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Atiku’s N100m campaign money tears Borno PDP apart, as governorship candidate, party official in near fisticuffs

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The perennial crisis rocking the Borno State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during each election period has reared its ugly head again just few weeks to the general election.

It is now a common knowledge among many households in Borno that the Peoples Democratic Party in Borno State is a divided house not ready and matured for leadership position, following in-house fighting during each election period.

Daily Correspondents has exclusively learned that even as the N100m pledge made by the Presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, to the Borno State chapter of the party is yet to materialize, an in-house fighting has again broke out among the party leaders in the state on the sharing formula and composition of the team to manage the funds.

It was gathered that ahead of the planned presidential campaign rally of the PDP to Borno State in few days time, Atiku Abubakar had promised the leadership of the party in the state led by Zanna Gaddama, the sum of N100m to organise a colourful event.

Recall that the PDP in the state has been factionalised as two chieftains of the party, Usman Mahdi Badeiri and Zanna Gaddama, claimed the chairmanship position in the court.

The crisis in the party has also led to the conduct of two parallel primaries though the national leadership of the party and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) attended only that of Zanna Gaddama’s group that produced Mohammed Imam as PDP gubernatorial candidate.

After many months of legal tussle, a Federal High Court in Maiduguri, in December 2018 upheld the election of Mohammed Imam, as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the 2019 election. This also implied that Zanna Gaddama was the authentic PDP state chairman in Borno as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had penciled down all candidates whose primary election was conducted by the Gaddama faction.

But soon after Atiku Abubakar made the N100m pledge, the State Chairman, Zanna Gaddama, upon arrival to Maiduguri had set up a local organising committee, LOC, involving mostly his cronies, but without the involvment of the governorship candidate’s input, Mohammed Imam.

It was gathered that the decision to sideline Mohammed Imam and his cronies from the LOC, was not taken lightly by Imam’s camp, who suspected that the state chairman would channel the funds to his private purse.

But as gathered by this newspaper, in one of the meetings to discuss how the funds would be utilised, Imam shouted down on one of Gaddama’s cronnies who maintained that as the state party chairman, Gaddama should be in custody of the funds and should decide those to be entrusted with managing the funds.

But this did not go down well with Imam who bitterly complained of the composition of the LOC team set up Gaddama, describing them as a “team of thieves”.

Out of anger, one of the officials in the list, realising that he was the one being referred to, stood up and charged at Imam with a punch, but Imam saw the blow coming and dodged it.

It took the intervention of the state chairman, Zanna Gaddama and some security personnel to calm the situation, which would have degenerated into a full blown war.

Efforts to reach both Mohammed Imam and the Borno PDP chairman, Zanna Gaddama on phone were unsuccessful as their known lines were switched off.

It was learnt that they are currently in Southern Borno for electioneering campaign.

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