A former Minister of State for Health and governorship aspirant in Bauchi State, Muhammed Pate, has rejected the result of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, primary election conducted in the state on Monday.
He said the election was not only characterised by harassment and intimidation, but was also inconclusive while section 19 (k) of the guidelines which provided for secret ballot system was violated.
According to the result of the election, Awwal Jatau, won by polling 368 votes; Mr. Pate, 86 votes; Babayo Gamawa, 116 votes; Adamu Gumba 20 votes; and Bappa Azare 3.
In a statement on Wednesday, Mr. Pate, a medical doctor, said he had already expressed his disappointment and rejection of the “so-called primaries” to the leadership of the party and that he was expecting proper investigation and due process to follow.
“We observed that delegates were coerced into voting the alleged predetermined winner,” he said.
“The initial organization of the election clearly indicated an effort to identify which delegates voted or did not vote for the predetermined candidate, and was reinforced by creating fear of
repercussion if the delegates did not choose the candidate.”
“We are curious that the results of five local government areas were summarily rejected and excluded in the computation of the votes, even while there were significant unresolved issues regarding the casting of those votes.”
The aspirant noted that Section 19 (k) of the party guidelines for primary elections provides for a Modified Secret Ballot otherwise known as the Open Secret Ballot but that “unfortunately, delegates
were deliberately crowded and clustered as to make the secret ballot completely impossible.”
He said it was hard to believe that delegates from five local government areas of the state numbering about 2,000 or more could be asked to assemble at the same time to cast their ballots without the possibility of a one of them intruding into what the other is doing.
He explained that opportunity was provided for others to tout, induce and even collect ballot papers of others to write on their behalf.
He alleged that the chairmen of the caretaker committees of the local government and other elected representatives were spotted openly collecting and filling the ballot papers of several delegates with the name of the predetermined winner of the primary election.
Mr. Pate also alleged that the “predetermined candidate received hundreds of millions of Naira to induce delegates.”
“It is unfortunate that even the opposition APC in Bauchi State was successfully infiltrated in an anti-democratic manner,” the former minister said.
“Bauchi State is facing great challenges, including dwindling economic performance, rising poverty, poor education, high unemployment, rising insecurity indicative of failed politics in the State.”
Mr. Pater said PDP, as a party, ought to have offered a level playing field for emergence of credible candidates in order to successfully compete and offer good governance for the development of the state after winning election.
“We hope that our complaints will resonate with national leadership of the party and that justice will be done for members of the party in Bauchi and the people of the State.”