|Photo Credit: Tribune|
Barely 24 hours to the screening of aspirants seeking to contest the Adamawa governorship election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a conflict of interest appears to have emerged at the national level of the party.
Two power blocs — the Presidency and PDP Governors’ Forum — are divided over the seeming moves by the Presidency to ensure the emergence of former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mallam Nuhu Ribadu who was reportedly drafted into the race by the principal private secretary to the president, Ambassador Hassan Tukur.
This is even as the party’s NWC is said to have been split over the issue of waiver for Nuhu Ribadu, Mohammed Buba Marwa and Markus Gundiri who all defected to the PDP recently.
Ribadu has denied he was being sponsored by the Presidency.
As the development unfolded last night, President Goodluck Jonathan was said to have summoned a select caucus of leaders of the party to a crucial meeting where the issue of waiver for Ribadu and others was billed to be discussed.
The meeting reportedly had in attendance national chairman of the PDP Adamu Muazu, his deputy Uche Secondus, Senate president David Mark as well as governors Godswill Akpabio and Ibrahim Shehu Shema of Akwa Ibom and Katsina respectively. Hassan Tukur was also at the meeting which might likely set the tone for today’s NWC meeting where the propriety or otherwise of waiver would be discussed.
A source close to the meeting told LEADERSHIP that President Jonathan summoned the meeting as a result of the position of the PDP governors who appeared to have opposed the candidature of Ribadu.
The PDP governors had on Monday reportedly met at the residence of one of them where the issue of Adamawa governorship election was discussed and a resolution passed that Ribadu should be stopped if the PDP wanted victory at the October governorship poll.
One of the PDP governors told LEADERSHIP in confidence that they had their “reservations about the Ribadu question” in the governorship contest in Adamawa State even as they chided the president’s PPS (Tukur) for the move.
The governor said: “It is not ideal for the man (Ribadu) to come close to us at all. We still don’t know why Hassan Tukur is insisting on the man.
We can’t trust him for anything. Look at the auditing job given to him concerning the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation? Do you know the problem that report caused this government?
“Before Ribadu submitted the report, he had leaked it to all the embassies in the country. Will it not be treacherous to have such a man close to the government he has denounced and condemned in the past?
“Adamawa is Adamawa but the PDP’s chances in any election are of essence to us all because, if we win, the lesser job is for us in Adamawa and the entire north-east for the PDP.
“So we were amazed to discover that Hassan Tukur drafted in Ribadu and this is causing problem especially when the president’s name is being bandied all around; so we resolved that the president must be alerted to the dangers of the move because Ribadu could be playing an APC script whereby he would return to his party after using the platform of the PDP to achieve his aim.
“All we are saying is, Ribadu is the least qualified of all the aspirants; what Hassan Tukur has done is a great setback for the PDP and that is why we have to address it squarely.”
On the insinuations that the presidential aide has mobilised members of the NWC to grant the former EFCC chairman the needed waiver, the governor said it was untrue. “A lot has gone as regards this matter because it is immoral for such to happen. The NWC is sharply divided over the waiver issue too because there are those who are insisting on due process,” he said.