Some governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party have begun moves to stop a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, from emerging as the party’s governorship candidate in Adamawa State.
The governors, who were part of a meeting in the Akwa Ibom State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja on Monday night, believed that it would be dangerous to allow Ribadu to get near the Presidency and the PDP.
The former EFCC chairman defected from the All Progressives Congress to the ruling party on August 16 and a few days after, he picked the PDP nomination form for Adamawa State governorship election scheduled for October 12.
He thereafter applied for a waiver to enable him take part in the primaries which will hold on September 6.
It was also gathered that the governors used the opportunity of their meeting to discuss other issues, including President Goodluck Jonathan’s chances in 2015.
One of the governors, who was at the meeting but asked not to be named, told two journalists, including our correspondent, that some of them also agreed that it would be dangerous for the PDP to field Ribadu as the party’s governorship candidate for the Adamawa State election .
He said they were also not sure if Ribadu, who was the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria presidential candidate in 2011, was not being planted in the ruling party with the aim of spying on the Federal Government.
‘‘He can be uncontrollable and can explode anytime,” the governor said, adding that some of his colleagues were of the opinion that it was wrong for Jonathan’s Principal Secretary, Alhaji Hassan Tukur, to impose Ribadu on the party and the people of the state.
Tukur and a woman minister in charge of one of the key ministries are believed to be instrumental in the former EFCC chairman’s decision to dump the APC for the PDP.
The PDP governors were said to have insisted that if Tukur was passionate about Adamawa State, he could as well obtain a nomination form to contest the position either now or in 2015.
Our source vowed on Monday that he and some of his colleagues had resolved not to support Ribadu for the position.
He said they believed that it would be difficult for Ribadu to be allowed to come closer to the seat of power because of his antecedents.
Asked if it would be better for him to be given a ministerial position since he has joined the ruling party, the governor answered in the negative.
He said, “It is not ideal for the man (Ribadu) to come close to us at all. We still don’t know why Hassan Tukur is insisting on the man.
“We can’t trust him for anything. Look at the auditing job given to him concerning the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation? Do you know the problem that report caused this government?
“Before Ribadu submitted the report, he had leaked it to all the embassies in the country. Will it therefore not be wrong to have such a man close to the government he had denounced and condemned in the past?”
He said the position of the governors was capable of affecting the waiver that Ribadu was seeking from the leadership of the PDP to enable him to take part in the governorship primaries in his state.
Under the constitution of the party, new members and returnees are not qualified to seek elective positions until after two years ─ except they get a waiver.
Section 50 (9) of the PDP constitution says, “There shall be a minimum of two year membership span for a member to be eligible to stand for election into any public office, unless the appropriate executive committee gives a waiver or rules to the contrary.”
Our correspondent gathered that the members of the National Working Committee of the PDP were sharply divided on whether to grant him waiver or not.
While some NWC members were said to have favoured that he (Ribadu), Buba Marwa and Marcus Gundiri be granted waivers, others were said to have rejected the move.
But the PDP said it had not foreclosed the issue of waiver for Ribadu and others.
The members of the NWC are expected to meet in Abuja on Wednesday (today) and there were speculations that the matter would come up.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, who spoke with our correspondent on Tuesday, said , “The issue of waiver is not a problem.
“We the members of the NWC are meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) and if the matter comes up as part of the agenda, we will discuss it.
“Waiver is not a problem at all. So, wait until after the meeting on Wednesday. Like I said, if it comes up, we will discuss it.”
However, a source close to the former EFCC chairman said he might use his contacts among some of the governors to reach out to others.
He said Ribadu was a close friend of at least three of the PDP governors
He listed the governors as Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa) and Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom). Ironically, Akpabio is the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum.
“These are his friends among the PDP governors and they will definitely try to speak for him,” the source added.
Meanwhile, a leader of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Bola Tinubu, has said he does not bear any grudge against Ribadu for defecting to PDP.
He tweeted, “Ribadu remains a friend and brother. He is mature. He remains one who believes in liberty, justice and service. I wish him luck with GOODLUCK.’’