By Nseobong Okon-Ekong
A coalition of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) support group in Borno State has declared at a press conference on Sunday at the Sheraton Hotel in Ikeja, Lagos
that the public should disregard anyone parading himself as the party’s governorship and Borno Central senatorial district candidates.
Chairman of the group, known as, Yerwa-Oodua PDP support group, Bakura Goni Makinta and its secretary, Mustapha Mustapha, who spoke in English and Hausa insisted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must adopt the former Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil as the PDP governorship candidate, as well as, a former speaker of the state assembly, Bukar Kachallah as the PDP candidate for Borno Central senatorial election. They made the call at the end of its 26th quarterly stakeholders meeting which began on Friday and ended at the weekend in Lagos.
The group, with headquarters in Ijora-Lagps, is “the coming together of hundreds of PDP members from Borno State who live in South-western states of Lagos, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo States”
They added that whereas some PDP members were making reference to 2011 in which an incumbent Governor lost the Borno Central senatorial election to PDP, they ignore the fact that back in 2011, the PDP had the advantage of Mohammed Goni as its governorship candidate whose popularity influenced outcomes of the National Assembly elections and in addition, the All Progressives Congress (APC) currently has popular candidates besides the advantage of President Muhammadu Buhari who was in the CPC as at 2011 when an incumbent governor lost the Senate to the PDP.
The group concluded that, “the PDP in Borno State must therefore admit that at the situation stands, APC candidates are contesting unopposed unless we do everything possible to accelerate our case and get the court to oder to INEC to uphold candidates from primary elections conducted by the lawful state executives of the PDP under our legitimate state chairman, Alhaji Usman Baderi”.
“Ahead of the 2019 general election, the PDP in Borno State currently has no valid candidates particularly for the governorship and Borno Central senatorial election until ongoing court appeal cases between the two factions of the party are determined in weeks to come. Not withstanding publication of the names of Alhaji Mohammed Imam for the governorship and Senator Mohammed Abba Aji for the Borno Central senatorial election by the INEC, the two persons are not valid candidates because their primaries were conducted by an unlawful state executive committee under the so called chairmanship of Alhaji Zannah Gaddama whereas a federal high court in Maiduguri had two months ago delivered a judgment clearly recognising that the valid state executives of the PDP in Borno State are those under Alhaji Usman Baderi as state chairman.”
The group said the federal high court judgment still subsists because there is no other order by any court of competent jurisdiction setting aside that federal high court judgment citing that the PDP state secretariat near Sir Kashim Shettima way in Maiduguri is under the use of Alhaji Usman Baderi while the illegal chairman, Zanna Gaddama operates from a private residence.
“Based on its lawful recognition by the federal high court in Maiduguri, the PDP state executives under Usman Baderi’s leadership has since held its credible primary elections and has produced the former Minister of State for power, Mohammed Wakil as PDP governorship candidate in Borno State and a former speaker in the Borno State House of Assembly, Alhaji Bukar Kachallah as the PDP candidate for Borno Central senatorial election. We are very optimistic that very soon, the court will in reaffirming its earlier judgment, give an order to the INEC to uphold the names of Alhaji Mohammed Wakil as our governorship and Bukar Kachallah for the Borno Central senatorial election as our candidates elected from lawful primary elections,” the group said.
Speaking further, the group noted that the PDP has no chance ahead of the governorship and the Senate because, “Alhaji Mohammed Imam does not have the pedigree to challenge the APC governorship candidate who is a very popular Professor with known records of deep involvement in the rebuilding of many communities destroyed by Boko Haram in about 20 local government areas of Borno State. In Borno today, no serious electorate with voters card pays attention to the candidature of Mohammed Imam. On the contrary, the valid PDP governorship candidate, Alhaji Mohammed Wakil, a one-time majority leader in the House of Representatives and former Minister is known to have records that good enough to make the PDP emerge victorious in the 2019 Governorship election.”
Yerwa-Oodua PDP support group added that “In the case of the Borno Central senatorial election, the current illegal Mohammed Abba Aji has lost the respect of all electorates due to his numerous defections from one party to another. At the last count, Abba Aji has defected from ANPP to PDP back to APC and PDP within few years. In fact Senator Abba Aji who was benefited so much from the PDP government of President Olusegun and Goodluck Jonathan abandoned the PDP in October, 2015 when the PDP lost election to the APC. After failing to secure the governorship ticket in the APC barely two months ago, he again defected into the PDP to impose himself as senatorial candidate. The truth is that Senator Mohammed Abba Aji can never defeat the APC candidate for the Borno Central senatorial election who is the sitting Governor Kashim Shettima. There are those who deceive themselves in the assumption that because a sitting Governor lost the Senate in 2011, the same situation will automatically apply to PDP in Borno State ahead of 2019. What people tend to ignore is that in 2011, the incredible popularity of Mohammed Goni as PDP governorship candidate contributed in the gains of the PDP including winning two Senatorial seats and two House of Representatives seats. However, ahead of the 2019 general election, the PDP in the first place, has no valid candidate for the governorship not to talk of popularity. The PDP also has no valid candidate for the Borno Central senatorial. To make matters worse, those parading themselves as the candidates do not have the pedigree, the ground acceptability and acceptability to stand against the APC. Another factor also is that in 2011, the Governor who lost the Senate was in different party from President Muhammadu Buhari then of the CPC. Today, all the APC candidates have the open endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari who has a permanent popularity in Borno State.”