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PDP and disqualification of aspirants

By Zayyad I. Muhammad
15 May 2022   |   3:50 am
Sir: There are insinuations that some members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee (NWC), at the instance of some governors, are hell-bent on disqualifying some aspirants in favour of some incumbent and unpopular governors, in spite of the fact that the party-constituted 12-man Appeal Panel...

Sir: There are insinuations that some members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee (NWC), at the instance of some governors, are hell-bent on disqualifying some aspirants in favour of some incumbent and unpopular governors, in spite of the fact that the party-constituted 12-man Appeal Panel has in its report submitted to the NWC, cleared the aspirants. This will be a clear disregard for the party’s guidelines and in violation of the constitutional amendments of the electoral Act 2022. Thus, denying other bonafide aspirants the right to participate in the primaries slated for May 23, 2022

Reliable information from within the party indicates that two aspirants from Adamawa and Akwa Ibom states are being targeted for disqualification just to pave way for an unpopular incumbent governor and a governor’s preferred choice to participate in the gubernatorial primaries unopposed.

Denying party members the right to participate in the primaries is dangerous and undemocratic. Take for instance, Ambassador Mohammed Jameel Abubakar-Waziri former state Chief of Protocol to former President Goodluck Jonathan, was said to have been disqualified in Bauchi by the Gubernatorial Primaries Screening Committee on the flimsy excuse that the committee has “instructions from the party Headquarters not to clear him.” The aspirant was neither issued a disqualification nor qualification certificate, contrary to the rule of the party to enable him write an appropriate appeal to the Appeal Panel. Notwithstanding, the aspirant submitted a petition to the 12-man appeal panel.  He was appropriately rescreened by the panel, which cleared him to contest the primaries

One wonders why the NWC would want to disqualify an aspirant who was duly cleared by the Appeal Panel consisting of six of its members and five BOT members. Does it mean the NWC doesn’t have confidence in the NWC and the BOT members on the panel or questions the integrity of the panel’s chairman? Or is there any new information to warrant such intended unjust disqualification?
Why did the party allow them to spend enormous money on the purchase of forms and other obligations?

In 2023 Senator Abubakar Girei contested the PDP primaries against former Gov. Boni Haruna of Adamawa State. Boni nor the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar prevented Senator Girei from contesting. Could Governor Fintiri now be sacred of somebody whom he defeated in 2019 when he was not a governor? Or does he now know something, which we don’t know? If I was Fintiri, I will not want to get ambassador Waziri disqualified and risk running an extraneous legal battle that could eventually end like that of Zamfara state in the 2019 elections.

Where aspirants fulfill party requirements, while some people because of personal interests want to deny them that right, this will certainly lead to the PDP losing those states where such illegality occurred – this is the same thing that happened to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara state in the 2019 election, in which the PDP became the major beneficiary.

The PDP (NEC) and the NWC) should be careful because the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will certainly penalize any political party that contravenes court orders and provisions of the Electoral Act 2022. If the PDP allows personal interest to override justice, fairness, and the entrenchment of internal democracy in it, the party will just be battling with court cases.

• Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Abuja, zaymohd@yahoo.com, 08036070980 

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