By JIDE AJANI, BEN AGANDE, KOLADE LAREWAJU, HENRY UMORU & OLA AJAYI
ABUJA—WHILE confusion over the state of the list from Ogun State persisted, yesterday night, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said all candidates had to wait for the final list to determine whose name was submitted by the political parties.
The case of Ogun State was particularly intriguing as there were fears that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, may have lost his ticket due to the on going power play.
But in an interview, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu, said all parties must wait till the day of the release of the final list.
He said: “I cannot make any comment on that because we are still collating and the official list is not ready. The position of the commission is that the official list would be ready on February 6, as stated on the official timetable and schedule of activities issued by INEC. We do not wish to be engaged in bandying of speculations about anything that has to do with the official list that will be ready within the next few days.”
The PDP may be expressing fresh signs of panic over the on-going brouhaha regarding the final candidates’ list it sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the possible backlash.
This came at a time the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, declared that it was ready to welcome as many aggrieved politicians as possible from the other political parties.
Apart from the ACN, which was still expected to hold what may turn out to be its final alliance talks with the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, the growing massive mobilization being carried out by the opposition political parties against the PDP is another cause for worry.
Meanwhile, the Ogun State Government went to town, yesterday, with its story regarding the decision of INEC not to recognize the list of candidates which emerged from the PDP primaries in the state. It insisted that “having gone through all the processes in collaboration with and in close supervision by the party national headquarters,” its list of delegates would be the final one.
We’ll ensure PDP fields candidate —Akala
On his part, Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State said he would fight it out to ensure that Peoples Democratic Party fielded its governorship candidate in the April election
Also yesterday, factional governorship candidate of the ruling PDP in Ogun State, Mr. Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka, blamed the crisis within the party on the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, which he said was bent on destroying the PDP through Jubril Martin-Kuye faction.
By yesterday, INEC had commenced the process of sorting the names of prospective candidates for the April general elections as submitted by the 43 political parties and, as it is turning out, as may be determined by court. The Commission is expected to publish the names of the candidates for the April elections as stipulated in the Electoral Act.
The PDP national headquarters, in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Rufai Alkali, enjoined members not to fret over the outcome of the primaries.
Quoting the Acting National Chairman of the party, Alkali said: “Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed, on behalf of the National Working Committee wishes to congratulate all candidates of the Party for their success in the recently concluded Congresses and National Convention.
“The Acting National Chairman also wishes to commend all those who supervised the conduct of our congresses in spite of the enormous logistic difficulties and time constraints that attended the entire exercise. Now that we have submitted our list of candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission, we call on all members of the PDP, especially those who also sought to fly the flag of our Party unsuccessfully to eschew all bitterness and rancour and rally round our Presidential candidate, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, his running mate Arc Mohammed Namadi Sambo and all candidates of our Party at all levels to ensure that our collective interests as a Party are advanced and protected.
A source close to the party’s NEC told Vanguard that the “way the ACN and the other opposition parties continue to carry on, welcoming some PDP members into their fold, there is need for worry and that is why the party is still carrying out its reconciliation moves.”
Col Abdulmumuni at the Ogun guber primaries
The Chairman of the panel from Abuja, Col Abdulmumi Aminu (Rtd), said the Committee was in the state to conduct the duly recognized gubernatorial primary at the MKO international stadium.
Colonel Aminu told newsmen before proceeding to conduct the election, which had duly certified and accredited delegates voting for the candidates of their choice. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Dimeji Bankole and Governor Gbenga Daniel were among the delegates who cast their votes at the very peaceful and orderly event. The general consensus was that the primary went well and showed that despite the shenanigans of a tiny band of disgruntled members, the PDP in Ogun State is as solid as ever.
He said: “This is the authentic primaries recognized by the party. We are here to conduct gubernatorial primaries for Ogun State. I’m not aware of any parallel or no parallel. I was asked to come to Ogun State to conduct primaries. I got in touch with the chairman of the party and I was brought to the location of the primary and this is what I would do. “If you go and check your newspapers, you would have seen the names of the panel established and you have seen Colonel Abdul Mumuni Aminu and majority of you here know me. So, it’s not a fake arrangement. Thank you very much.”
