The Peoples Democratic Party is to conduct a fresh governorship primary in Bauchi State following the withdrawal from the race of the candidate who was declared winner.
The Secretary to the State Government, Ibrahim Kassim, who resigned his position to contest the governorship primary in the state, contested the primary election “unopposed.”
We learnt from a source in the state PDP that Kassim went into the race to hold brief for the state governor, Bala Mohammed, who at the time was a presidential aspirant of the party.
The source also told our correspondent that the governor had purchased the governorship form secretly and was also screened and cleared secretly as a plan B should he not get the presidential ticket of the party.
Mohammed, who got only 20 votes at the party’s presidential primary which held last week, was said to have returned to the state to retrieve the ticket, but Kassim decided to resign as the candidate.
The Returning Officer of the PDP governorship electoral panel in the state, Hassan Grema, had said that Kassim was the sole aspirant in the race and scored a total of 655 votes out of the 656 votes cast with one invalid.
When journalists who noticed that the name and picture of the governor was also printed alongside that of Kassim, asked the PDP Chairman, Hamza Akuyam, he had said, “It was a typographical error from the national secretariat. He didn’t buy the governorship form since he is contesting for the president.”
But with the withdrawal of the candidate from the race, this altered the calculations made by the governor and the party.
“We didn’t see it coming, it took us by surprise,” a source told our correspondent in confidence.
Confirming the development to journalists on Tuesday evening, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the state, Yayanuwa Zainabari said, Yes, I can confirm to you that our governorship candidate, Kashim Ibrahim, has withdrawn from the race. The only reason he gave the party is that he withdrew due to personal reasons.
“Since he has withdrawn voluntarily, the party has no option but to accept his decision and thank him for being a loyal party member.
“We have started the process of getting a replacement for him in line with the provisions of the relevant electoral laws and guidelines. We will look into all of the laws and do the needful.”
He added, “One thing is that the people of Bauchi State have beckoned on Senator Bala Mohammed to continue as the governor for a second term and by the grace of God, he will be our candidate for 2023 governorship election in the state.
“You know that he contested but lost the party’s presidential primary. He can now come back, contest for the governorship ticket so that he will participate as the candidate of the PDP in 2023.
“Between today and Saturday, we will let the people know the next line of action, it could be another primary in the state or direct substitution, whichever is easier and recognised by the law is what we want to do.”
A member of the State Working Committee also confirmed the development, saying that Kassim submitted his resignation letter to the national headquarters of the party on Tuesday.