by Segun Odeleye
In the days leading up to and following his defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nuhu Ribadu, the former EFCC boss looked like the candidate to beat in the Adamawa election. Feelers from the top was that he had gotten the endorsement of the PDP national leadership and the presidency and was on course to get the PDP ticket despite the presence of other strong candidates.
However, with just three days to go before the PDP primary, Adamu Fintiri, and not Nuhu Ribadu is the frontline candidate.
Fintiri, who is the acting governor of the state following the impeachment of the former governor Murtala Nyako and his deputy Bala Ngilari got another boost to his chances on Tuesday as an aspirant, Mr. James Barka, withdrew from the race and declared his total support for him.
Barka, former Nigeria ambassador to Tunisia said in Yola that his action was to ensure that Fintiri, who he described as the right candidate for the office of Adamawa governor wins the election.
Barka, who like Fintiri, is also a former speaker of the state assembly, sensationally stated that Fintiri’s 30 days so far as acting governor has shown that he is the messiah the state was waiting for to rescue the people from the claws of commercial politicians.
Only last week it looked like Fintiri’s ambition was dead and buried following his disqualification by the Ibrahim Mantu-led screening committee. The disqualification was however overturned by an appeals committee.
Barka stated that his withdrawal from the race was due to Fintiri’s clearance on Sunday, saying that it was impossible for him to contest against him due to his unbeatable record in office as acting governor. He urged other Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirants to quit the race to pave way for Fintiri’s victory, saying that those insisting on contesting the poll were motivated by personal and not public interest.
It seems like things are about to even get better for Fintiri, as six more aspirants are reportedly also negotiating with him and may withdraw before the primary election on Saturday.
The Guardian newspaper spoke with three of the aspirants who confirmed that there was a meeting midnight with the acting governor on Monday concerning their exit from the race.
“Please keep my name in secret, since we are yet to conclude our discussion on the issue with the acting governor. But I want to assure you that we want this young man to win the election, because we have seen in him quality leadership,” one of them said.
Meanwhile, Fintiri’s campaign director-general, Senator Silas Zwingina, has maintained that they held no grudge against the Senator Ibrahim Mantu-led screening committee, which initially failed to clear Fintiri. He said that Fintiri’s clearance by the PDP appeals committee for the bye-election is confirmation of the policy shift in the party to give the youths a chance in the governance of the country.
The acting governor who arrived Yola, the state capital on Monday, assured the people that he would not be intimidated to abandon his policy to restored sanity and rule of law in the running of government affairs for public interest.