The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appears stuck with its plan to appeal against the recent decision of the Taraba State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal that nullified the April election of Mr. Darius Ishaku as governor of the state.
The party, according to an investigation, has been unable to get the support of those aggrieved by its handling of the governorship primaries before heading to the appeal court.
It was gathered that the party fears that unless the aggrieved men put the past behind them and agree that contrary to the position of the tribunal, there was indeed a primary election in which they participated it might be futile going to the higher court.
Party sources told The Nation that the delay in filing the appeal might not be unconnected with the inability of the national and state leaderships of the PDP to get its governorship aspirants in the state to forget the past.
The Nation learnt the PDP is unsure of how to handle the refusal of two frontline aspirants, including the former Acting Governor of the State, Alhaji Garba Umar, to endorse the position of the party that all aspirants should agree to defend Ishaku’s mandate at the Appeal Court by testifying that they participated in the primary election that produced him.
Umar who was Ishaku’s main rival for the PDP ticket, according to sources, bluntly told party leaders and chieftains at the various parleys called to resolve the issue, that he will always publicly attest to the fact that there was no primary election in the PDP, even in the court of law.
One source said, “There is a serious problem within the PDP over the much awaited Appeal. The party has spent the last three weeks trying to put its house in order by appealing to the aspirants who ran against Governor Ishaku to be willing and ready to testify that they participated in the primary election that produced him as candidate. But some of them are adamantly refusing to tow that line.
“It is very important for the party to get this sorted out with the aspirant because the whole subject of the tribunal judgement was wrongly premised on the assumption that there was no proper primary election in the PDP before Ishaku was thrown up by the party as its flag-bearer. Unless we are able to speak with one voice as a party at the Appeal Court on this matter, it will be difficult to win.
“And the most important persons in this desire to jointly defend Ishaku’s mandate are the aspirants. Unless they all concede the ticket to him willingly and refrain from publicly agreeing with the opposition and the tribunal that the Governor was wrongly nominated, the entire process of appealing may be an exercise in futility.
“But as I speak with you, today (Friday), former Acting Governor Umar and Chief David Kente, two prominent chieftains of our party in Taraba and front-line governorship contenders, have refused to buy into the arrangement of the party meant to save Governor Ishaku from being sacked by the Appeal Court.
“The situation is frightening. As at this morning a decision was taken by the national leadership to invite the various factions to a final meeting on Monday after which a decision will be taken about the appeal. But there is fresh fear and that concerns when exactly the 21 days will lapse.”
The Nation also learnt that the camp of the former Acting Governor recently met and urged him to insist on the position that there was no primary election in the PDP before the last governorship poll in the state. According to aides and political associate of Umar’s, the meeting was meant to take a position on the matter.
Prominent Taraba PDP chieftain and Co-ordinator of the UTCiaya Amana Political Movement, Umar’s political family, Jinadu Yawe while describing former Acting Governor Umar UTC as the major victim of the political robbery perpetrated by the PDP, denied his participation in the purported sham primary election, where Ishaku was selected as the candidate.
He confirmed that pressure is being mounted on the former Acting Governor to endorse the ‘primary’ but added that the group is insisting that PDP members in Taraba State were clearly and brazenly denied their right to select candidates of their choice for the election.
He said if primaries were held anywhere without the knowledge of relevant authorities and lawful delegates, the primaries should appropriately be declared unconstitutional, null and void.
“Claiming that any of the PDP governorship aspirants participated in the fraud called primary election held in Abuja is a wicked and barefaced lie aimed at covering the disgraceful subversion of both the PDP constitution and the Electoral Act just to willfully hand over the ticked to Ishaku.
“It was at the contrived primaries that Alhaji Umar was awarded the Senatorial ticket in absentia just to assuage his teeming supporters. It is the same rejected ticket that former Acting Governor Abubakar Sani Danladi seized, even without purchasing the form and going through the screening process.
Efforts to get the comments of the Governor on the development proved abortive as the Senior Special Assistant to the governor, Sylvanus Yakubu Giwa, could not be reached on phone.