And after the primaries in which Akinyemi Bashir scored one vote, Tony Ojesina, 1, Rasheed Raji, 1, Ishaq Salako,16, Titi Ajanaku 8, Jide Taiwo 1,Femi Majekodunmi ,1, Kola Bajomo,1 General Tunji Olurin 1 ,Omolodun 2 and Gboyega Isiaka 831, Colonel Muminu proceeded to declare the winner thus: “Today, January 9, 2011, we have conducted the gubernatorial primary of our great party. It has been orderly and peaceful, well conducted and the spirit of our great party has been exhibited and I believe that with what we have witnessed here our party will continue to wax stronger.
“By the power conferred on me as the chairman of the Electoral panel and in consonance with the guidelines of our great party I hereby declare that Prince Gboyega Isiaka having scored 831 votes out of the total vote cast of 866 is hereby declared the duly elected candidate of PDP in Ogun State in the forthcoming gubernatorial election.” Prince Isiaka was then given the opportunity to give his acceptance speech and the primaries of the PDP which Started on December 28, 2010 came to a glorious end.
Earlier, Senator Shuaibu Lawal, National Secretary of the ACN, had told Vanguard that “ACN is the party to beat in this country not the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the next general election. We have what it takes to form the next national government come May this year as the Nuhu Ribadu ticket would sweep the PDP from power, mark my words.
Vanguard learnt that the Ogun State PDP loyal to Governor Daniel believes that what INEC has done is just in obedience to a court order and nothing more than that.
The state government believes that another judicial pronouncement would put paid to what an insider described as “the charade going on”.
Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State said he would fight it out to ensure that the PDP fielded its governorship
candidate in the April election. Akala, who was reacting to a report that the list of the party’s candidates was rejected by the Independent National Electoral Commission in Abuja said after the swearing in of 14 permanent secretaries that he and other chieftains of the party were prepared to make sure that INEC accepted the list.
He said this just as he described as mere speculation the court order that his perceived opponents in the governorship race got from a Federal High Court in Ibadan.
Akala said: “There is time for everything. Have you seen the court order with your eyes? We politicians can say a lot of things. It is just a speculation. And if it is true, it is not uncommon. It is expected from the opposition most especially when they fail.
The governor who looked unruffled by the reports added that he had done everything possible to embrace his perceived opponents and was successful with some of them who were reasonable.
Isiaka blames ACN for PDP crisis
Factional governorship candidate of the ruling PDP in Ogun State, Mr. Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka blamed the crisis within the party on the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, which he said was bent on destroying the PDP through Jubril Martin_Kuye faction.
Isiaka in a statement by his campaign organization said that majority of the people causing the crisis within the party were already members of the ACN and that they were only waiting for the collapse of the PDP through their actions before dumping the party.
The statement signed by Mr. Bolaji Adeniji said: “These detractors are out to destroy the PDP and then proceed to their chosen party (ACN). Majority of these people are already in ACN and have a few of their comrades in the PDP to play a spoiler role.”
“It is sufficiently clear that the Dayo Soremi group and their sponsors are agents of ACN left in the PDP to reduce its fortunes. Their sponsors are from the ACN and they have reserved positions for them once the current problem they are creating destroys the PDP. If not so, why did they take the National Secretariat of the party to court? What this means is that, instead of them losing out in their evil plot, they better destroy the party and everyone loses but they go to the ACN.”
The statement explained that the National Secretariat of the party had stated that it recognized the Joju Fadairo executive and had always related to it and that the illegal harmonization pronouncement by the former National Chairman, Chief Nwodo was reversed at the NEC meeting.
“As the PDP primaries came nearer, the Joju Fadairo Executive screened all aspirants including Speaker Dimeji Bankole, Iyabo Obasanjo_Bello and Gen. Olurin. On the day of the primaries, the panel to conduct the primaries sent from the national secretariat of the party led by Col. Abdulmumuni Aminu conducted the primaries at the designated MKO Abiola Stadium. It was monitored, by INEC and all necessary security agencies