The ambition of the former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu to succeed the impeached Admiral Murtala Nyako as Adamawa State governor ended in an anti-climax on Friday, following the decision of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to stop him and seven others from contesting in the September 6 primaries.
Ribadu and seven other aspirants stepped down after a marathon meeting with Senate President David Mark and the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party in Abuja.
Others out of the race are:Auwal Tukur; Aliyu Idi Hong, Andrawus Sawa; James Barka; Gen. Aliyu Kama; Markus Gundiri and Abubakar Girei.
Their exit now leaves the field open for Acting Governor Umaru Fintiri,former Presidential adviser Ahmed Gulak,Dr.Ahmed Modibbo,Dr.Umar Ardo,Brigadier General Buba Marwa and Jerry Kudmisi,all of whom will be taking part in today’s primaries.
The party’s hierarchy had to intervene in the face of a bitter struggle for the ticket by the aspirants.
The party leaders convinced eight of the aspirants to allow Fintiri who,as Speaker, presided at Nyako’s impeachment,to complete the former governor’s tenure.
Gulak, Marwa, Modibbo, Ardo, and Kumdisi however refused to forgo their aspirations..
It was agreed at the closed-door meeting that they will not be allowed to contest for the position in 2015.
The meeting also agreed that only those who stepped down yesterday could contest for the party’s governorship election ticket in 2015.
Adamawa Central which is yet to produce will be favoured. All losers in today’s primaries are required to support the party’s flag bearer in the October 11 election.
Chairman of PDP in Adamawa State, Chief Joel Madaki told reporters at the end of the meeting that none of the aspirants was “forced to step down.”
“Those who stepped down did so voluntarily in order to wait to contest for the position in 2015.”
Gulak described the outcome of the meeting as fantastic. “We met as family members of PDP.Even before coming here all the aspirants in Adamawa had unanimously resolved that after the primaries, in a free, fair primaries, anybody that emerges will get our support.”
“At this meeting, the number of the aspirants has been drastically reduced to six, which is manageable. I am contesting, Gen. Marwa is contesting, Ahmed Modibbo is contesting, Dr. Umar Ardo is contesting, Hon. Jerry Kumdisi is contesting, and Acting Governor Fintiri is contesting.”
“And we have resolved to go into the primaries without rancour, without acrimony and to come out of it as peaceful co-existing members.”
“And at the end of it all, anybody that emerges, we will all queue behind him. And if I emerge as the candidate, they will all queue behind me. It is going to be a family affair and there will be no losers.”
On his chances of getting the ticket as Ribadu and others are now out of the race, he said: “Nuhu Ribadu or not, you know, I prepared for this election. Even, if 14 of us are going into this election, I am confident of my ability, of my capability, of my mobilization, of my sensitization ,that the delegates will select me.”
Aliyu Idi Hong, one of those that withdrew said: “Peace-building, negotiation, give-and-take, everything went well. We have been given a caveat and one thing we have succeeded in extracting from this meeting is that whoever is going to contest and if he happens to win as a governor, he will not have the right to contest the 2015 election.”
“Some of us think that our aspiration, our ambition, our vision for Adamawa is a long term and more articulate vision and not a stop-gap six months aspiration.”
“For that reason, we saw it is wiser that if you are going to do something to change the fortune of Adamawa, you need a longer period of time. So, we decided that it is not wise for you to go into this aspiration for six months.”
He went on: “Two, we have also been able to have on record, that whoever is going to emerge as governor will not contest in 2015 and it has also been unanimously agreed that because Adamawa Central has not been able to produce governor of the state before, it is on record that the Presidency and the party have accepted that the aspiration for the PDP nomination for 2015 will be strictly for contestants from Adamawa Central. It is not negotiable.”
“So most of us from Adamawa Central have agreed to this position and about eight of us have withdrawn from the race. We are going to remain members of the party and we are going to contest in 2015 because it will give us the opportunity to make that transformation that we want to change Adamawa into.” He stated
Those who attended the meeting included the PDP National Vice Chairman, Uche Secondus, Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Rufai Alkali,Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe and Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi.