Governor Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow’s emergence as the All Progressives Congress (APC) flag bearer for the 2019 governorship election is to many , the outcome of a well planned political strategy. HUSSAINI HAMMANGABDO x-ray’s the events that unfolded prior to his ratification.
Though the party’s primary has come and gone with winners and losers smiling and crying foul, the National Working Committee of the ruling APC , (NWC), the highest decision making body of the party has also doused the perceived tension with its ratification of the candidature of Governor Mohammed Jibrilla, as his name made the list submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
To onlookers, Bindow ‘s emergence as the party’s flag bearer was glaring right from the congresses that elected delegates for the primaries, as he utilised the instrumentality of his office to cage the delegates to his advantage.
This development has further left keen observers in the State and beyond that, aspirants from the other factions of Party in the State did not match his political machinery during the ward, local government and State congresses .
While other factions of the party raised series of alarms, petitions and even threatened to boycott future activities of the party , their cries fell on deaf ears of the appropriate national organs of the party.
Recall that in the heat of preparations for the congresses and primaries which paved the way for his victory, there was a bitter struggle over the conduct of the APC congresses .
The drama started when the National Working Committee (NWC), of the All Progressives Party Congress (APC), gave a directive that each state should choose the mode primaries for selection candidate for the party.
The State Executive Committee (SEC), of the party at a meeting held on September 3, at the government house Yola, chaired by deputy governor Martines Babale attended, by SGF Boss Mustapha and all serving APC Senators / members of the House of Representatives from the state, former governor James Barka, Abdulrahman Shuibu, Aishatu Binani, Ahmed Gulak, Musa Kamale and Sadiq Dasin.
Others who were present at that meeting were Aliyu Kama, Sen.Binta Garba, Fatima Balla, where they adopted an indirect party primaries, for all the elected positions in the party, except the presidential election in the state.
A communique, issued at the end of that meeting which was read out by, Mr Wafarniyi Theman, the Secretary of the party in the state, stated that, the indirect primaries, adopted was for the governors, National Assembly, and state House of Assembly elections.
“To this end, the SEC of APC resolved to adopt, the indirect primaries, for Governorship, National Assembly and state House of Assembly primaries”.
Theman further stated that the meeting was convened inline with the section 12.8 of the party constitution and not stakeholders meeting of the party he emphasised.
Mr Boss Mustapha, SGF, had in his remarks assured that, the stakeholders of the party would not allow provocation to propel crisis in the party.
Mustpha who is also, BOT of trustee member of the party, denied internal crisis in the party but promised that the primaries, would be free and fair in the state.
In his words, “We would not allow any provocation, to propel us into crisis in the ruling APC in the state.
“There is no opposition yet in APC in Adamawa state, as members are covered by the oath of allegiance of the party”.
Sen. Silas Zingina, who spoke on behalf of former senators, said the adoption of indirect primaries for the state, was as a result of the absence of registered members of APC as a party in the state.
Zingina explained that if the party went for indirect primaries, it would serve as basis for establishing internal crisis, as the processes would be marred by irregularities.
Hon. Emmanuel Tsamdu, representing Madagali constituency, citied insecurity by Boko Haram insurgency in some part of the state, as reasons for adopting the indirect mode of primaries.
But in a twisted move the choice of Indirect Primary, was rejected outrightly by Babachir Lawal, Sen Abubakar Mo’ Allahyidi, Marcus Gundiri, Mahmood Halilu Abubakar Girei and Bello Tukur and other aggrieved faction of APC in the state led by Dumis Ezra , a development that led them to all write letters of complaint to the NWC of the party over the matter.
They accused Adamawa state government of hijacking the party, to favour Alhaji Ibrahim Billal ‘s led EXCO in the state.
Other parties sought for direct primaries ,adding it would foster democracy and discourage underhand dealing in the conduct of the primaries.
Part of the letter reads “ We the undersigned stakeholders/aspirants from Adamawa, therefore reiterate our unwavering support for direct primaries, and want the party to ensure it is conducted to the latter as mark of assurance, for open and fair contest and in order to elect popular candidates who can stand the test of general elections.
