It has become obvious that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has made a last minute substitution of some of its prominent senatorial candidates, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff and Princess Stella Oduah.
Checks have revealed that the names of Ali Modu Sheriff and that of Stella Oduah were conspicuously removed from the list of candidates to contest elections as nominated by their political parties, the PDP.
On Monday the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released names of 14 Presidential candidates, 739 candidates for Senatorial positions while 1,780 candidates have been nominated for House of Representatives, of which names of former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah and former Governor of Borno state, Ali Modu Sheriff who were on the PDP’s initial list have been dropped according to the list published by INEC.
Mrs Stella Odua was replaced by John Emeka while senator Ali Modu Sheriff was substituted with Muhammad Baba Kachalla.
Former Governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff was initially adopted as PDP candidate for Borno Central senatorial zone ahead of February general election.
However it is obvious that it is only the PDP that has a clear mandate by law to substitute names of their candidates from INEC which they must have likely done to save the party from further backlash from various quarters over the initial fielding of the candidates names.
Dropping the former Borno state Governor Senator Ali Modu Sheriff may not be unconnected with scandals surrounding the Ex-Governor with respect to allegations made by an Australian negotiator that Sheriff was a sponsor of Boko Haram sect.
Sheriff has since denied the allegation while the Department of State Security gave him a preliminary clearance after it paraded some seven men the DSS alleged conspired with Davies to tarnish Sheriff’s image. The DSS had however said that it was still investigating Sheriff.
The PDP had soon after the DSS clearance of Sheriff adopted the Ex-Governor as the party’s Senatorial candidate for Borno central which Sheriff had represented from 1999 to 2003 under the defunct All Peoples Party that later became All Nigeria Peoples Party before a merger with other parties to become All Progressives Congress (APC) party.
Facts emerged that the PDP’s decision to drop Sheriff was because the party was fed up with controversies surrounding him. It would be recalled that last year, the Presidency was under serious heat when the photograph of Sheriff with President Goodluck Jonathan and Chadian President Idriss Derby in D’Jamena, the Chadian capital, appeared in the social media.
The pictures provoked debate and condemnation by critics and opposition political parties. The Presidency explained that Sheriff was not part of Dr. Jonathan’s entourage, adding that he received the visiting President like other Nigerians resident in Chad.