Less than 24 hours after his disqualification by the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP], Adamawa State Acting Governor Umaru Fintiri has dismissed the party’s decision, insisting he remains in the race for the state’s October governorship bye-election.
“I am still in the race,’’ Mr. Fintiri announced Sunday, and assured he will continue to mobilize for the election.
The acting governor said the issues that led to his disqualification by the PDP screening committee have been resolved.
He said the Ibrahim Mantu-led screening committee did not disqualify him as it lacked any legal or constitutional grounds to take such a decision.
“The Acting Governor is confident about his eligibility to contest because the decision not to clear him has no political or legal precedence,” Mr. Fintiri said in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Solomon Kumanga.
The PDP announced Mr. Fintiri’s disqualification Saturday, citing “moral grounds”.
The party explained that Mr. Fintiri’s aspiration would be a violation of Section 191 (2) of the Nigerian Constitution.
Mr. Fintiri, a former Speaker, became the acting governor after spearheading the impeachment of former Governor Murtala Nyako and Deputy, Bala Ngillari, the State House of Assembly.
The chairman of the PDP screening committee, Mr. Mantu, said Mr. Fintiri’s role as acting governor is to ensure a smooth transition and a free and fair poll.
“Fintiri is not qualified because he is not like a deputy governor, but a child of circumstances. He is like a midwife and not seen as the one carrying the baby. His role should be somebody who should ensure a free and fair election. But he can appeal,” Mr. Mantu told reporters Saturday.
In his statement Sunday, Mr. Fintiri faulted the committee and said the decision will not stand considering that the party had granted waivers to other aspirants who joined the party to contest the poll.
“Where is the fairness to the man who reclaimed the party’s mandate and wiped shame from the faces of all the Adamawa Party bigwigs, who failed to do so in the first place?” he asked.
Separately, the Fintiri Campaign Organization, comprising members from the 21 local Government Areas of the state has rejected Mr. Fintiri’s disqualification by the PDP saying the decision will be challenged.
“It is also to be noted that the committee that did the screening did not find any legal, technical or any misgiving on the part of our candidate whether in the PDP constitution or in the national constitution and therefore the grounds of the decision is untenable,” the chairman of the organization, Jonathan Zwingina, said.
Mr. Zwingina said as a loyal party man, Mr. Fintiri has challenged the decision of the screening committee adding that the issue will soon be resolved.
“The issues raised by Mantu committee has been successfully dispelled and resolved and it is a matter for the appeal and it is a matter for the appeal committee to lay all of that to rest. We want to assure the PDP throughout the state that Fintiri campaign organization is ready for the delegate election by going into the race not only to participate but to win the race,” Zwingina said.