Guber race: PDP adopts indirect primaries for Bayelsa, Kogi

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has ruled out the option of adopting direct primaries in electing its candidates for the November 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa and Kogi States.

The primary election in the two states, holding in the first week of September, this year, has already attracted concerns from stakeholders within the party, who expressed fears that the National Working Committee (NWC) might bend the rules in favour of certain interests.

So far, Bayelsa State has recorded the highest number of governorship aspirants with 15, while Kogi follows closely with 11.

Collection of nomination forms closed on July 24, 2019.

As tension rises in the two states, it has been alleged that the party’s national leadership might be opting for the direct primary method.

However, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a chat with The Guardian, dismissed speculations of possible preferential treatment for particular aspirants.

He said the party would stick to the indirect primary election method, which it had used since its formation in 1998.

Ologbondiyan also pointed out that contrary to insinuations, the fact that it has an incumbent governor in Bayelsa State would not affect the quality of its primary election in the state.

He said: “Those spreading such falsehood should look at our track record in all the states we had incumbent governors in the past, where very transparent elections were conducted. Accordingly, we will stick to the rules and guidelines in conducting primaries for Bayelsa and Kogi States…”

The PDP aspirants in Bayelsa are in two categories: those belonging to Governor Seriake Dickson’s political camp, popularly called the Restoration Group, and those belonging to the independent candidate group.

Aspirants in Restoration Camp include Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Secretary to the State Government and Governor’s Chief of Staff.

A former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe, is one of the independent candidates.

In Kogi State, there is a serious battle between the immediate former state governor, Wada Idris, and Abubakar Idris, who is the son of Wada’s former godfather, Ibrahim Idris in the state’s East Senatorial District, dominated mainly by the Igalas.

Majority of the eight PDP aspirants that picked nomination forms so far are from this zone.

In the West Senatorial District is Senator Dino Melaye.

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