Eight out of the fourteen aspirants for the Adamawa State Governorship election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including Nuhu Ribadu, have stepped down.
They stepped down from the race in the early hours of Friday after a marathon closed-door meeting with the Senate President, David Mark, at the Presidential Villa.
Following the impeachment of the former Governor, Murtala Nyako, October 11 was fixed for the election of a substantive governor for the state.
The Senate President, alongside the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) of the party in Abuja, had intervened to forestall looming crisis ahead of the party’s primary election scheduled to hold on Saturday in the state.
The meeting with the aspirants, which lasted about four hours, started by 9.06 p.m on Thursday and ended around 1.00 a.m on Friday. It was held at the Banquet Hall of the State House.
At the meeting, it was gathered that Mr. Mark, alongside other officials of the party, were able to reach a consensus with the aspirants and succeeded in pruning down the number of those contesting from fourteen to six.
The six aspirants still in the race for the party’s governorship ticket on Saturday are Ahmed Gulak, Buba Marwa, Ahmed Modibbo, Umar Ardo, Acting Governor Umaru Fintiri, and Jerry Kumdisi.
Those who have withdrawn from the race include Nuhu Ribadu; Auwal Tukur; Aliyu Idi Hong, Andrawus Sawa; James Barka; GAliyu Kama; Markus Gundiri and Abubakar Girei.
It was gathered that an agreement was reached at the closed-door meeting that the six aspirants contesting for the party’s ticket on Saturday will not contest for the position in 2015.
The meeting also agreed that only those who agreed to step down now can contest for the party’s governorship election ticket in 2015, with more consideration in 2015 for Adamawa Central that has never produced a governor.
It was also agreed that any aspirant who fails to win the party’s ticket in Saturday’s primary election must support the party’s flag-bearer towards the October 11 election.
Speaking with journalists at the end of the meeting, the Chairman of the Adamawa State chapter of the party, Joel Madaki said, “Fourteen aspirants contesting for the position earlier has now reduced to six aspirants due to this meeting. It is a very welcome idea. Nobody was forced to step them. Those who stepped down did so voluntarily in order to wait to contest for the position in 2015”.
He added that “The six aspirants contesting this election are Ahmed Gulak, Buba Marwa, Ahmed Modibbo, Dr. Umar Ardo, Acting Governor Umaru Fintiri, and Jerry Kumdisi.”
The former Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Ahmed Gulak, who is also contesting for the ticket on Saturday, said “The outcome of the meeting was fantastic. We met as family members of PDP, even before coming here all the aspirants in Adamawa have unanimously resolved that after the primaries, in a free, fair primaries, anybody that emerges will get our support.”
“Today, in this meeting, the number of the aspirants have 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 Mr. Ribadu and others were 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, who is among those who withdrew from the race, 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 the meeting started with a preamble 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 aspirations, our ambition, our vision for Adamawa is a long term and more articulate vision and not a stop-gap six”.