By Emmanuel Uzodinma
Barely 24 hours to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, primary for the Adamawa governorship election, the former EFCC chairman, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, has withdrawn from the race.
Apart from Ribadu, seven other aspirants have also withdrawn, leaving only six to battle for the ticket of the party.
Others who withdrew are Awwal Tukur, Aliyu Idi Hong, Andrawus Sawa, James Barka, Aliyu Kama, Markus Gundiri and Abubakar Girei.
Those still in the race are Ahmed Gulak, Buba Marwa, Ahmed Modibbo, Umar Ardo, acting Governor Umaru Fintiri and Jerry Kumdisi.
This was the outcome of a crisis meeting held in Abuja on Thursday night with the aspirants by Senate President David Mark and members of the national working committee (NWC) of the party.
However, it was resolved that those who participate in Saturday’s primary ahead of the October 11 poll will not take part in the 2015 poll.
The meeting, which lasted for four hours ─ starting 9pm on Thursday and ending at 1am on Friday ─ was held at the Banquet Hall of the State House.
There had been fears among PDP members that the sheer number of aspirants and a bitter contest for the governorship ticket could tear the party apart ahead of the poll.
With the resolution at the crisis meeting, the party’s ticket will now be zoned to Adamawa central district for the 2015 election. Ribadu is from Yola in the central district which has never produced a governor in the state.
Speaking with the media at the end of the meeting, chairman of the Adamawa chapter of the party, Joel Madaki, said: “Fourteen aspirants contesting for the position earlier has now reduced to six aspirants due to this meeting. It is a very welcome idea. Nobody was forced to step them. Those who stepped down did so voluntarily in order to wait to contest for the position in 2015.”
On his part, Gulak, former presidential adviser, hailed the outcome of the meeting.
He said, “The outcome of the meeting was fantastic. We met as family members of PDP, even before coming here all the aspirants in Adamawa have unanimously resolved that after the primaries, in a free, fair primaries, anybody that emerges will get our support.
“Today, in this meeting, the number of the aspirants have been drastically reduced to six, which is manageable. And we have resolved to go into the primary without rancour, without acrimony and to come out of it as peaceful co-existing members.
“And at the end of it all, anybody that emerges, we will all queue behind him. And if I emerge as the candidate, they will all queue behind me. It is going to be a family affair and there will be no losers”.
Also, Hong, who withdrew from the primary, said: “Peace-building, negotiation, give-and-take, everything went well. We have been given a caveat and one thing we have succeeded in extracting from this meeting is that the meeting started with a preamble that whoever is going to contest and if he happens to win as a governor, he will not have the right to contest the 2015 election”.