…Chides Fintiri-led committee
By Dirisu Yakubu
With barely two months to the November 16 governorship election in Kogi state, a fresh crisis has hit the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, following the decision of Abubakar Ibrahim to head to the court seeking the nullification of the election of Engineer Musa Wada a fortnight ago.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, spokesman of the Abubakar Ibrahim Campaign Organisation, Shaba Ibrahim, said the decision to seek legal redress was informed by the desire to ensure that justice prevails in the party as it concerns the election of its flag bearer for the poll.
The campaign spokesman who faulted the process that produced Wada as candidate of the party ahead of the election, questioned the authenticity of 600 votes recorded in favour of the winner
He also chided the electoral committee headed by Governor Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa state for allegedly doing a poor job of the primaries.
He said, “We as democratic and law abiding people have taken steps to seek redress within the confines of the law. We have approached the court to seek redress because this matter is not otherwise subjudiced, we will not go into many details.
“But suffice to state that we have won and pray to the court that Alhaji Abubakar Ibrahim be and ought to be declared as the candidate of the PDP based on the valid votes recorded at the primaries. We are not unaware of insinuations going round that we seek to void the entire process. That is far from the truth! Our prayer is sole and that is we won the election and ought to be so declared. We seek no more and we ask for no less.”
Continuing, the campaign spokesman said: “I want us to recall that it was upon the assurances of the chairman of the committee no less a person than Governor of Adamawa State Umar Fintiri that all the materials and the ballot used in the election that was disrupted by gun men on the September 3 have been fully recovered did we consent to the counting and sorting of the ballot and process on September 4, 2019.
“We want to state that it was not until the process of counting had been concluded that the chairman made a u-turn by announcing to the people present including yours sincerely that some 247 ballot papers were missing. It is instructive to note that the margin of lead between the two leading aspirants was and remains 38 votes. In our mind that is substantial.
“Next is the fact that the committee quite strangely accepted from Musa Wada 600 ballot papers brought from the comfort of his home. They didn’t just accept but they also collated and added it to the already sorted 148 votes which now threw Engr Musa votes to 748.
“It is interesting to note that of all the aspirants and their agents, it was only Engr. Musa Wada’s agents or himself that was capable of that feat. That is, in securing his ballot notwithstanding the mayhem that was unleashed on defenseless and helpless people at the venue of the primaries on the September 3, 2019.
“That before the conclusion of the exercise we had laid claims to the missing 247 votes which the committee convienently ignored, and quite interestingly, some days later, the committee announced that those votes purportedly belonged to Senator Dino Melaye. How they came about that finding beats our imagination and that is an issue.
“By simple arithmetic, you will agree with me that if you deduct 600 votes that was brought in from the confines and comfort of the candidates home from the 748 votes that are ascribed to him, our candidate will be leading comfortably.”
Speaking on the outcome of the exercise, Abubakar Ibrahim regretted that Wada was yet to reach out to him, saying, “sadly, not only has the candidate not approached me, but even the appeal committee has not even replied my petition. This is 14 days after, certificate of return has been given to the candidate and for what reason, I still want to know. But none of them, the party or Engr. Musa has addressed it.”
On insinuations of defection within his group, Abubakar said his group would remain in the PDP and press for justice.
“I beg to disagree on that (defection) but you must agree with me that everybody has his or her choices to make. Being a leader, I have to sit down and listen to my own people and find out what is best for all of us. It is not just about me. We unanimously agreed that we need to seek legal redress and that is what is happening right now,” he said.
Supporting this position, Shaba Ibrahim said, “as far as we are concerned, that information is not correct that members of this group are defecting to the APC. It is not impossible however that the APC may be reaching out to members because of the seeming division within the house. But that is not an indication that members are defecting. If we are defecting, we won’t be here.”
Engr. Wada was declared winner of the primary election hours after gunmen reportedly disrupted leading to party officials and supporters running for their dear lives.