Saying Unity Needed to Win, Atiku Intervenes in Kogi PDP Crisis

Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, Presidential candidate of the People's Democratic Party (PDP)

•Meets Melaye, Wada
•INEC clears 23 for Kogi, 45 for Bayelsa gov polls

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

Ahead of the November 16 gubernatorial election in Kogi State, a former vice president and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has waded into the crisis in the state’s branch of the party, saying unity among the warring factions is needed to win the poll.

As part of the ongoing reconciliations, THISDAY gathered that Atiku met with the gubernatorial candidate of the party, Mr. Mohammed Wada, in Dubai and also met with Senator Dino Melaye, one of the contenders for the party’s ticket, on how to mend the cracks that became bigger after the party’s primaries.

A source, who spoke with our correspondent, said that Atiku decided to wade into the crisis and ensure reconciliation, following Melaye’s rejection of the offer to lead the PDP governorship electioneering campaign in the state.

THISDAY learnt that the PDP governorship candidate reached out to Atiku to wade into the matter after meeting with his brother, and former governor of the state, Idris Wada.

It was further gathered that the inability to achieve reconciliations between the PDP governorship aspirants especially, stalled the flag-off of the main electioneering campaign.
A source confided in THISDAY that Atiku would also meet with the former governor of Kogi State, Ibrahim Idris, to reconcile him with his son, Suleiman, who is believed to be the sponsor of the PDP governorship candidate.

He said: “The essence of Atiku meeting the former Kogi State governor is to make him to ensure that his son withdraws his suit against Wada from court and pave the way for the flag-off of the governorship campaign in the state.

“The crisis in Kogi State PDP is becoming intractable because the former governor who ruled the state between 2003 and 2011 is at war with his son, Suleiman and his mother for supporting Jubrin Isa for the governorship election. So, in 2019, the children of Ibrahim Idris saw it as an opportunity to pay back their father in his own coin by supporting Mohammad Wada against the person whom their father is supporting, Mohammed Ibrahim.

“The matter is so delicate as the winner of the 2019 PDP governorship is the younger brother of the former governor who ruled the state from 2011 to 2015.”
According to the source, Atiku’s main assignment is to persuade the former governor to ask his son to withdraw his court action against his brother-in-law who is married to his blood sister.

Atiku, it was learnt, will ensure that the former governor supports the PDP governorship candidate.
THISDAY gathered that the main opposition party in the state believed that a genuine reconciliation with the former governor would give the Igala votes, which account for over 54 per cent of the voting population in the state, to the PDP.

The intrigues have continued as nine former governorship aspirants from the state had endorsed the candidature of Wada.
Speaking during a media briefing, one of the contestants during the September 3 primaries, Mr. Mohammed Tettes, stated that 10 of the former governorship aspirants had endorsed Wada.

According to him, the other former aspirants who contested against Musa include Wada, Mr. Emmanuel Omebije, Air Vice Marshal Salifu Atawodi (rtd), Grace Adejoh, Dr. Joseph Erico, Alhaji Kabiru Haruna, Adebayo Averehi and Aminu Sulaiman.
Eight of the former aspirants were present during the briefing, while Atawodi and Adoji were said to have travelled out of the country but had declared their support for Wada.

INEC Clears 23 for Kogi Gov Poll, 45 for Bayelsa

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission has released the final list of candidates expected to participate in the November 16 governorship elections in the two states.

According to the names published yesterday by the commission, there are a total of 23 governorship candidates and their deputies contesting elections in Kogi State, while in Bayelsa State, there are a total of 45 governorship candidates with their deputies for the elections.
The two lists were signed by the INEC Secretary, Rose Oriaran-Anthony.

The prominent names in the list for Kogi State include the incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello and Onoja Edward David as the governorship candidate and running mate under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) while the candidate for the PDP is Musa Wada with Samuel Bamidele as his running mate.

For the Bayelsa State, the prominent names are the APC candidate, Lyon David, and his running mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienuo, as well as Diri Duoye of the PDP who has Lawrence Oborawharievwo Ewhrudjakpo as running mate.

In the final breakdown, 23 candidates/parties are contesting for the Kogi’s number one seat.
Out of the 23, 21 are males while the female candidates are just two.
The oldest contestant is 69 years while the youngest is 35.
INEC has also said it will not extend the September 30 deadline for the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in the two states.

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, told THISDAY that the commission has no reason to extend the deadline.

He said enough time had been given to owners of uncollected cards to do so, adding that the commission adopted measures to reach them for collection.

According to him, INEC would close the collection to ascertain the number of cards to be used during the November 16 elections in the two states.
He added that the commission needed time to continue with its planning and other stages of the elections in both states.

“When the collection is over, we will recall all uncollected PVCs and make a return to INEC state headquarters.
“Then the final figure of what was collected during the period and the uncollected will be made available to all political parties contesting these elections,’’ he said.