Who is Kogi PDP’s Governorship Candidate? Wada or Echocho?

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi State is at crossroads on whether to retain its governorship candidate, Mr. Jibril Isah Echocho, who won the primary on January 9 or a hurriedly “anointed” candidate of the governor, Capt Idris Ochala Wada.

While the primary that produced Echocho was free and fair, the exercise which produced Wada was boycotted by five aspirants.

Following the stalemate, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday met with the Governor of Kogi State, Ibrahim Idris, and other stalwarts of the PDP.

Based on legal implications, there are strong indications that the party may retain Echocho as its governorship candidate.

Investigation by our correspondent showed that the PDP is caught in a legal web because it has submitted a candidate, Echocho, for the December 3 governorship poll since January and it has not communicated to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it has changed the candidate due to death or withdrawal on personal grounds.

It was, however, gathered that Sections 33 and 35 of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended) is causing a serious dilemma for the party because PDP cannot change Echocho.

Section 33 reads: “A political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute its candidate whose name has been submitted pursuant to Section 32 of this Act except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate.”

Section 35 says: “A candidate may withdraw his candidature by notice in writing signed by him and delivered by himself to the political party that nominated him for the election and the political party shall convey such withdrawal to the commission not later than 45 days to the election.”

A top party source added: “The President, Governor Ibrahim Idris and other stakeholders are meeting at the Presidential Villa because of the legal challenge. We are in a fix: we have just realized that we cannot present a new governorship candidate to the INEC or else, those in the opposition will just win on technical grounds.