From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin-Kebbi
The recently concluded state congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Kebbi State has opened a new chapter of crisis among members of the party in the state.
Daily Sun gathered that prior to the congress, which held between November 4th and 5th, 2017, at Birnin-Kebbi, the warring factions in the party had closed ranks in the interest of the party. These factions or groups are led by the immediate past governor of the state, Alhaji Saidu Nasamu Dakingari, and former national chairman of the party, Alhaji Haliru Mohammed respectively.
Interestingly, the Haliru group comprises bigwigs like Lieutenant- General Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd) and former minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Taminu Turaki(SAN).
It was learnt that while the Dakingari group backed the Musa Ibrahim Dan-Illela, for the party’s chairmanship position, the second group supported the candidature of Alhaji Haruna Saaidu, who eventually won the election.
Chairman of the State Congress panel, Senator Nimi Barigha Amange who supervised the election with the representative of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mohammed
Awwal, who is the Head of Department of Election and Political Parties Monitoring Department, declared Alhaji Haruna D. Saadu as the validly elected chairman of the party.
Saadu, according to him, defeated his rival, Alhaji Ibrahim Dan-Illela, 448 votes to 286 votes. Total votes cast was put at 636, and 749 delegates from 21 councils in the state participated in the process.
Rejecting the results of the congress however, Dan-Illela alleged that the list of the delegates was doctored, just as he claimed that there was over voting. He also claimed that most of the delegates were shut out of the venue of the congress.
To this end, he said “I,Musa Ibrahim Dan-Illela, a candidate for the chairmanship of PDP, Kebbi State, on behalf of the Dan-Illela Unity camp and our teeming supporters, I use this opportunity you have given to me to express our dissatisfaction and rejection of the outcome of the congress under reference. This became necessary in view of the fact that the congress was deliberately marred by irregularities which we have captured and relayed to the appeal committee for remedy.
“There is no gainsaying that the mood which greeted the outcome of the congress was startling to all, and this can be seen in the way the majority of the PDP family in Kebbi State are now in low spirit following the announcement of the outcome of the congress. The Secretariat of our party in Birnin- Kebbi which recently used to be a beehive of activities, has instead of witnessing more of jubilant activities, is now deserted,” Dan-Illela said.
He said he would have accepted the result of the congress if “the election was fair enough.”
But a member of the Kebbi State PDP elders and former PDP acting national chairman, Alhaji Bello
Haliru Mohammed while speaking with Daily Sun, noted that the reconciliation efforts reduced the number of contestants from 27 to ten, adding that “this election has been open and transparent. We are very happy, very glad that all the delegates behaved very well because all of us belong to the same family. We love our party, it not a fight, and you know PDP always do it things like a family. As the new leadership emerges, we would give them our full support. Our main aim is to work towards 2019 general elections and take over government of Kebbi State by the grace of God and the government at the centre.”
In his reaction, the new PDP Chairman, Alhaji Haruna Saadu told Daily Sun in an interview that he had visited Dan-Illela in his home to extend his hands of partnership and discussed how the party could move forward.
Saadu who said there was no winner, no loser said” the election was conducted in an open manner, each candidate had their agents represented, delegates were accredited, voting commenced and the results were counted publicly before all the stakeholders.
“So, I can tell you that the election was adjudged the freest and fairest election in the history of Kebbi State. There was a never a time in the history of Kebbi State where election was done the way this election was conducted. It is normal after election to heard aggrieved members criticise outcome of the election. But I want to assure you that we are making efforts to reconcile all aggrieved members because PDP is one big family. This election has come to stay.”
To have a united house ahead of 2019, “We also visited other aggrieved members’ houses for reconciliation. It will be a continuous exercise. At the local government level too, we have told elected officers to reach out to aggrieved members so that we can join hands together to move the party forward. What concerns all of us now is how to take power from the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC),”Saadu said.