Some members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are protesting the waiver committee set up by the party’s National Working Committee, NWC, to look into the applications of new members and returning defectors to the party who whish to vie for the Adamawa State governorship bye-election.
A former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, former Lagos and Borno military administrator, Buba Marwa and Markus Gundiri, the governorship candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, had all applied for the waiver after they defected to the PDP from the APC.
The waiver issue had generated so much apprehension within the party, and had seen a series of meeting involving President Goodluck Jonathan, Ministers as well as the NEC, BOT, and the NWC of the PDP.
The NWC on Wednesday set up a four-man waiver committee headed by the National Organising Secretary, Abubakar Mustapha, to look at the applications and give recommendations. The committee will on Friday submit its report to the NWC for consideration.
Meanwhile, seven of the twelve aspirants for the bye-elections had submitted a petition to the committee, Thursday, urging it not to recommend that waivers be granted.
The aspirants, Umar Ardo, Awwal Tukur, Ali Gulak, James Barka, Andrawus Sawa, Halilu Girei and Idi Hong said it would be morally wrong for the PDP to allow Messrs. Ribadu, Marwa, Gundiri, Modibbo and Kama to run for the bye election.
They argued that while Messrs. Ribadu, Modibbo and Gundiri just joined the party, Messrs. Marwa and Kama were returning after defecting to other parties.
They argued that going by the provisions of Sections 50 (9) and (10) and 8 (b) of the Constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party 2012 (as amended), Messrs. Ribadu, Gundiri and Modibbo were required to sustain a continued membership of the PDP for a minimum of two years to be eligible to contest for the post of Governor, while Messrs. Marwa and Kama would remain on probation for at least one year, during which they would not be eligible to vote or be voted for except if granted waivers.
“That, notwithstanding, we would ordinarily have had no objection to their being granted waiver to contest the governorship election, but what we cannot consent to is their presenting themselves for contest without subjecting themselves to the constitutional provisions of seeking waivers and strictly adhering to the processes, and for the national leadership to act likewise.
“For Ribadu, Marwa and Gundiri, their waiver requests, if any, have not followed the processes constitutionally required. While the letter forwarding their names by the state chapter of the party did not expressly recommend them for waiver, we know for a fact also that neither the state, LGA, nor ward executives’ chapters sat to deliberate on the issue and make or decline the required recommendations,” they said.
They also said in the case of Messrs. Modibbo and Kama, “They are not even said to have applied for the waiver as if it is not applicable to them. Under the circumstances, if these are granted waivers, or if they are allowed to contest, it would mean not only that some people are made immune to the provisions of the constitution of the party, thereby denigrating the status and sanctity of the party constitution and creating conditions for drift and anarchy, but also reducing our whole democratisation process to a joke. All we ask for is for them, like all members, to abide by the party’s constitution and tow its processes.”
Mr. Ribadu, who is one of the aspirants whose waiver request is being opposed by the group, said through his media aide, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, that the petitioners were just empty shells.
“Those huffing and puffing over the entrance of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu into this race portray themselves as empty shells that they are. The attempt to truncate a legitimate process is totally condemnable and uncalled for.
“There is no basis for opposition to granting of the waiver. We don’t seek for advantage over any aspirant. What we advocate for is for everybody to be allowed to participate in an open and transparent manner. No party member is superior to another,” he said.