By EMMANUEL AZIKEN, Political Editor
LOKOJA—The controversy shadowing the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the December 3, gubernatorial election in Kogi State has deepened following the insistence of the winner of the first primary on maintaining his mandate despite his replacement last week.
Alhaji Jibrin Isah, who won the first primary conducted on January 9, 2011, before the postponement of the election, insisted last night that neither the Electoral Act nor the Constitution contemplated the replacement of the candidate chosen by a party in the event of the postponement of an election.
Isah was replaced in a fresh primary conducted by PDP last week by Captain Idris Wada, reportedly an in-law of the outgoing Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris.
In a statement issued by his Media Consultant, Phrank Shaibu, Sunday, Isah said by provisions of the electoral guidelines for primary elections 2010 of PDP which he said is still in force that he is still the candidate of the party for the gubernatorial election.
Citing article 23 in part iv of the electoral guidelines, he said his nomination remains “sacrosanct and untampered with.”
as he(Jibrin Isah) is alive, has not withdrawn from the PDP and indeed remains an active member and he is not in any way incapacitated.
Also citing the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and the provisions of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), he said that there is no provision either expressly or imputed that allowed the nomination of a candidate for an election to lapse on account of a postponement of the election as happened in Kogi State.
He said: “Furthermore, we can’t but refer to the preamble of the electoral guidelines which clearly stated in paragraphs (i) and (ii) quoting copiously from section 87 (i) (a) and section 33 of the electoral act thus:
(i) Candidates of political parties will only emerge through primary elections dully conducted and monitored by INEC
(ii) Political parties are NO LONGER allowed to change or substitute candidates whose names have been submitted to INEC, except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate”.
“It is therefore not surprising that, what was designed to be a celebrated and televised primary election on the 22nd September, 2011, was nothing but a stage play that reminds one of Soyinka’s Kongi’s harvest, doctored and stage-managed by the leader of the party in the state so as to mislead the unsuspecting public. No wonder, credible politicians and leaders of our great party withdrew from the contest because of its illegality and some refused to give it credibility by making an appearance. “
Isah thus enjoined his supporters to remain steadfast as his programme for rallies and electioneering will be rolled out in few days.
Isah boycotted last weekend’s fresh primary following a court order which reportedly stopped the fresh primary.