ANXIETY IN KADUNA PDP, AS COURT DELIVERS JUDGMENT OVER GUBER ASPIRANT'S DISQUALIFICATION
Anxiety, is apt in describing the mood within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Kaduna State, as the party anxiously awaits the verdict of the court, over a suit, instituted by one of its chieftains and a gubernatorial aspirant in the state, Alhaji Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi.
Hunkuyi is challenging what he described as his 'unlawful' disqualification from the party's primary election. The election, barring any shift in date by the party's national headquarters in Abuja, holds next Sunday.
Our sister publication, Sunday Sun, had exclusively reported last Sunday that Hunkuyi would be approaching the court to challenge his disqualification, probably to stop the PDP, from holding its primary on Sunday.
Daily Sun gathered authoritatively that the Court, presided over by Justice Tukur Muazu, has agreed to give the suit accelerated hearing, and as such would go ahead to deliver judgment tomorrow (Friday).
The judgment, once delivered, Daily Sun further learnt, would certainly change the course of events in the State, ahead of the party primary, on Sunday.
If the judgment favours Hunkuyi, and the party does not appeal the judgment, then, it means Hunkuyi and his supporters would take part in the party primaries, the outcome of which would be anybody's guess.
However, if the judgment does not favour him, it means the coast is clear, once and for all, for Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa of Kaduna State, to be crowned the PDP's standard bearer in the 2011polls in the state.
The Issues in contention
The PDP North-West Zonal Gubernatorial Screening Panel, chaired by former Defence minister, Shettima Mustapha, had after its sitting in Kaduna, refused to clear Hunkuyi, over what it termed 'incomplete tax clearance and inability to answer questions over lack of complete tax clearance documents satisfactorily.
Not satisfied with the verdict of the panel, Hunkuyi appealed the verdict. But the Senator Tunde Ogbeha-led Appeal Committee also upheld the verdict of the zonal screening committee.
However, Hunkuyi is insisting that both panels were 'unjust and unfair,' to him, because going by the PDP's Electoral Guidelines for Primary Election 2010, a copy of which was obtained by Daily Sun, he met the requirement to run for the primary.
The former finance commissioner, had said 'item 14 (a) on page 8 of the guideline said 'an aspirant to the gubernatorial primary election shall not be qualified to be nominated or to contest the primary election, if he/she fails to produce his personal income tax certificate, or any evidence that he has paid his income tax as at when due for the last preceding three years or evidence of exemption from payment of personal income tax…' and that was what I presented.'
What was before the court, Daily Sun further learnt, was a prayer, to determine, whether or not, by the provisions of its own rules, the party was right in disqualifying Hunkuyi, for not presenting what was originally never part of the requirement for qualification to stand the party's primary election.