Crisis appears to be deepening within the ranks of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi State, ahead of the November 16 governorship election.
The fresh crisis rocking the PDP is said to be a fallout of the party’s primary election, which saw the emergence of Musa Wada, an engineer, as the governorship flag-bearer for the November governorship election. Wada polled 748 votes to clinch the party’s ticket.
But the senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, and Abubakar Ibrahim, son of a former governor of the state, Ibrahim Idris, kicked against the emergence of Wada and consequently petitioned the National Working Committee of the party.
Abubakar scored a total of 710 votes to emerge second while Senator Melaye scored 70 votes at a primary poll conducted in Lokoja on September 3.
Senator Melaye said he rejected the outcome of the primary election on the ground that all the votes cast in his favour were not counted before gunmen disrupted the exercise.
Daily Trust on Sunday learnt that both Melaye and Abubakar Ibrahim submitted their petitions to the party’s appeal committee, but the issue was not resolved in their favour.
Consequently, Melaye turned down the appointment given to him by the party to serve as its campaign director-general for the November 16 governorship election.
The senator, who made his position public via a tweet stated, “Let me state categorically that I have turned down the position of director-general of the PDP Kogi State Governorship Campaign Council. I wish the PDP all the best. When truth is a casualty, there is chaos.
Melaye’s reaction indicates that the Kogi PDP is divided, less than two months to the governorship election in the state.
On his part, Abubakar Ibrahim, who came second in the primary election, also questioned the emergence of Musa Wada as the party’s flag-bearer.
He argued that he would have won if the election did not end violently.
Meanwhile, Abubakar Ibrahim has gone to court seeking to be declared the candidate of the party.
The spokesman of the Abubakar Ibrahim Campaign Organisation, Shaba Ibrahim, who briefed reporters on the legal action filed at the state High Court in Lokoja, faulted the processes that produced Musa Wada as candidate of the party.
“As democratic and law-abiding people, we have taken steps to seek redress within the confines of the law. We have approached the court to seek redress and it is because this matter is not otherwise subjudiced; we will not go into further details.
“But suffice it to state that we have won. We pray the court to declare Alhaji Abubakar Ibrahim the candidate of the PDP based on the valid votes recorded at the primary election,” he said.
This is just as a former acting governor of the state and chieftain of the PDP, Chief Clarence Olafemi, has threatened to dump the party for the All Progressives Congress (APC) over an alleged injustice meted to him by the party’s leadership.
Olafemi, who was the campaign director-general to Abubakar Ibrahim in the last primary election, said the party had “cheated” him on several occasions; hence he could no longer pitch his tent with them.
He said his recent visit to Governor Yahaya Bello was because of impunity in the PDP.
He said he was one of the strong members of the PDP in the state, yet the National Working Committee of the party failed to recognise his input and efforts.
“I was the running mate to Jubril Isah Echocho in the 2015 governorship primary election of the party, but we were later replaced and they brought in Captain Idris Wada and Yomi Awoniyi as his running mate without any reason.
“In the 2019 general elections, I was one of the senatorial aspirants from Kogi West, but I was denied the party’s ticket while they imposed Senator Dino Melaye, who just decamped from the APC.
“My governorship aspirant in the just concluded primary of the party, Alhaji Abubakar Ibrahim Idris, was denied the ticket of the party by some powers to be in the party, who gave victory to Musa Wada because they hate Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, the former governor of the state.
“With all these impunity, how do you expect me to continue staying in the PDP? I am not the first person to decamp from one party to another. President Muhammadu Buhari, and my mentor, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, all decamped from one party to another. I am not going to be the first or the last.
“I had a fruitful discussion with Governor Yahaya Bello and I am very satisfied with the outcome of our meeting,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, a former governor of the state, Idris Wada and 9 other aspirants have resolved to support the party’s governorship candidate, Musa Wada.
The former governorship aspirants, led by Idris Wada, on Friday, September 13, unanimously adopted Musa Wada and pledged to work for his victory at the poll.
Speaking in Abuja, Mohammed Shaibu said the aspirants had reviewed the circumstances that led to Wada’s emergence and decided to close ranks and work with him for the total victory of the party at the poll.
He said: “As members of the Kogi PDP 2019 G12, the urgent need for intra-party cohesion and unity of purpose at this critical moment is recognised. It is for this reason that the candidacy of Engr. Musa Wada is considered worthy of undivided support as the task to rebuild Kogi starts in earnest.
“Considering the reconciliation efforts of Engr. Musa Wada and his preparedness to actively partner with the 2019 PDP aspirants in Kogi State, the Kogi PDP 2019 G-12, without reservation, accepts him as a partner in progress in the liberation struggle and also accepts to work with him in the overall interest of the PDP and Kogi State.”
Political analysts have described the crisis rocking the PDP few months to the governorship election in Kogi as a bad signal. They maintained that if not speedily resolved, the crisis could affect the chances of the party in the forthcoming election negatively.
There are fears that some of the aggrieved party stalwarts could move to the APC to scuttle the chances of the PDP in the election.
In the meantime, the party’s leadership is also not leaving things to chances as it has commenced some fence-mending moves.
The chairman of the PDP in the state, Sam Uhuotu, an engineer, recently inaugurated a reconciliation committee, with the task to identify all aggrieved persons as much as possible, so as to pacify and reconcile with them.
The committee has a former deputy governor of the state, Patrick Adaba as chairman, Kabiru Usman, a lawyer, as vice chairman, while Henry Ojuola, a lawyer, is to serve as secretary.
Other members of the committee are Dr Stephen Olorunfemi, Chief John Odawn, Olori Margaret Orebiyi, Princess Grace Iye Adejo, Chief Roberts Audu, Hon Chief Moses Ado Okino, Prof Olugbemiro Jegede, Hon (Dr) Musa Ahmadu and Hon JJ Idachaba.
As it stands, the outcome of the reconciliatory efforts will, to some extent, determine how the PDP would fare in the forthcoming election in Kogi.