Kogi PDP: Divided house after disputed primary
• Faces Defections, Court Cases
The last governorship primary election of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) in Kogi State has left bitter taste in mouths of some members. At the end of the exercise, the chairman of the Primary Election Committee and governor of the Adamawa State, Ahmadu Fintiri declared Engr. Musa Wada winner with a score of 748 to defeat his closest rival, Abubakar Idris, Who scored 710. Idris has challenged the outcome of the primary election, alleging that he was robbed.
Since then a crisis of confidence has engulfed the PDP leading to threats of defection. And if not well managed, this could affect the party in the November 16 governorship election, where the PDP is expected to return to Lugard house, Lokoja.
The build up to the primary showed signs of being contentious, as 13 aspirants scrambled for the attention of 2,578 delegates. Preparatory to the contest, the camps of two former governors of the state, former Governor Ibrahim Idris, whose son Abubakar Idris was a contestant and immediate past Governor of the state, Capt. Idris Wada, who were the most visible rivals.
Those who felt Abubakar Idris should win hinged their campaign on the tenure of Wada between 2012 and 2016, which they saw as uninspiring. A member of the PDP who spoke with The Guardian hinted that if Wada had won the primary, it would facilitate the loss of the party in the November 16 governorship election.
But Wada’s campaign was built around the tale that he had learnt from his mistakes and promised to do things differently if given a second chance. But neither of the two won the primary and so, the argument has moved to other areas.
Some are now querying the legitimacy question of the current executive committee of the party in the state.Before the primary, some members who participated in the July State Congress but late became aggrieved had gone to court to seek redress, alleging irregularities and hijack of the process. That matter is yet to be resolved. The legitimacy of the Engr. Sam Uhuotu led executives of kogi PDP is being challenged, with opponents asking the court to nullify the process.
The re-election of Engr. Sam Uhuotu, as Chairman of Kogi PDP in an election supervised by Sen Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, is also being challenged. One of the aspirants Alhaji Muhammed Omuya kicked against the process and Uhuotu’s victory.
Announcing the result at the Lokoja Confluence Stadium, amid protests, Ayu, who was the electoral committee Chairman, with Senator Emmanuel Nwaka as Secretary, commended the peaceful conduct of delegates to the Congress, saying that the sportsmanship exhibited by the PDP is a clear indication that the Party would win convincingly in the November 16 governorship election.
Engr. Uhuotu polled 1478 votes to emerge the new state chairman, defeating his closest rival Mohammed Omuya, who scored 270.Hon. Sam Abenemi and Hon. Faruk Yahaya emerged unopposed as the Deputy Chairman and Secretary respectively.Prince Bode Ogunmola polled 983 to also defeat Isah Itopa David, who pulled 27 votes as the State Publicity Secretary of the party.
Aside the Office of the Chairman and Publicity Secretary, the state Congress saw all the former 27 executives returned unopposed in the newly constituted state council.In his reaction, Omuya alleged that the state Congress was not free, fair and credible. According to him the delegates were not allowed to vote, rather somebody collected the form from them and voted against their whishes.Omuya is currently in court to seek redress. Those in his support say the National Working Committee of the party needs to address any issues that might affect the outcome of the party primary, which is also a dispute in court.
According to them, since the party had gone ahead with the primary, if the Court goes ahead to annul it what happened to APC in Zamfara may be repeated in kogi PDP.Alhaji Abubakar Idris has filed a case in court challenging the outcome of the primary. Though the party had set up a reconciliation committee team, it appears to be belated.
Idris filed the suit at the Lokoja High Court seeking the nullification of the PDP governorship primary and asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to stop forthwith the recognition of Engr Musa Wada as the party’s flag bearer.
He was at the Lokoja High Court on Monday to sign the necessary papers, saying that he is the rightful owner of the PDP governorship mandate. Accompanied by Otaru Roland Otaru, SAN, Ibrahim said he won the September 3, 2019 primary, seeking the court to return his mandate. However, a date is yet to be fixed for the mention and commencement of the matter.
IN another matter that portends instability for the PDP, Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, has rejected the position of Director General for the Wada Campaign Team. Kogi West, where Melaye hails from was expected to provide inroad for the PDP into Kogi Central zone where Governor Bello hails from. The people of kogi Centerl are having their real first short at the position of the governor of the state since it’s creation in 1991. The other time when Bello emerged as substitute to the late Abubakar Audu was accidental.
Baring last minute change, the former Kogi state acting Governor, Chief Clarence Olafemi said that he has concluded plans to dump the opposition party for alleged impunity and lopsidedness.Chief Olafemi, who dumped the PDP in 2014 and joined APC, visited governor Yahaya Bello last week to cement a newfound relationship.Speaking with journalists at his residence in Lokoja after the visit, Olafemi said that he will soon dump PDP for APC.
He noted that PDP has cheated on him several times and he cannot continue to stay in the party, saying that he is one of the strong members in the state, yet the National Working Committee of the party failed to recognize his input and effort for the party.
He said: “I was the running mate to Jubril Issah Echocho in 2015 governorship primary election, but we were later replaced by the party and they brought in Captain Idris Wada and Yomi Awoniyi as running mate without any reason.
“In 2019 general election, I was one of the Senatorial aspirants from Kogi West, I was denied the contest as the party imposed Senator Dino Melaye who just decamped from APC to PDP.
“My governorship aspirant in the just concluded primary of the party, Alhaji Abubakar Ibrahim Idris was denied the ticket by some powerful individuals in the party and given to Engr. Musa Wada because they hate Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, the former governor of the state.“With these impunities, how do you expect me to continue staying in PDP? I’m not the first person to decamp from one party to another. President Muhammadu Buhari and my mentor Alhaji Abubakar Atiku all decamped from one party to another. I’m not going to be the first or the last.
“I had fruitful discussion with Governor Yahaya Bello and I’m very satisfied with the outcome of our meeting.The Chief Administrator of Ajaokuta Local Government Area, Prince Aliyu Mustapha Aka’aba, has also received over 300 supporters and leaders of the PDP and Social Democratic party (SDP) into the APC in Ajaokuta. This was just as the former Secretary of Omala Local Government Area, Julius Atabor, also defected to the APC. All the defectors from the PDP alleged high level of impunity and lack of reward mechanism.As it stands, the PDP needs to quickly put its house in order if it is to make appreciable impact in the November election.