.
A gubernatorial aspirant, Dr. Umar Ardo, while speaking to Guardian newspaper on Monday, August 25, 2014 in a phone interview from Abuja however denied the allegation, adding that party stakeholders had not discussed such arrangements. He said the allegations where cooked up by unpopular candidates who wanted to obtain power through the back door.
In Ardo’s words: “This is a by-election, so no one can even think of zoning. If there is anything like zoning, it should be for the zone of the ousted governor. But we aspirants from that zone want the best for Adamawa people, so we say that it should be an open contest for all. Those that are afraid to face other aspirants at the primaries should quit the race. I want to repeat it that there is no zoning in this by-election,”
Meanwhile, all the 14 aspirants who applied to run under the PDP returned their nomination forms on Monday, August 25, 2014, just as the party formally closed its doors to fresh applications.
The aspirants sang a common song about the need to address the developmental needs of Adamawa people.
Former Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Mohammed Modibbo, who is one of the aspirants, said the development problems of Adamawa State were caused by imposition of candidates in the past.
He challenged all other aspirants to present themselves before the people for election and avoid lobbying godfathers for political anointment and eventual imposition.
“Our tragedy in Adamawa arose from imposition of candidates and we cannot allow that to happen now. So, I have decided to answer the call of Adamawa people to become their governor and address the serious education and developmental problems,” he declared.
Speaking to journalists after submitting his nomination form, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, said he abandoned his presidential ambition to seek the number one seat in Adamawa to serve the people.
He said: “I dropped my presidential ambition all for service. I am prepared to serve at any level, including state and local level. I can even be a councillor in a local government area. I am passionate about uplifting the living standard of our people.”
Ribadu, however declared that he was not bordered about how his application for waiver was treated, adding that the leadership of the party would handle the rest.
The PDP Youth President, southern zone, Mr. Justine Kalakala, who also debunked the alleged zoning of the governorship by-election, accused Ribadu’s supporters of being behind rumour that the race has been zoned to central zone.
Kalakala, who pointed out that based on PDP’s constitution, Ribadu was not qualified to contest the by-election on the platform of the party, cautioned against setting precedence that will in future create crisis for the party.
On Sunday, August 24, 2014 business and other activities were grounded in Yola, the Adamawa state capital for several hours as youths and workers took over major streets protesting against the visit of Nuhu Ribadu to the PDP secretariat to declare his governorship ambition.
Ribadu, who was accompanied to the secretariat by top All Progressives Congress (APC) members and officials of ousted governor Murtala Nyako, was booed by the youth of the party.
He was escorted by former secretary to the state government and ex-interim chairman of APC, Mr. Kobis Ari Thanimu, Alhaji Minjinyawa Kugama, Mr. Phinea P. Elisha, Special Adviser to Nyako and others.
Kobis has just been released on bail by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) where he is been investigated for fraud. He is speculated to be the deputy governor candidate to Ribadu.
Spokesmen of the protesting groups alleged plans by some top APC members to sponsor Ribadu’s governorship ambition so as to find a way to return Nyako’s loyalists in government and cover the alleged massive fraud he committed.
Mr. Leader Teneke, the state chairman of Adamawa Youth for Democracy stated that the people of the state were already aware of plans by Nyako’s supporters to bring one of the APC members and use alleged stolen funds to sponsor such candidate for election.
“Before what the people of Adamawa witnessed on Saturday, August 23, 2014 evening at the PDP secretariat, one of the governorship aspirants, Markus Gundiri, said that the agenda APC is pursuing by sponsoring Ribadu for the governorship race is to cover Nyako up. We all saw it very clear on Saturday evening, Kobis, Kugama, Elisha and the entire top members of Ribadu’s entourage were not PDP members, but APC, so how come his supporters are from another party and Ribadu is contesting from another party,” he queried.
Teneke, who cautioned PDP against any attempt to sell the party’s ticket to APC, warned that the youth of Adamawa will not fold their hands and watch their future sold to a section of people that he accused of using politics to achieve their selfish interest at the detriment of the public.
“What they are doing now is to use money to buy votes and subvert the probe on Nyako’s administration. If Ribadu is really free from corruption I beg him to publish his salaries during his life as a police officer and EFCC boss, so that we can now balance it with how much he has spent now. That is the only way he can clear himself of corruption,” he stated.
The state coordinator of Adamawa Senior Workers Association, Alhaji Abubakar Sale Jada, while addressing the protesters at the PDP secretariat said that workers in the state will strongly defend democracy in the state.
Jada, who described Ribadu’s governorship contest as an insult on Adamawa people, pointed out that workers in the state would resist any attempt to mortgage their future.
“I want to tell APC and Ribadu’s group that their plans will not only collapse, but it is dead and buried. We the people of Adamawa cannot be fooled twice,” he said.
“We the workers of Adamawa are urging those aspirants who have the ambition to contest governorship election before Nyako was sacked from office to wait for the 2015 general election, because it is going to be a huge lose to them, we cannot vote anyone apart from Fintiri during this by-election. The young man has proven to us that he has a vision to restore the state’s lost glory and we workers are behind him,” he stated.
Jada, who tasked Adamawa workers to embark on massive campaign for the Acting Governor, Fintiri, pointed out that their action was based on the 30 days revolution carried out by him within a short time in office.
He urged the national leadership of the party not to grant waiver to Ribadu in order to avoid what he described as influx of political job seekers in the PDP.