Adamawa Guber: PDP Govs Lose Bid To Stop Fintiri


•Acting governor resumes campaign
Governors elected on the platform of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last week attempted to scuttle the governorship aspiration of the acting Governor of Adamawa State, Hon. Umaru Fintiri to deter their home Speakers from nursing similar ambitions, has learnt.

A jubilant Fintiri on Sunday resumed electioneering campaign following the lifting of a seal on his ambition by the party's screening committee.

A committee set up by PDP to screen governorship aspirants on its platform had at the weekend singled out Fintiri for disqualification. The committee was headed by Senator Ibrahim Mantu. 

Late Sunday, however, the party's appeal panel over-ruled the Mantu committee, handing the acting governor the nod to contest the party primary election.

“We have taken a critical look at the entire gamut of the 1999 Constitution, the Electoral Act and the PDP Constitution before arriving at our decision,” said the appeal panel chiarmain Senator James Manager.

“The prerequisite for qualification to contest the election, as quoted by the Screening Panel, does not in any way affect the rights of the Acting Governor to contest.

“On the strength of that, we have decided to issues the Acting Governor a provisional clearance certificate to participate in the primary election.

“This decision is based on the facts on ground and not informed by any primordial sentiments. The outcome of our exercise is a unanimous decision by all members of the committee”, he submitted.

The Mantu panel had last week cleared a former presidential rival of President Goodluck Jonathan, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, a former military governor Buba Marwa, and a former head of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Ahmed Modibbo Mohammed, among other aspirants.

He had blamed Fintiri's disqualification on the “moral burden” his candidacy would pose for the party, having served as Speaker and acting governor.

“He is a child of circumstance. He is the midwife and should not be the one carrying the pregnancy. He is like a referee who cannot participate in the match”. Mantu had said.

He added that Fintiri's aspiration violated Section 191(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

Section 191 (2) reads:
“The Deputy Governor of a State shall hold the office of Governor of the State if the office of Governor becomes vacant by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal of the governor from office for any other reason in accordance with section 188 or 189 of this constitution.

(2) Where any vacancy occurs in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) of this section during a period when the office of Deputy Governor of the State is also vacant, the Speaker of the House of Assembly of the State 'shall' hold the office of Governor of the State for a period of not more than three months, during which there shall be an election of a new Governor of the State who shall hold office for the unexpired term of office of the last holder of the office.”

However, faulting the Mantu panel, a top lawyer told that there was nothing in Section 191 barring an acting governor from participating in the same election.

“I have through the entire section. It deals with how a new governor can be elected in the event of the removal of the governor and deputy. Section 191 (2) deals with how to produce a new governor through fresh election, not the eligibility or otherwise of persons who can contest,” submitted the lawyer.

As Speaker of Adamawa State House of Assembly, Fintiri led his colleague -legislators to impeach Governor Murtala Nyako. Deputy Governor James Ngilari was forced to resign, paving the way for Fintiri's emergence as acting governor.

A top PDP source told that PDP-elected governors had mounted a strong opposition to Fintiri's candidacy, saying it would set a dangerous precedence in the polity.

“The governors pointedly told the President and the party leadership to stop Fintiri. They reasoned that should the acting governor contest and win, the move would send a message to the state legislators and make the governors and their deputies subject to their whims,” offered the source, adding, “Mantu merely affirmed the position of the governor.”

The source explained that Fintiri has since appealed his disqualification on several grounds, including the fact that

there was no clause in the PDP constitution barring incumbents, including acting governors, from contesting its primaries. gathered that the plot to stop Fintiri didn't come easy, as the governors reportedly sought the Presidency's help to “try to make him understand.”

Meanwhile, the acting governor reportedly jetted into Yola, the state capital, Sunday afternoon and continued with his campaigns.

“The Acting Governor is confident about his eligibility to contest because the decision not to clear him has no political or legal precedence,” Fintiti's spokesperson, Solomon Kumanga said mid Sunday.

An associate said he was in “high spirits and confident that the appeal panel would over-rule the highly opinionated report of the Mantu committee.”

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