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LAGOS, NIGERIA.     Tuesday, April 08 2003






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Kano PDP suspends Na'Abba, retrieves re-election ticket
It's impossible, says Speaker's aide
From Adamu Abuh, (Kano)

WITH barely five days to the National Assembly elections holding this weekend, the re-election bid of House of Representatives' Speaker, Alhaji Ghali Umar Na'Abba, was yesterday put in jeopardy by the Kano State Chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Na'Abba, who is seeking a return to the lower legislative chamber and possibly retain his position as the speaker, was suspended by the party, on which platform he is bidding for re-election.

Wielding the big stick against Na'Abba, who has been engaged in a cold war with the state governor, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwanso, and the leadership of PDP in the state, the party said Na'Abba has been working for the victory of opposition candidates in the coming elections, a development which does not go down well with chieftains of the party.

Sources at the party told The Guardian that it is an open secret that Na'Abba has been actively rooting for Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, the leading challenger to the incumbent, President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is the PDP flagbearer in the April 19 presidential polls.

And in the jostling for Kano's governorship, Na'Abba is said to be pitching his camp with the Peoples Salvation Party (PSP) candidate, Alhaji Umar Yakubu Dan-Hassan.

Na'Abba's cup, said the party, became full when he did not show up at the recent flag-off of Obasanjo's North-West presidential campaign, during a rally held in Kano.

The rally was attended by virtually all chieftains of the party at federal, state and local government levels.

Announcing the party's action against the speaker yesterday, chairman of Kano PDP, Alhaji Yusuf Kutama, who made known the decision of the party during an Hausa political programme on a local radio station monitored in Kano, said Na'Abba remains suspended from the party for indulging in alleged anti-party activities.

Specifically, Kutama accused Na'Abba of disrespecting the party's elders, as well as coming out in the open to campaign against candidates of the PDP like President Obasanjo and Governor Kwankwaso.

He declared: "He has been campaigning against our party. He has asked voters to vote for the presidential candidates of the rival ANPP, Gen. Buhari.

"He has asked people to vote against our governorship candidate. We have tolerated him long enough. The PDP is guided by rules and regulations."

The move against Na'Abba began with the sacking of the executives of the Kano Municipal chapter of PDP, perceived to be loyal to the speaker.

They were replaced with fresh officers perceived to be controllable by the party and Governor Kwankwaso.

Sources within the party said Kutama's action was supported by the party's leadership.

A chieftain of the party, who preferred anonymity said: "We cannot continue to keep somebody in our party and allow him to work against our interest. Nobody is against the party's rules and regulations."

But in a swift reaction, the speaker, through his chief press secretary, Mr. Farouk Adejoh-Audu, condemned the Kano PDP's action.

According to Adejoh-Audu, Kutama's action was inconsequential, contending that it was at variance with the electoral law.

He declared: "We cannot join issues with somebody who is not conversant with the electoral process.

"We are unaware of the statement allegedly issued by Kutama. But suffice it to say that Ghali Umar Na'Abba remains the candidate of PDP for Kano Municipal Federal Constituency."

Already, the speaker's camp is warming up for a showdown with the state PDP leadership over the development.

A close aide of the speaker, Alhaji Aminu Nasidi, told reporters recently that the people of Kano municipality will resist the plots against Na'Abba.

According to him, such plots are undemocratic considering the fact that he (Na'Abba) has the right to identify with candidates of his choice regardless of their political leanings.

Though he said as supporters of the speaker, they would not take the laws into their hands, he enjoined the state leadership of the party and Governor Kwankwanso not to do anything that could create chaos in the state during the elections.

It would be recalled that Na'Abba's victory at the PDP's National Assembly election primaries in the Kano Municipal Constituency was almost annulled, but for the intervention of the national chairman of the party, Chief Audu Ogbeh.


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