Expectedly, former Deputy Governor of Niger State and immediate past Ambassador to South Africa, Hon Ahmed Musa Ibeto has presented his letter of intent to the People Democratic Party (PDP) executives led by the Chairman, Tanko Beji, confirming the speculation that he rejoined the party in order to actualize his governorship ambition
The formal and public notification by Ibeto is coming barely two weeks after he rejoined the PDP from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and also after resigning his appointment as Nigerian ambassador to South Africa. These developments, pundits posited will draw ire from some leaders of the party.
He had joined APC on February 20th, 2015, few months after he failed to clinch the Governorship ticket of PDP which he lost to Umar Nasko, the preferred candidate of the then governor, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, as against him who was Deputy Governor then.
It is now a common topic within and outside the party that since he returned to PDP, he has made brisk moves within the few days to outsmart those who have been the leading contenders. He submitted his letter of intent even before other aspirants like Hannafi Sudan, Aminu Baka; Umar Nassko, the 2015 flag bearer and Ahmad Umaru Dogonkoli who have been in the forefront for the party’s Governorship ticket.
Ibeto’s letter of intent will no doubt bring about a new order in the political scheming within the opposition party in the quest by various aspirants to clinch the Governorship ticket. Already, there are some leaders of the party that are going about with the notion that he was being positioned as the preferred candidate by some members of the party executive.
Other aspirants, and former governor Aliyu, who has been the leader of the party, with anticipated influences were said not to be pleased with the development that culminated into Ibeto having an inroad back and may not give him easy ride as promised him by those who lured him back to the party for the guber ticket.
These tendencies will no doubt have issues to use in order to frustrate his attempt to clinch the ticket. Apart from the position that he had abandoned the party when they needed him most, there are other variables his adversaries may want to use against him.
Already, LEADERSHIP gathered during the presentation of his letter of intent at the party secretariat, Eastern bye-pas, Minna, that Dr. Aliyu, his former boss was not happy with his return to PDP and is accusing the party chairman, Tanko Beji, for letting him down by inviting his supposed political adversary back to PDP.
It was learnt that the former governor has vouched that rather that supporting his former deputy, he would support the incumbent governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sasni Bello, of the APC, to continue in office and might even leave the party if those who are rooting for Ibeto to take the governorship ticket succeed.
Sources hinted that initially, the former governor’s body language tilted towards Hanafi Sudan to pick the ticket of the party as governorship candidate but later, he was inclined to Aminu Baka whose aspiration contravened the zoning arrangement.
By the zoning arrangement, Niger North has one more term, till 2023, because the incumbent governor might have concluded first by 2019 leaving the zone with only one term in a two-term zoning arrangement that started with NigerSouth referred to as zone A with the Late Eng Abdulkadir Kure as the governor between1999 and 2007. It then moved to Niger East, otherwise referred to as Zone B, that saw the emergence of Dr. Aliyu as governor between 2007 and 2015; then the incumbent, from Niger North, also referred to as zone C, who is expected to complete two terms by 2023.
It however contravenes the arrangement as Aminu Baka from Zone A decided to aspire and was enjoying the support of Dr. Aliyu, who many believe was not happy with the PDP of Zone C which he alleged allowed Ibeto who had purportedly abandoned the party in 2015 and took appointment with APC government as an ambassador, only to come back to start from a point of special consideration as a likely flag bearer of the party.
A close associate of the former governor, who prefer anonymity, has hinted that he has deliberately remained silent and was watching from the corner and he is not happy with the latest development in the party . “Oga will talk and act at the right time. We are ready for a fight to the finish to ensure that Ibeto will not get the ticket of the party. What makes him think he can abandon us and come back to pick the ticket”?
Consequently, it was learnt that some groups have come together to also impress it upon the flag bearer of the party in the 2015 governorship election Hon. Umar Nasko, to also come out and slug it out for 2019 governorship ticket.
Already, posters of Umar Nasko have appeared in strategic places in the state and are also visible in social media, though he has not come out to say whether he will be contesting or not.
Political analysts believe that he is still a force to reckon with in PDP and capable of spoiling Ibeto’s chances.
It is assumed that Nasko who comes from the same Magama local government are as Ibeto, may spoil the likely home support for Ibeto and divide the support for him thereby making it easy for any other aspirant to get the ticket of the party.
It was gathered that the issue of some party executives giving preference to Ibeto who has just returned to the party is gradually being sold to some members at the grassroots’ and creating lethargy among them against the state executives and in the acceptance of Ibeto as a member of PDP family.
Notwithstanding, the PDP Chairman in the state has categorically stated while receiving the letter of intent from Ibeto on Monday that the party will provide a level playing ground, many still believe that he was fully behind Ibeto whom they claimed he single handedly convinced to come back to PDP for the guber ticket .
According to Beji: “ Nobody or aspirant will be given a preferential treatment”. He added that the party is not a property of any individual as all members are equal, but he also sought for unity to allow credible candidates emerge at all levels of the primaries of the party.
Though the former deputy governor has stated those who he has offended should forgive him as he has forgiven those who has offended him, he was quick to say that he left PDP in 2015 because of what he called injustice and impunity that did not provide the level playing ground.
According to him, the leadership of the party then was not honest to members and because they felt cheated, they decided to shift base.
“We were cheated, that was why we left”, he declared.
Another aspirant Hanafi Sudan, who came second to the flag bearer in 2015 was quick to puncture the claim, while positing that the politics of Ibeto was not based on Ideology but self centeredness.
He asked rhetorically that if Ibeto claimed that he was cheated by the leaders in PDP in 2015, “What has changed now? Are we not the same people he left in PDP who are still there? I came second in 2015 and still I did not defect because I believe in the ideology of the PDP. I stayed there in the past three years as opposition and sustaining the party, what if we continue to jump out of the party as he did, who would have being in the party for him to come back today”?
He posited that from all indication, Ibeto left APC back to PDP because he knew he could not slug it out with the incumbent governor and decided to return to PDP that he abandoned in 2015.
The way things are going in the state chapter of the PDP, various interests are likely to cause crisis in the party in its quest to wrest power from the ruling APC that has remained significantly cohesive in the past three years in the state.
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