A former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu and seven other People’s Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial aspirants in Adamawa State have stepped down.
The decision was taken at a four- closed door meeting with 14 aspirants, held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The meeting, which ended at 1.00am yesterday, resolved that Ribadu; the son of former national chairman of the party Bamangar Tukur, Auwal Tukur; Aliyu Idi Hong; Andrawus Sawa; James Barka; Gen. Aliyu Kama, Markus Gundiri and Abubakar Girei should shelve their ambition till 2015.
The meeting was attended by Senate President David Mark, PDP Deputy Chairman Uche Secondus, Bauchi State Governor Isa Yuguda, Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dakwambo, Presidential Political Adviser to Rufai Alkali, among others.
With this decision, aspirants that will participate in the primary slated for tomorrow are Acting Governor Umaru Fintiri, Jerry Kumdisi, Ahmed Gulak, Buba Marwa, Umaru Ardo and Ahmed Modibbo.
The meeting resolved that those who stepped down would run for the governorship in 2015; while those contesting now would not run for the position next year with the idea of a power shift to Adamawa Central Senatorial District.
The meeting also resolved that other aspirants must support anyone that emerges the party’s flag bearer for the October 11 gubernatorial bye-election in the state.
Addressing State House journalists after the meeting, the state chairman of the PDP, Joel Madaki, said: “14 aspirants contesting for the position earlier have now reduced to six aspirants due to this meeting. It is a very welcome idea.
“Nobody was forced to step them. Those who stepped down did so voluntarily in order to wait to contest for the position in 2015. The six aspirants contesting this election are Ahmed Gulak, Buba Marwa, Ahmed Modibbo, Dr. Umar Ardo, Acting Governor Umaru Fintiri, and Jerry Kumdisi.”
A contestant, Ahmed Gulak, also spoke to journalists thus: “The outcome of the meeting was fantastic. We met as family members of PDP, even before coming here all the aspirants in Adamawa have unanimously resolved that after the primaries, in a free, fair primaries, anybody that emerges will get our support.
“Today (Friday), in this meeting, the number of the aspirants has been drastically reduced to six, which is manageable. I am contesting, Gen. Marwa is contesting, Ahmed Modibbo is contesting, Dr. Umar Ardo is contesting, Hon. Jerry Kumdisi is contesting, and Acting Governor Fintiri is contesting.
“And we’ve resolved to go into the primaries without rancour, without acrimony and to come out of it as peaceful co-existing members. And at the end of it all, anybody that emerges, we’ll all queue behind him. And if I emerge as the candidate, they’ll all queue behind me. It’s going to be a family affair and there’ll be no losers.”
Asked if he was intimidated by Ribadu’s presence in the race, Gulak said: “Nuhu Ribadu or not, you know, I’m prepared for this election. Even, if 14 of us are going into this election, I’m confident of my ability, of my capability, of my mobilization, of my sensitization that the delegates will select me.”
One of those who stepped down, Idi Hong, said: “Peace-building, negotiation, give-and-take, everything went well. We’ve been given a caveat and one thing we’ve succeeded in extracting from this meeting is that the meeting started with a preamble that whoever is going to contest and if he happens to win as a governor, he won’t have the right to contest the 2015 election.
“Some of us think that our aspiration, our ambition, our vision for Adamawa is a long term and more articulate vision and not a stop-gap six months aspiration. For that reason, we said it’s wiser that if you’re going to do something to change the fortune of Adamawa, you need a longer period of time. So, we decided that it’s not wise for you to go into this aspiration for six months. Two, we’ve also been able to have on record that whoever is going to emerge as governor won’t contest in 2015.
“And it has also been unanimously agreed that because Adamawa Central has not been able to produce governor of the state before. It’s on record that the Presidency and the party have accepted that the aspiration for the PDP nomination for 2015 will be strictly for contestants from Adamawa Central. It’s not negotiable. So, most of us from Adamawa Central have agreed to this position and about eight of us have withdrawn from the race. We’re going to remain members of the party and we’re going to contest in 2015 because it’ll give us the opportunity to make that transformation that we want to change Adamawa into.”