•PDP: The Kano, Ogun challenge
By Dirisu Yakubu
Following the Friday deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for political parties participating in the 2019 general elections to submit the names of their candidates for the governorship and state Houses of Assembly, controversies have continued to trail the conduct of the primaries in some states of the federation.
The electoral umpire had fixed November 2 as the last day for the parties to submit Forms CF001 and CF002 at its headquarters in Abuja, stressing invariably that failure to beat the deadline would mean automatic disqualification from the elections.
At the last count, a total of 79 political parties met the October 18 deadline for the submission of the names of their respective presidential and National Assembly candidates.
On November 9, INEC will comply with Section 31 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) by publishing the particulars of the governorship and House of Assembly candidates.
However, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are battling internal rifts occasioned by the outcome of the primaries.
In Zamfara, INEC says the APC won’t be allowed to field candidates in all elections, a development that has led to a feud between the outgoing governor, Abdulaziz Yari, and the party’s National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. Yari, it would be recalled, prevented the party from conducting primary elections in the state, saying the security of the electoral panel couldn’t be guaranteed.
Meanwhile, Imo and Ogun states remain dicey for APC following a worsening relationship between Oshiomhole and Governors Rochas Okorocha (Imo) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun).
Okorocha’s failure to instal his son in-law, Uche Nwosu, as the governorship candidate of the APC in Imo, has led the governor to predict doom for the party, which, in his estimation, may lose five million votes nationwide in the 2019 polls.
For Amosun, his grouse with the leadership of the APC is his refusal to hand over Ogun to “a gang of expansionists,” a statement that elicited anger from Oshiomhole last week.
The party National Chairman sees Amosun as a bad loser who, after failing to have his preferred successor, Adekunle Akinlade, clinch the Ogun governorship ticket, has resorted to behaving like an emperor.
“Our constitution does not recognize emperors. There are no emperors in the APC.
If anybody attempts to invent himself as an emperor, it will be an enterprise in futility,” Oshiomhole said of Amosun on Friday.
He did not stop there as, at a different media parley, he had these words for Okorocha as well:
“What I am not able to do for Okorocha is to assist him with the instrument of the APC to help him to build a political dynasty. We have prepared the name of Senator Hope Uzodinma and submitted to INEC.
“If Governor Okorocha chose to relocate to the villa and use the grounds of Villa to intimidate me to create a dynasty, I won’t accept it. I will uphold the truth in the best interest of the APC members and indeed of the APC people in Imo State.”
Advantage of chaos
Last week, INEC, in a letter addressed to Prince Uche Secondus, the National Chairman of the PDP, had said it would, in compliance with the ruling of a Federal High Court, accept the list of candidates submitted to it by the Adebayo Dayo-led faction of the party in Ogun.
But the PDP quickly addressed a press conference, saying INEC had no power to accept a list of candidates from a state chapter. One of its expelled members and the arrowhead of the Dayo-led group, Senator Buruji Kashamu, lauded the ruling of the court.
In a chat with Sunday Vanguard on the matter, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, accused the umpire of trying to impose candidates on the PDP in the 2019 elections.
“There is no crisis in Ogun as far as we know. It is only the National Working Committee that can submit names of candidates and this we have done. INEC is claiming to be obeying a court order but it will end in futility. Our candidates emerged from credible elections witnessed by INEC itself,” Ologbodiyan said.
Although evasive on what is happening in its Kano chapter, the publicity scribe said the leadership of the PDP was doing all it could to resolve the “misunderstandings” amicably.
He added that the party had reached out not only to states where the APC is expecting crisis but also across other states of the federation to swell up its support base ahead of the polls.
While sharing the prediction of Okorocha of a gloomy outing for the APC in 2019, Ologbondiyan said the PDP will go the whole hog to restore good governance after the polls next year.