BY HENRY UMORU
FORMER Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Malam Nuhu Ribadu, and seven other aspirants will no longer participate in today’s governorship primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Only six aspirants will battle for the ticket of the party. This was the outcome of a crisis resolution meeting held in Abuja on Thursday night by the aspirants, Senate President David Mark and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
No longer running
Others who withdrew are the son of former National Chairman of PDP, Awwal Bamanga Tukur; former Minister of state, Foreign Affairs, Dr. Aliyu Idi Hong; Andrawus Sawa; James Barka; General Aliyu Kama; Markus Gundiri and Abubakar Girei.
Those in the race
The six aspirants still in the race for the party’s ticket are former Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Political Matters, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, Erstwhile Military Administrator of Lagos and Borno states, Brig. General Mohammed Buba Marwa, the immediate Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, Dr. Ahmed Modibbo Mohammed; Dr. Umar Ardo, Acting Governor Umaru Fintiri, and Jerry Kumdisi.
However, it was resolved that those who participate in today’s primary will not take part in the February 2015 poll.
The bye-election is to fill the vacancy created by the impeachments of Governor Murtala Nyako and his deputy, Bala Ngilari. The new governor will only serve for seven months to complete Nyako’s tenure, while whoever is elected in February will take over from him in May 2015. The crisis meeting, which lasted for four hours, from 9pm on Thursday to 1am yesterday, was held at the Banquet Hall of the State House.
After the primary, it was also agreed that all the aspirants will back and work for the standard bearer to ensure a massive victory for the PDP on October 11.
There had been fears among PDP members that the high number of aspirants and a bitter contest for the governorship ticket could tear the party apart ahead of the polls. The All Progressives Congress (APC), to which the impeached governor belongs, is also a strong contender for the position, with former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar getting a candidate ready to upset the PDP.
With the decision at the crisis resolution meeting, the party’s ticket will now be zoned to Adamawa Central District for the 2015 election. Ribadu, who is from Yola in the central district which has never produced a governor in the state, is expected to benefit from the arrangements.
Nyako and his deputy were impeached on July 15, 2014 on allegations of corruption and gross misconduct, but they are still in court to upturn the sack.
Why Ribadu, others withdrew
Meanwhile, the national leadership of the PDP yesterday gave an insight into why eight of the 14 aspirants including Nuhu Ribadu stepped down for October 11 bye- election.
Addressing Journalists at PDP National Secretariat, National Secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo, stressed that whoever wins on the party’s ticket in the October 11 polls would not contest in 2015.
Oladipo who doubles as Secretary of the PDP Strategic Committee for Adamawa Gubernatorial Election, said the seat has been zoned to the Central Senatorial District next year.
Oladipo who revealed that the already completed and submitted Nomination and Expression of Interest forms paid by those who have voluntarily withdrawn from the 2014 race remain valid for the 2015 contest, said: “The present contest is about the completion of the tenure of the impeached governor.
“Only six aspirants chose to contest in 2014 and forfeit their right to contest in 2015 should they win the 2014 race. All aspirants endorsed the results of the last ward congress held in Adamawa and gave irrevocable commitment to work assiduously and loyally towards the success of the PDP in 2014 governorship bye-election and the 2015 general elections.”