The Governorship Appeal Screening Panel of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has cleared the Acting Governor of Adamawa State, Alhaji Umaru Fintiri to take part in the party’s forthcoming governorship primary in the state.
The go-ahead came on the heels of the acting governor’s insistence to contest the October 11 by-election in the state.
Fintiri got the green light on Sunday after the panel examined his complaint, which he lodged after his disqualification by the Ibrahim Mantu Screening Committee on Saturday.
Chairman of the appeal panel, Sen. James Manager, told journalists at the end of the panel sitting in Abuja on Sunday that Fintiri was free to contest the PDP governorship primary which holds on Saturday in Yola, the state capital.
The Mantu panel had disqualified Fintiri based on Section 191 (1) of the Constitution.
The section reads: “The Deputy Governor of a State shall hold the office of Governor of the State if the office of Governor becomes vacant by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal of the governor from office for any other reason in accordance with section 188 or 189 of this constitution.
“(2) Where any vacancy occurs in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) of this section during a period when the office of Deputy Governor of the State is also vacant, the Speaker of the House of Assembly of the State shall hold the office of Governor of the State for a period of not more than three months, during which there shall be an election of a new Governor of the State who shall hold office for the unexpired term of office of the last holder of the office.
“(3) Where the office of the Deputy Governor becomes vacant –
“(a) by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal in accordance with section 188 or 189 of this Constitution”.
Mr. Fintiri, who is Speaker of the House of Assembly, was sworn-in as acting governor following the impeachment of the ex-governor, Murtala Nyako and the resignation of his deputy, Barrister James Bala Ngilari.
Mantu said the acting governor was a child of circumstances, adding that it was morally wrong for him to participate in the process because he was expected to “play the role of a mid-wife and not the one carrying the pregnancy”.
But Manager, in voiding the disqualification of the acting governor from the race, said the reason given by the Mantu panel was insufficient.
He said, “We as members of the appeal panel, looked at issues particularly we took a critical look not just at the constitutional provision but the entire gamut of the 1999 constitution as amended. And we have the electoral act and the PDP constitution.
“And we have come to the irresistible conclusion that the provisions as quoted by the screening panel does not affect the aspirant in this matter”.
Earlier on Sunday, Mr. Fintiri had while reacting to his disqualification, insisted that he was still in the race.
“I am still in the race”, he said and assured he will continue to mobilize for the election.