Adamawa guber race: PDP, Presidency in dilemma over Ribadu
Former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu may not get a smooth sail with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket for the Adamawa governorship by-election after all.
Indications emerged yesterday that 13 other aspirants in the race have ruled out consensus option through which Ribadu is expected to emerge as the party’s flag bearer.
The aspirants, The Nation gathered, have insisted on having a free and transparent primary election with a level play ground for all the contestants in the race.
The PDP has fixed the primary election for September 6.
Ribadu had, on August 16, announced his defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP. He obtained the party’s governorship nomination form on Tuesday, three days after he joined the party.
Prominent among the aspirants jostling for the ticket are a former Minister of State for Health, Dr. Idi Hong; Adamawa State Acting Governor, Umar Fintiri and former political adviser to the President, Ahmed Gulak.
Also in the race are a former Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Ahmed Moddibo; son of the immediate past national chairman of the PDP, Awwal Tukur and former Lagos State Military Administrator, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa.
They have all paid the mandatory N11 million the party demanded for the nomination and expression of interest forms.
Our correspondent further gathered that the 13 aspirants and their backers are said to have cautioned the leadership of the PDP and the Presidency of the dire consequences of ceding the ticket to Ribadu through a consensus arrangement.
A highly placed power broker at the Presidency said on Friday that the permutations on the Ribadu candidature have continued to take new dimensions, with new calculations emerging from the various camps.
The source, who craved anonymity, said: “The race in the coming days is likely to be very interesting, but we have all resolved to be very careful because in politics, you cannot take chances, especially ones that are likely to jeopardise the chances of your party.
“When the issue of Ribadu first came up, some indices which we are witnessing now had not come up then. For instance, no one knew that the Acting Governor was going to be interested in the race.
“Also, the impression was created that all other aspirants were going to step down for him (Ribadu) on the intervention of a mutual friend of most of them who brought the Ribadu option.
“But right now, the President has insisted that he cannot support any of the aspirants against others since there appears not be a consensus among them; more so that the hurdles we thought could be cleared for Ribadu are not just there but they are still waxing stronger. “So, the situation as it is now, means that all the aspirants would have to carry their various ambitions on the strength of their structures because it is obvious we cannot afford to toy with Adamawa.
“The former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is from there and there are intelligence reports that he is waiting in the wings to lure any of the PDP aspirants with the APC ticket in case we force them to step down for Ribadu.
“But far more fearful is the fact that some of the aspirants, we learnt, are already ganging up to raise a legal issue out of the manner in which Ribadu registered as a member of PDP.
“The truth is that Ribadu was not expected to register through a proxy. We expected him to go to his state and do such personally. But now, our problem is simple- what if any of the aspirants heads to court and insists that Ribadu did not join the PDP through due process? It is really intriguing, I can say for now.
“So with all these developments coming up daily, Mr President has instructed that no one should brandish his name on the issue any longer, especially as it affects the issue of Ribadu.
“We all thought the deal could sail through, but from all indications, we at the level of the party’s apex leadership and the Presidency have to be very cautious on this matter because we cannot afford to entrap our party for the sake of an individual.”
Speaking with reporters at the PDP secretariat on Thirsday, one of the aspirants, Auwal Tukur, admitted that there have been pressure on other aspirants to step down for Ribadu, but he vowed never to bow to the pressure.
“I have not stepped down for Ribadu and I don’t intend to step down for him or anyone else,” he said. “I have come here this afternoon to pick up my form. That alone is an indication that I am in the race.
“We are all going to face the primary election. I am not aware of any consensus arrangement centred around Ribadu. I have paid my dues as a politician and I will not be a party to any undemocratic agenda.”
Gulak also warned the party leaders against any attempt to impose Ribadu on other aspirants, saying such moves could have a disastrous effect on the chances of the party at the election.
He recalled that the former Adamawa Governor, Murtala Nyako, who was impeached a few weeks ago, was imposed on the PDP by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007.
“That experience is enough to deter whoever is contemplating a similar idea to have a rethink, because any aspirant sure of his popularity among the people should be confident enough to face primary election.
”When our party’s NWC released the time table, I was the first to pick my forms, and today, I am sure I am the first to submit. This clearly shows that I have prepared for this election.
”In this election, there are serious aspirants, pretenders and spoilers. I believe our party can accommodate them all. But suffice it to say that I am dead serious on my aspiration.”
Marwa, who also submitted his completed nomination form, told reporters that there was every reason to be careful with the consensus option, saying there must be total agreement among all the aspirants for such consensus to stand.
Marwa said: “The issue of consensus is to be contemplated. There is absolutely nobody who wants to go through the rigours of all this stress. But having said that, I know the PDP is a party that wants the electoral process to be properly followed.
“You all know that this was what happened in Ekiti and Osun states, and there is no reason why the same process should not be followed in the case of Adamawa State”.
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