By Ben Agande
Abuja—The National Secretary of the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Professor Wale Oladipo, yesterday, insisted that Mr Jimoh Ibrahim remains the party’s candidate for the Ondo State governorship election.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja yesterday, Professor Oladipo said Ibrahim emerged as the party’s candidate in a duly conducted primaries.
According to him, the Independent National Electoral Commission as an umpire should be neutral and abide by the ruling of an Abuja High Court which said that only the candidate from Sheriff faction of the party should be recognised.
He said Ondo State was very important to the party and it would do everything possible to keep it.
“We are determined to keep Ondo State. The NWC decided that for us to win that election, we need to give full backing to our candidate, Jimoh Ibrahim” he said.
But the position of the secretary was in sharp contrast to the position of Sheriff who said that he would abide by any decision arrived at by INEC on the candidate for the election.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Inuwa Bwala, said he will abide by the decision of INEC on the party’s candidate in the Ondo State governorship election.
Ibrahim and Mr Eyitayo Jegede, who emerged as candidate in a primary election organised by the National Caretaker Committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi are laying claim to the PDP governorship ticket in the November 26 governorship election.
Oladipo said his group was not asking for any favour from INEC for Ibrahim in the governorship election, noting that all it was imploring the electoral body to do is to obey the order a Federal High Court in Abuja, which stated that the business man is the authentic candidate of the PDP in Ondo State. He said, “we know of no other candidate but Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim. A court of competent jurisdiction has said it, it has reiterated its position in another order which INEC itself has acknowledged receipt of. So, we are waiting to see the magic the electoral umpire is planning to perform.
“If they do otherwise, we will pursue the matter and ensure that the INEC staff involved is jailed for contempt of court” .
Speaking on the PDP crisis, Oladipo said both Sheriff and Makarfi are committed to resolving the leadership crisis in the party, but stated that the reconciliation must be done in accordance with the law.
“While we are preaching reconciliation, we will not allow anybody to trample on the constitution of the country. Jimoh Ibrahim’s candidature can not be sacrificed on the altar of reconciliation”, the PDP leader said.