By Abu Faisal
Members of the People Democratic Party (PDP) in Borno state have accused party officials of an alleged plot to swap a duly elected Borno Central Senatorial candidate of the party for 2023, Jibrin Tatabe with another name.
Aggrieved supporters of the candidate for the Borno central senatorial district said they have obtained crdible hints from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the party had forwarded a name to that effect. And that the party was claiming that the current candidate, Mr Tatabe had signed a document at the party headquarters where he voluntarily withdrew from the race.
“The Local Government and Ward Party Executives of Born Central Senatorial
district are astonished to hear that the Senatorial Candidate of Borno Central
Senatorial district Hon. Jibrin Mustapha Tatabe who was unanimously elected by
our delegates was substituted and replaced by Hon. Mohammed Umara Kumalia
by our party,” the aggrieved PDP members said.
Though the PDP members and supporters of Mr Tatabe did not provide any verifiable document to buttress their claims of alleged move by the party to substitute the name of their elected senatorial candidate, they said they had approached Abuja to court to enforce a stay of action. Details of the suit were not provided as well.
Though the issue is statute barred, the supporters of Mr Tatabe held a press conference today in Maiduguri where they rallied support for his candidacy while condemning the alleged move to replace his name at the INEC.
Our reporter had contacted the INEC, and an officer who is familiar with the issue but chose to speak under anonymous condition confirmed that “of course there was a letter from the PDP in Borno state that Mr Tatabe had withdrawn from the race and they would send a replacement for his name. But we recently received another counter communication from the candidate who said he has not withdrawn, and he is still the candidate.”
The INEC source said the parties were advised to approach the court for the resolution of the problem.
“It is imperative to put the record straight. We are not aware of any senatorial party primary conducted in our constituency except the one held on the 28th/5/2022 that produced Hon. Jibrin Mustapah Tatabe as the Senatorial candidate of Borno central senatorial district.”
Efforts to get the PDP state chairman, Zanna Gaddama, and the PDP publicity secretary of Borno state, Amos Adziba did not respond to the calls placed to them.
The Borno Central Senatorial district is the most cosmopolitan electoral district with the largest number of votes in the state.
The APC vice presidential candidate, Kashim Shettima was the senator representing Borno central until recently when his nomination was announced.
The exit of Mr Shettima as the APC senatorial candidate leaves the position a little bit vulnerable as key opposition parties in the state like the PDP and the New Nigeria Peoples party (NNPP) have considered stronger candidates to challenges the flagbearer of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
It is being alleged that the PDP is considering fielding notable political figures like Barrister Mohammed Kumalia, a former House of Representatives Minority Leader should in place of Mr Tatabe.