Ahead of October 11 Adamawa State governorship bye election, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirants, former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) boss, Nuhu Ribadu, son of former national chairman of the party Bamanga Tukur, Auwal Tukur, Aliyu Idi Hong, Andrawus Sawa, James Barka, Gen. Aliyu Kama, Markus Gundiri and Abubakar Girei, have stepped down from the party's primaries.
The national leadership of the PDP however explained that the winner of the primary for the governorship position in the run-off would not contest for the same position in 2015 polls. This was explained by National Secretary of the party, Wale Oladipo who confirmed the consensus arrangement.
Also, there were indications yesterday that some of the aspirants who stepped down were seeking political realignment within the party and for certain of the candidates still in the race.
Those still in the race for PDP's primaries include former Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Political Affairs, Ahmed Gulak, former Lagos State military administrator, Buba Marwa, Acting Governor of the state, Umaru Fintiri, Ahmed Modibbo, Dr. Umar Ardo, as well as Jerry Kumdisi.
The decision was reached at the meeting which lasted to 1am Friday and held at the banquet hall, Presidential Villa.
Senate President, David Mark, led other top officials of the party to broker the deal.
To set the stage for the governorship bye-election in Adamawa State, the former governor, Murtala Nyako was impeached by the state House of Assembly over allegation of gross financial misconduct and October 11 was fixed for the election.
The meeting which was held behind closed doors reached a compromise that aspirants that stepped down should contest the 2015 governorship election with the idea of power shift to the Central Senatorial district.
It was also agreed at the meeting that whoever among the aspirants that emerges the party's candidates, should be given maximum support aim at ensuring that PDP coasts home to victory in the October 11 governorship bye election in the state.
Chairman of the Adamawa State chapter of PDP, Joel Madaki who spoke to State House correspondents shortly after the meeting said “14 aspirants contesting for the position earlier have now reduced to six aspirants due to this meeting.
"It is a very welcome idea. Nobody was forced to step down. Those who stepped down did so voluntarily in order to wait to contest for the position in 2015.
“The six aspirants contesting this election are Ahmed Gulak, Buba Marwa, Ahmed Modibbo, Dr. Umar Ardo, Acting Governor Umaru Fintiri, and Jerry Kumdisi.”
Also, one of the contestants, Ahmed Gulak, told journalists that “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 (Friday), in this meeting, the number of the aspirants has been drastically reduced to six, which is manageable. I am contesting, Gen. Marwa is contesting, Ahmed Modibbo is contesting, Dr. Umar Ardo is contesting, Hon. Jerry Kumdisi is contesting, and Acting Governor Fintiri is contesting.
“And we have resolved to go into the primaries 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.”
On whether he was intimidated by Ribadu's presence in the race, the former special adviser to Jonathan on political affairs said “Nuhu Ribadu or not, you know, I prepared for this election. Even, if 14 of us are going into this election, I am confident of my ability, of my capability, of my mobilisation, of my sensitisation that the delegates will select me.”
Also Aliyu Idi Hong who stepped down, told journalists that “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".
“Some of us think that our aspiration, our ambition, our vision for Adamawa is a long term and more articulate vision and not a stop-gap six months aspiration.
“For that reason, we saw it is wiser that if you are going to do something to change the fortune of Adamawa, you need a longer period of time. So, we decided that it is not wise for you to go into this aspiration for six months.
“Two, we have also been able to have on record, that whoever is going to emerge as governor will not contest in 2015 and it has also been unanimously agreed that because Adamawa Central has not been able to produce governor of the state before.
"It is on record that the Presidency and the party have accepted that the aspiration for the PDP nomination for 2015 will be strictly for contestants from Adamawa Central. It is not negotiable.
“So most of us from Adamawa Central have agreed to this position and about eight of us have withdrawn from the race. We are going to remain members of the party and we are going to contest in 2015 because it will give us the opportunity to make that transformation that we want to change Adamawa into.”
Present at the meeting include Senator David Mark, PDP National Vice Chairman, Uche Secondus, Governor of Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda, his Gombe State counterpart, Ibrahim Dakwambo, Special Adviser to Jonathan on Political Affairs, Rufai Alkali, among other top PDP officials.