PDP to conduct fresh Bauchi gov primary as candidate withdraws from race
The Peoples Democratic Party is to conduct a fresh governorship primary in Bauchi state following the withdrawal from the race of the candidate who was declared winner.
The Secretary to the Bauchi State government, Barrister Ibrahim Kassim, who resigned his position to contest the governorship primary in the state, according to the party, contested the election “unopposed.”
Our correspondent had learnt from an impeccable source in the PDP in the state that Kassim, a former Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, went into the race to hold a brief for the Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed, who at the time was contesting for the presidential primary election.
The source also told our correspondent that the governor had purchased the governorship form secretly and was also screened and cleared secretly as a plan B should he not get the presidential ticket of the party.
Mohammed, who got only 20 votes at the presidential primary election which was held last week, was said to return to the state to take over the ticket of the party, as Kassim has resigned as the candidate of the party.
The Returning Officer of the PDP governorship Electoral Panel in Bauchi state, Hassan Grema, had said that Kassim was the sole aspirant in the race and scored a total of 655 votes out of the 656 votes cast with one invalid.
When journalists, who noticed that the name and picture of the governor were also printed alongside that of Kassim, asked the PDP Chairman, Hamza Akuyam, after the election why that was so, he said, “It was a typographical error from the national Secretariat. He didn’t buy the form of the governorship since he’s contesting for the presidency.”
But with the withdrawal of the candidate from the race, this altered the calculations made by the governor and the party.
“We didn’t see it coming, it took us by surprise,” a source told our correspondent in confidence.
Confirming the development to journalists on Tuesday evening, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the state, Yayanuwa Zainabari said, “Yes, I can confirm to you that our gubernatorial candidate, Barr Kashim Ibrahim, has withdrawn from the race. The only reason he gave the party was that he withdrew due to personal reasons.
“Since he has withdrawn voluntarily, the party has no option but to accept his decision and thank him for being a loyal party member.
“We have started the process of getting a replacement for him in line with the provisions of the relevant electoral laws and guidelines. We will look into all of the laws and do the needful”.
Asked if what the party is doing is not a ploy to deceive the electorates, he said that, “No, not a deceit, he voluntarily bought the forms, contested and won, now he has withdrawn voluntarily. There is no deceit there” .
The Publicity Secretary, however, said, “One thing is that, the people of Bauchi State have beckoned on Sen Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir to continue as the Governor for a second term and by the grace of God, he will be our candidate for 2023 gubernatorial election in the state.
“You know that he contested but lost the party presidential primaries, he can now come back, contest for the gubernatorial ticket so that he will participate as the candidate of the PDP in 2023.”
The PDP Spokesperson assured that, “In sha Allah, between today and Saturday, we will let the people know the next line of action. It could be another primaries in the state or direct substitution, whichever is easier and recognised by the law is what we want to do”.
He, however, assured people of Bauchi State that the PDP is not confused and not deceiving them but doing things as recognized and accepted by law.
Speaking to The PUNCH in confidence, a member of the State Working Committee also confirmed the development saying that Kassim submitted his resignation letter to the national headquarters of the party today, Tuesday.
“Yes, what you heard is true, he has resigned leaving the party with no candidate. A fresh election must be conducted immediately in order to meet up with the deadline given by INEC. I don’t know when he resigned but I know he submitted his letter to the national leader.
“This was part of the agreement from day one. The law says that if you are not contesting the election again, you have to personally write and submit to the party and the party will sell forms to some people and conduct a fresh primary again.
“I don’t know if forms will be sold or not but I know that a fresh primary election will be held either Friday or Saturday. We went to INEC and they told us that since the deadline has not elapsed, we can still conduct an election and get our candidate and that’s what we will do either Friday or Saturday,” the source said.