Concerned elders and stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party in Borno State have kicked against the wrongful substitution of Gambo Lawan as the party’s governorship candidate in the 2015 election.
Lawan, who is former Chairman of the Grassroots Democratic Movement and ex-Chairman of Maiduguri Metropolitan Council, had picked the party’s governorship ticket at a process in Abuja personally supervised by President Goodluck Jonathan following his intervention to resolve the lingering disagreement over the PDP governorship ticket in the state.
The former GDM chairman and founding leader of PDP in the state was affirmed by the party’s delegates and a Certificate of Return issued to him after the election.
In attendance during the primary election were Vice-President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, PDP National Chairman Adamu Mu’azu, Chairman PDP Board of Trustees Chief Tony Anenih, Borno State PDP Chairman, Minister of State for Power Muhammed Wakil, and BOT members and other stakeholders from the state.
But on the eve of the submission of parties’ governorship flag bearers to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Lawan’s name was substituted by the PDP National Chairman with that of Mohammed Imam, a nominee of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
In an open letter to President Jonathan dated December 26, 2014, the PDP stakeholders called for a reversal of the wrongful substitution in the interest of justice and fair play.
The petition was signed by Honourables Aminu Yakudima, Ibrahim Abatcha and Salisu Aliyu.
Speaking about the process that produced Lawan, they said, “the process and composition of the people present is first of its kind in the history of our great party, which Your Excellency described as the Supreme Court of the party whose decision is final. You may wish to recall further that Gambo Lawan having emerged from the old PDP as the Candidate, you directed the new entrants to the Party to nominate the Candidate for the Deputy Governor”.
According to them, “It is disheartening to note that 14 days after the nomination and affirmation of Gambo Lawan as the Candidate, he was wrongly and illegally substituted with Mohammed Imam on the eve of the closure for the submission of the Gubernatorial nominees to INEC.
“We want to believe that Your Excellency is unaware of this ugly and sad development particularly in a nomination process of this magnitude that was conducted by the highest office of the Federation. In this regard and in the best interest of the party, we call for the immediate reversal of the decision to substitute Gambo Lawan.
“Your Excellency may wish to note:
* Gambo Lawan is the only Candidate who is recognized and acceptable to the party and party faithfuls in the State because he is the one elected and holds the Certificate of return to fly the party flag.
* It is completely unacceptable to have Mohammed Imam (a nominee of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff) as the PDP Governorship flag bearer. It is on record that Imam contested and lost the House of Representatives seat in the 2011 general elections to the incumbent, Hon. Kaka Kyari Gujbawu of the PDP.
* In the 2011 general elections, the PDP did well, having won two Senatorial seats in the process of which the then incumbent Governor, Senator Ali Sherriff was defeated by the PDP Candidate for Borno Central Senatorial seat. In addition, two House of Representatives and six House of Assembly seats were also won by the PDP.
* In the spirit of accommodation and in spite of the Senator Ken Nnamani Reconciliation Committee’s template of sharing 60/40 in favour of the old PDP, the new entrants were allowed to have two out of three Senatorial seats, five out of ten House of Representatives seats and fifteen out of twenty eight House of Assembly seats.
These concessions were agreed to by the old PDP as a result of the fact that the Governorship Candidate in the person of Gambo Lawan has already emerged from the old PDP.
All these concessions and magnanimity notwithstanding, the new entrants surreptitiously took over the Governorship Candidate of the party in total disregard of the spirit of give and take extended to them.
This is tantamount to shortchanging the old PDP members and the party in the State”.