Posted by By MUYIWA OYINLOLA, Lagos, ANDY ASEMOTA, Katsina on
Hilda Idowu, the late Funso Williams’widow led the pack of contenders for the Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship ticket in the primaries held at the weekend. She polled 2,597 votes to beat to the second place Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, who scored 2,195.
Hilda Idowu, the late Funso Williams’widow led the pack of contenders for the Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship ticket in the primaries held at the weekend.
She polled 2,597 votes to beat to the second place Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, who scored 2,195.
Tokunbo Kamson who came a distant third in the election in which 11 aspirants took part had 683 out of the total votes cast.
However, clouds still hang over who gets the party’s nomination as neither of the two leading aspirants secured the mandatory 50 per cent of the votes stipulated by the party’s guidelines and constitution.
Ordinarily, both Mrs Williams and Senator Obanikoro should go for run-off election in line with PDP policy, but the party’s deputy national chairman, Chief Olabode George hinted that the party could waive this in favour of the aspirant who came first in the election, a position Obanikoro immediately challenged.
Fears that George’s view may be the official position of the party’s top hierarchy was further heightened by the silence of the chairman of the electoral panel, Rear Admiral Babatunde Ogundele on the issue. He simply said by the results of the election he was not permitted to return any of the candidate.
The Lagos scenario played out as the former Minister of Sports, Dr Samaila Sambawa lost the party’s ticket for Kebbi State governorship to the one-time Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Malam Bello Ibrahim Gwandu, amid protests against the processes in Katsina State by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Bello Masari.
However, Hon Aminu Bello Masari, who is also bidding for the Katsina State governor’s seat in a petition to President Olusegun Obasanjo, copied to the PDP national chairman and other bigwigs, accused the state government of cowardly alienating four of the governorship aspirants from all processes of the governorship congress.
He said he would not participate in the congress until a proper and transparent process was put in place.
While not foreclosing the possibility of a run off election in Lagos, Chief George said although the party’s constitution stipulated that a winner of the exercise should poll at least 50 per cent of the total votes cast, the party could make a waiver in some cases.
“They will look at the exigencies of it, the party reserves the right, the NEC (National Executive Council) is the final authority. In the last election, when you had a man and a woman trying to do a run off, in order to encourage our womenfolk, we always say let the woman go. That was in 2003.”
“In this case, it may be possible, it may not be possible. It depends on NEC to take its position,” he said, adding that the electoral panel would soon submit its report to the leadership of the party and come up with an action plan.
However, Obanikoro who expressed dismay about the outcome of the congress stressed the need for the conclusion of the exercise in order to have a clear winner. He also said that George’s position of possible special consideration for a woman is a dangerous trend.
“It’s a dangerous trend. One, it is discriminatory. There should be no constitution that should discriminate on the basis of sex. And again, this is democracy, I think it makes sense for us to tread cautiously and ensure that in all our dealings we don’t forget we are all stakeholders. It is very important that we protect the interest of all stakeholders for the good of the party,” he stressed.
Furthermore, he expressed confidence that the leadership of the party would display maturity and respect for the rule of law.
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