The letter singed by Comrade Dimas Ezra and Usman Ibrahim, on behalf of the aggrieved stakeholders disassociated themselves from the adoption of indirect party primaries system.
According to them, the claim that security threat in the state, can undermine the peaceful conduct of direct primaries, is a clear act of sabotage to undermine the successes, recorded in the fight against insurgency in the North-East region.
“We as committed stakeholders of our party, are deeply concerned about the recent misrepresentation of the security situation in Adamawa state by Gov. Bindow and his cronies.
“Acting both within and outside the party structure, with the intent to subvert the conduct of free and fair nomination of candidate, through direct primaries adopted by the NWC of the party.
“We the stakeholders of APC in Adamawa state, refute the false claim that security threat, can undermine peaceful conduct of direct primaries in the state.
“The claim is contradictory, to their earlier claim that, they have conducted peaceful party congress, in all the 226 electoral wards of the state in April 2018
The primaries was about to start and was suspended on date of the primaries, as a result of high tension by Ribadu and Mahmood, accusing Gov. Jibrilla Bindow of compromising with the electoral committee headed by Laurence Onoja to conduct the APC primaries elections in the state.
They also accused Bindow of buying delegates, which resulted to the suspension of the on-going indirect primaries by the NWC, which later announced that, Adamawa APC primaries has been suspended.
After the suspension, Nuhu Ribadu who earlier on withdrew from the contest, joined the race again, when it was converted to direct mode of primaries by the NWC of the party.
Lawal who spoke on behalf of the two contestants Ribadu and Mahmood at a news briefing, gave detailed explanation on the nature of direct primaries declared for the state by the NWC, he went further and said “This policy of exclusion came to a head with the purported meeting of the state executive committee convened at the government house on Monday, September 3, 2018 where indirect primaries was allegedly adopted as the mode of electing party flag bearers.
“That meeting was convened secretly and thus, we the undersigned aspirants, statutory delegates and critical stakeholders were kept in the dark and were not invited.
“It was therefore a meeting of like minds, persons who are prepared to perpetuate illegality to satisfy the whims of a single individual, who has totally lost out in popularity and integrity.
“We, as aspirants, statutory delegates and stakeholders want to unequivocally dissociate ourselves, from the purported resolution which was done in bad faith and is bound to affect the image and chances of our great party in the forthcoming elections.
“The larger majority of the APC family in Adamawa received the news of the adoption of direct primaries by NWC of the party with pleasure and enthusiasm.
“We, therefore, cannot allow unpopular persons who are afraid of voters to change the rule of the game. It is equally necessary to remind all the parties concerned, of the pendency of an appeal filed in respect of the outcome of the ward, local goverment and state congresses in Adamawa state in May, 2018.” He explained.
This development led to the suspension of 17 members from the state exco of the party who were barred from participating in the primaries of the party.
The two factions of the party fought tooth and nail to abort the conducted congress, but to no avail.
In the heat of the struggle, other factions withdrew and all their supporters defected when it became so obvious that, Jibrilla’s faction of the party had the support of the national and zonal chapters of the party.
His faction enjoyed the patronage of the incumbent and the national vice chairman for the north east, Mr Salihu Mustapha as the march towards the party primary drew closer.
Conduct of Direct Primary on 6 October 2018
The direct primaries which was conducted on the 6 of October, was stalled by late arrival of voting materials and officials across the 226 wards of the state.
The aspirants who addressed press conferences separately, forwarded their letters of complaint to the chairman of the electoral panel Maj. Gen. Ahmed Jibrian for consideration, insisting that there was no primaries conducted.
The electoral committee, however continued its work by collating results across the state and subsequently announced Gov. Jibrilla Bindow as the winner of the primary with 193,656 votes to defeat Mahmood Halilu, who scored 15738 votes and Nuhu Ribadu who scored 8364 votes respectively.
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