Six aspirants protest as Modibo defends membership

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Aug 29th, 2014
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Six of the 14 aspirants jostling for the governorship ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) have  kicked against waiver for the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, and four others.

The aggrieved aspirants are Dr. Umar Ardo, Mr. Ahmed   Gulak, Hon. James Barka, Sen. Andrawus Sawa, Sen. Abubakar Halilu Girei, Dr. Idi Hong,and Alhaji Auwal D. Tukur.

They  petitioned yesterday the PDP Waiver Committee, which will sit today, urging the party not to grant waiver to Ribadu, a former Military Administrator of Lagos State, Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa, and a former governorship candidate, Mr. Markus Gundiri.

They also asked the party not to grant waiver to two aspirants who did not apply to the Naional Working Committee.

The two aspirants are a former Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission, Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Modibbo and Gen. Aliyu Kama

Modibbo said he had been a member of the PDP since it was formed in 1998 and could not have applied for a waiver.

He also quoted his registration number as 5112742.

In their petition, the six aspirants said the manner in which the panel handles the waiver crisis would affect the image and fortune of the party.

The petition states:  “Mr. Chairman, sir, you may be aware that among the list of aspirants who bought the Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms to contest the PDP Guber Primaries are some who constitutionally need waivers to be able to aspire. These include:- (i) Engr. Marcus Gundiri; (ii) Gen. Buba Marwa; (iii) Mal. Nuhu Ribadu; (iv)Gen. Aliyu Kama; and (v)Dr. Ahmed Modibbo.

“We believe it is to determine their fate in the contest that your panel was constituted. While on personal level, we have absolutely no reason to wish to inhibit them from contesting the governorship of our state on the platform of our great party – for they are all eminently qualified – but on the principle of playing a healthy political game, everybody must play according to the rules of the game.

“On this ground therefore we object to their contest as their participation will be an aberration to the election process. The issues against them are both constitutional and moral.

“Constitutionally, Mal. Ribadu, Engr. Gundiri and Dr. Modibbo joined the PDP for the first time only recently, while Generals  Marwa and Kama returned to the PDP also only recently after earlier defecting from PDP to other political parties.

“Going by the provisions of Sections 50 (9) and (10) and 8 (b) of the Constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party 2012 (as amended), Ribadu, Gundiri and Modibbo are required to sustain continued membership of the PDP for a minimum of two years to be eligible to contest for the post of governor, while Marwa and Kama remain on probation for at least one year, during which they will not be eligible to vote or be voted for except they are granted waivers as stipulated.

 “Both sides have not met the requirements. The purpose of the waiting period, subject to waiver, is to test the fidelity of persons who have joined or defected to the party.

“These provisions are important as they are actually meant to ensure that only credible and loyal members of the party are allowed the benefits and privileges of the party and also to ward off the proclivity of Nigerian politicians to defect from one party to the other at will without consequences.

“That, notwithstanding, we would ordinarily have had no objection to their being granted waiver to contest the governorship election, but what we cannot consent to is their presenting themselves for contest without subjecting themselves to the constitutional provisions of seeking waivers and strictly adhering to the processes, and for the national leadership to act likewise. For Ribadu, Marwa and Gundiri, their waiver requests, if any, have not followed the processes constitutionally required.

“While the letter forwarding their names by the state chapter of the party did not expressly recommend them for waiver, we know for a fact also that neither the State, LGA, nor Ward executives chapters sat to deliberate on the issue and make or decline the required recommendations.

“For Modibbo and Kama they are not even said to have applied for the waiver as if though it is not applicable to them.

“Under the circumstances, if these are granted waivers, or if they are allowed to contest, it would mean not only that some people are made immune to the provisions of the constitution of the party, thereby denigrating the status and sanctity of the party constitution and creating conditions for drift and anarchy, but also reducing our whole democratisation process to a joke.

“All we ask for is for them, like all members, to abide by the party’s constitution and tow its processes.

Modibbo described as “baseless and ridiculous”, a claim by his co-contestant, Dr Umar Ardo, that he (Modibbo) is not a member of the party.”

In a statement in Abuja by his Media Assistant, Julius Toba, Modibbo said he had been a member of PDP since 1998.

The statement said: “As much as Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Modibbo would not like to join issues with any politician or fellow aspirants in this race, we cannot afford to watch and allow a few unserious elements to have a field day running him down.

“Just like other allegations made against any forward-looking politician of Adamawa extraction by Dr Umar Ardo in the past; this latest one too smacks of bad blood, it is ridiculous, baseless and laughable in its entirety”

“For avoidance of doubt and in our effort to put the records straight,  Modibbo is a foundation member of PDP, a party he had contributed immensely towards since its inception. He first got his initiation into PDP during the 1998 Jos Convention, after spending two sleepless nights”

“Since 2009 till date, we have documentary evidence indicating that my principal is a key financial member of PDP both at the state and national levels”

“For instance, commencing from January 2009, he had received no fewer than ten letters of appreciation from Adamawa state executive committee of the party for various of his philanthropic gestures”

“We have made available to the press Modibbo’s PDP membership card with evidence of his yearly payment of party dues. We therefore challenge Dr Ardo to present similar profile of his own contributions to the party, a platform upon which he wants to run for governorship in Adamawa.”

Ribadu in a terse reaction signed by his media aide, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, stated.

“Those huffing and buffing over the entrance of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu into this race portray themselves as empty shells that they are. The attempt to truncate a legitimate process is totally condemnable and uncalled for.

“There is no basis for opposition to granting of waiver. We don’t seek for advantage over any aspirant. What we advocate for is for everybody to be allowed to participate in an open and transparent manner. No party member is superior to another”.

The petition, which was addressed to the chairman of the party’s Governorship Waiver Panel who incidentally is the National Organising Secretary, was copied to the national chairman,

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