Waiver request for Ribadu splits PDP

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Aug 18th, 2014
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There is tension in the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) over a waiver request for  a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, ex-Military Administrator of Lagos State Brig-Gen. Buba Marwa and  former governorship aspirant Mr. Marcus Gundiri.

The waiver will enable Ribadu, who  obtained his membership of the party on Saturday, and the others to collect the party’s governorship nomination form, which closes tomorrow.

Ribadu’s waiver request has split the National Working Committee of the party and created a wedge between the Adamawa State chapter and the National Secretariat.

The Adamawa State chapter is demanding a written request to it by the National Secretariat for waiver for Ribadu.

The state chapter insists that the waiver should cover Gen. Marwa and Mr. Gundiri to create a level-playing field for all.

According to sources, PDP National Chairman Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, through an emissary on Saturday, asked the state chapter of the party to request for a waiver for Ribadu.

But State Chairman Chief Joel Madaki convened an emergency session of the State Executive Committee(SEC) where it was decided that it would not recommend any aspirant for a waiver – in line with Section 8(a and b) of the PDP Constitutiom.

Although the SEC  acknowledged Ribadu’s letter to join PDP, it insisted on substantial compliance with the PDP Constitution.

It alleged that it had it on records that someone collected a membership card for Ribadu, contrary to the laid down regulations of the party.

A source in Adamawa PDP said: “We got a verbal message from the National Secretariat of PDP to make  a formal request for a waiver for Ribadu but we said we cannot recommend. We can only submit list of members seeking waiver.

“We have written the National Secretariat of PDP to make its request formal instead of verbal in order to put the precedent that they are trying to lay in a good perspective for posterity.

“There are conditions for waiver which Ribadu is yet to meet. If we are truly a democratic party, we must abide by the party’s constitution. It appears some forces in the Presidency have decided to override due process. Even at that, there must be some elements of justice.

“We have also maintained that the case for a waiver cannot be limited to Ribadu alone, if we want to be fair to all. The same gesture ought to be extended to Marwa and Gundiri in order to be fair and just to all.”

Ribadu has written a letter of waiver to the PDP National Chairman.

In an August 16 letter, Ribadu said his application would enable him to contest for elective office.

The letter reads: “I wish to humbly write to apply for a clearance/ waiver to enable me aspire  for position on the platform of this great party.

“As a fresher in the party, I have duly obtained my membership, paid required dues. I hereby tender photocopies, including my voter’s card for your necessary action.”

In a separate letter of August 1, Ribadu applied to join the PDP.

The letter reads:” I wish to humbly apply for membership of this great party- Peoples Democratic Party.  I am  from Bako Ward and a registered voter in this Ward.

“I shall adhere to the party’s constitution, promptly pay my fees and actively participate in party activities. I shall also take all necessary steps to propagate and execute the aims and objectives of the great party, PDP.  I hope my application will be accepted.”

He was subsequently given registration number 1933795.

Already, members of the NWC are divided over the waiver requested.

A source said: “So far, the National Chairman of PDP has not tabled any request before the NWC for waiver for Ribadu or any aspirant in Adamawa State. He has also not informed any member of the committee.

“Ideally, we ought to grant Ribadu a waiver before he can obtain the party’s governorship nomination form.

“Therefore, the issue of waiver is still a one-man business which is known to only Mu’azu.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “Maybe Muazu may bring his proposal for this waiver on Monday to the NWC.

“We will consider any request on merit. We are determined to reclaim Adamawa State; we will not fritter away this opportunity at all.

“I hope we will not be repeating  the same mistake in Osun State where the party’s governorship candidate was already pre-determined.

“Some of us in the NWC are worried because this waiver syndrome may becloud our commitment to free and fair primaries for the 2015 polls.”

As at press time, it was learnt that there had been pressure on the presidency by some influential Nigerians and businessmen to concede the ticket to Ribadu.

Another source added: “The party has a major challenge at hand on this waiver palaver.”

Speaking with our correspondent at about 9pm yesterday, the State PDP Secretary, Mr. A.T. Shehu said: “We got a directive from the National Secretariat to send a list of aspirants who have applied for waiver. We have forwarded the name of three of the aspirants to the National Secretariat. They are Ribadu, Marwa, and Gundiri.

“Section 8 subsection (a and b) of the PDP Constitution as amended does not empower a state chapter to grant waiver, it is the prerogative of the National Secretariat. There is even no provision for us to recommend or reject request for waiver.

On the membership of Ribadu, he added: “In fact, the PDP door is open to all because politics is a game of number. But PDP is governed by law and  constitution which anyone coming in must abide by.”

Speaking with Premium Times in a telephone interview yesterday, APC National Chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, said he was not disappointed by Mr. Ribadu’s action, but that it merely confirmed the level to which the Nigerian society had degenerated.

“It makes me sad because it is a very terrible thing. It is a confirmation of the level to which our society has degenerated.

“For a man of that calibre to fall into that trap because of governorship position is disappointing. There is no problem; we wish him luck.”

Asked why it was disappointing, the APC national chairman said: “Don’t you see what this represents – that a man of his calibre will fall for the temptation?

“I hope you understand the point I am making. I am not sad because of the APC, but because it reflects on the condition of the Nigerian elite and the kind of things they fall for.

“For the APC, there is no problem. People go, people come, but for this nation, it is a very sad commentary. It makes you unhappy.”

On whether the APC leadership made any effort to dissuade Ribadu from leaving the party, Oyegun merely said, “People spoke with him,” adding “I don’t want to say more than that.” He however said, “The time has come when we should have politicians of principle. We cannot continue like this.

“The society is sick. We shouldn’t encourage things like this. It indicates democracy is lacking in that party. “For a man of his calibre to say the things he has said on record and still did this, is disappointing. If he had done this six months ago, that would have been understandable. But just because of nomination, you fell for it, even if it is the main election. (Buba) Marwa is there; the Speaker is there.

“This is rock bottom. Haba wetin! The disconnection is too direct.”

The APC Adamawa chapter said Ribadu’s defection would not affect the fortunes of the party.

The state secretary of the party, Alhaji Abdullahi Bakari, said: “The APC in Adamawa is healthy and vibrant; what we are working on now is to have a formidable candidate for the Oct. 11 by-election to recover our mandate.”

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