Ortom, a political liability, Benue aspirants allege
OBIORA IFOH, Abuja
The runner-up in Saturday’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary election in Osun State, Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi has called on the leadership of the party to declare him the party’s flag bearer in the state gubernatorial poll schedule for September 22, 2018.
Ogunbiyi who stormed the Wadata Plaza, national secretariat yesterday with scores of his supporters, faulted the process that produced the winner of the primary election, Senator Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke, who polled a total of 1,569 votes, seven more than Ogunbiyi’s 1,562.
In a petition addressed to the chairman, gubernatorial Electoral Appeal Panel of the PDP, Ogunbiyi premised his prayers on the ground that 42 voided votes and 128 unaccounted votes were his, adding that the total votes he garnered amounted to 1,732.
“I, Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi having polled the highest number of votes in the primary election of 21st July, 2018, be declared the validly nominated/ elected PDP governorship candidate for the forthcoming September 22, 2018 gubernatorial election for Osun state,” he stated.
Ogunbiyi also questioned Adeleke’s eligibility for the poll, stressing that a document allegedly submitted by the lawmaker as evidence of his educational qualification up to school certificate level did not meet the basic qualification stipulated by the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act.
“The Principal of Muslim Grammar School, Ede, Mr. Khalid Abbas who purportedly signed the testimonial , had not been posted to the school in question as at the date indicated on the document,” he noted, adding that “The Principal has denied ever issuing or signing it and the denial is very well on record.”
He also called for the disqualification of Adeleke on the ground that “Contrary to Section 30, Sub Section E of the Electoral Guidelines for primary election 2018, the total number of delegates accredited was not announced before the commencement of voting.”
In his reaction, however, Senator Adeleke enjoined all those who felt aggrieved to join hands with him to reclaim the state from the All Progressives Congress, APC.He particularly urged Dr. Ogunbiyi to “come on board,” describing last Saturday’s primary election as a brotherly contest.”I congratulate Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi and his hard-fighting team for running a good and impressive campaign. It was a brotherly contest in our collective strive to redeem our state. It is therefore no gainsaying that we are all winners.
“My emergence as the governorship candidate of our great party marks the beginning of divine liberation of our dear people from repression and oppression,” he stated.Meanwhile in Benue State, the PDP Forum of governorship aspirants has alleged that Governor Samuel Ortom has no political value and would not be an asset if he returns to the PDP.
The group also said the PDP should not be in a hurry to accept a sitting governor who has been given a red card from the ruling party and who is also owing salaries up to one year and four months.
In a press conference on Monday in Abuja, the Chairman of the group, Prof. David Ker, threatened to resist any attempt to dissolve the Party’s executive at the state, local government and ward levels to accommodate the interest of Governor Ortom and his incoming entourage.
The group stated that they were not opposed to new or old members returning to the party but maintained that the party must create a level-playing ground for a free, fair and transparent primary elections as promised by the National leadership of the party.
Ker said a lot of efforts were made to reposition Benue PDP after the governorship election it lost in 2015, adding that there must be unhindered flow of robust participation based on the will of the majority.
“Nobody is afraid of Governor Ortom; he was a member of this group until he left to join the APC after the primaries. It is obvious that we cannot stop people from coming to join us; so, nobody says that he cannot come” Ker stated.
Also speaking, Surveyor John Tondus said Benue PDP was not afraid of the return of Ortom but pointed out that the party should not shop for the Governor Ortom as” he is a liability politically”
“What we look for is asset, we don’t look for liabilities. The governor of Benue State is a liability, he is not an asset. He is not welcomed because he will make the party to lose election. We are looking for asset not liabilities”, Tondus said.
Also in his speech, Dr. Terhemen Tarzoor, former governorship flag bearer of the party in 2015 threatened that the group would resist anybody that will devalue the party and frustrate the efforts of Benue PDP to recapture power irrespective of monetary enticements.
“We are not opposed to anybody coming into the People’s Democratic Party but we are very much sensitive about the character and value of the person coming into the party because we want the party PDP to reclaim victory in Benue.
“And we cannot afford to seat here and fold our hands and see someone of negative value coming in to rub on the People’s Democratic Party. We are a people who believe that there should be value addition.
“This is someone who has not paid salaries for more than one year four or five months as the case may be and Benue People are not happy. The National Secretariat of the party in their decision taken position, if they go with the philosophy of not recognizing that all politics is local, then I can tell you, its not a threat, it’s a promise, we also have the capacity of saying No, enough is enough.
“We are ready to accommodate everybody, but let us not accommodate people who are of negative value that will rub on the party in the state because the state as you all know, if a governor is chased out of his party, it goes without saying that the party don’t even need that governor. Because sitting governors chase people out of their parties and if it in the negative, then we should not go into believing the monetary aspect, that someone is coming in and will come with state funds.
“We should look at the value of the person coming in because life is about credit and balance. You come with the credit side which is money but the debit side is that you lose elections and the party will be thrown into crises” he stated.Thirteen members of the group attended the briefing including Dr. Paul Orhii, Dr. Gabriel Nyitse, Rt. Hon. David Iorhemba, Prof. Eugene Aliegbe and many others.
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