The Governorship Screening Panel of the Peoples Democratic Party has disqualified the Acting Governor of Adamawa State, Umar Fintiri, from taking part in the forthcoming governorship primary in the state, while thirteen others were cleared by the panel.
The decision to ban Fintiri was taken when the committee interviewed all the 11 aspirants and screened their qualification papers, which included party membership card, tax clearance certificates and educational certificates, among other things in Abuja on Saturday night.
The Chairman of the screening panel, Sen. Ibrahim Mantu, announced the result of his committee which met for about nine hours at the party national secretariat.
Mantu, in company with other members of the committee, said Fintiri was disqualified because of Section 191 (2), which he claimed did not allow an acting governor to transmit from that position to become a substantive governor.
“Thirteen aspirants were cleared while one was disqualified. He was found to have fallen short of the guideline set by the party.
“Fintiri was not cleared because of Section 191(2) which does not allow him to transmit from acting capacity to the position of the governor.”
Section 191 (1) of the constitution reads, “The deputy governor of a state shall hold the office of governor of the state, if the office of Governor becomes vacant by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal of the governor from office for any other reason in accordance with section 188 or 189 of this constitution.
“(2) Where any vacancy occurs in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) of this section during a period when the office of deputy governor of the state is also vacant, the speaker of the House of Assembly of the state shall hold the office of governor of the state for a period of not more than three months, during which there shall be an election of a new governor of the state who shall hold office for the unexpired term of office of the last holder of the office.
“(3) Where the office of the deputy governor becomes vacant –
(a) by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal in accordance with section 188 or 189 of this Constitution;”
Mantu said it would be wrong for the governor, who he described as the midwife, to also be seen as a pregnant mother.
Mantu listed those who were cleared by his committee as a three-time gubernatorial aspirant, Dr. Umar Ardo; former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu; Senator Abubakar Girei; former Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak; a former Military Administrator of Lagos and Borno states, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.); and a former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Aliyu Idi- Hong.
Before Mantu announced the result of the panel, all the 14 aspirants expressed confidence that they were capable of winning the primary.
Speaking with journalists after his screening, Ribadu expressed satisfaction with the screening process and noted his confidence that the party leadership would ensure transparent primaries.
He said, “I pray to God that for the good of the country; for the good people of Adamawa, what is going on today is probably a turning point and a change that is coming in Adamawa State and Nigeria.”
Moddibo, on his part, described the screening process as excellent and straightforward, adding that the rest was left for the committee to decide.
He, however, ruled out any intention of stepping down for any other aspirant, saying “that question does not arise”
Ardo, on his part, expressed reservations against the waiver granted Ribadu, Marwa and Gundiri to face the screening ahead of the primaries.
He said “I am not satisfied because it did not follow due process. In any case, I will abide by the decision of the party.”
Another aspirant, and the eldest of the lot, Sawa, said questions were straightforward and excellent.
The primary holds in Yola on September 6.