PDP Returns Incumbent Governors at Primaries

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Across the country, the ruling People’s Democratic Party  (PDP) made good its promise to its governors; that those eligible to contest the 2011 election would have automatic tickets. In what has been said to be mere formalities, governors presently serving out their one-term, but eligible for a second-term of office on the ruling party’s platform won second-term tickets to contest the April election.

In Bayelsa, it was a smooth sail for the governor, Timipre Sylva, who scored 420 votes out of the total of 471 votes cast to emerge as the party’s gubernatorial candidate in Bayelsa State in a primary election which witnessed the presence of President Goodluck Jonathan who came to Yegonoa to cast his vote. Sylva’s closest rival, Francis Doukpola came a distant second with 10 votes. Former state chairman of the party, Fred Agbedi scored eight votes to come third while 10 votes were declared invalid.

In Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, Governor Rotimi Amaechi, polled 1,139 votes out of the 1,143 votes cast, to beat three other aspirants at the PDP primaries, which took place at the Sharks Football Stadium, in Port Harcourt. Dennisada Ben-Fiabema scored one vote to come a distant second, while former Governor Celestine Omehia and Moore Oja Chinda did not score any vote as three votes were declared void.

In Jigawa, Katsina, Niger and Plateau states, the incumbent governors, Sule Lamido, Ibrahim Shema, Babangida Aliyu and Jonah Jang were respectively returned unopposed as they were sole candidates in their various states. Governor Ikedi Ohakim scored 1,089 votes to win the contest in Imo State. He defeated the immediate past deputy governor of the state, Ebere Udeagu and a former member of the House of Representatives, Emeka Nwajiuba to 27 and three votes respectively.

In Kaduna State, the governor, Patrick Yakowa, picked the party’s ticket with 904 votes to beat his closest rival, Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi, who scored 48 votes and had earlier walked out of the venue of the elections at Murtala Muhammad Square. Another aspirant, Idris Shuaibu Mikati, who got three votes, said he had earlier announced his decision to withdraw from the race.

The only female aspirant, Mairo Habib, also had three votes. Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo was present along with presidential special adviser on special duties, Isaiah Balat. In Kwara State – two gubernatorial primaries took place yesterday in Ilorin, throwing up fresh crisis in the succession bid to replace the governor, Bukola Saraki.

A faction of the party which christened itself as the “PDP original” held its primaries along Ajase Ipo Road where one of the aspirants, Basir Omolaja Bolarinwa was jointly  adopted  by the delegates from the sixteen local governments across the state as the party’s candidate. The other gubernatorial primaries, which held under the Bukola Saraki political group was still ongoing at the Baseball ground at Adewole in Ilorin as at press time.

The chairman of the factional PDP, Samuel Adedayo told journalists that his party was the “recognized” party in the state. Bolarinwa, who was not at the venue of the event, later spoke to reporters at the Base Ball ground of Adewole Estate, Ilorin, saying that his affirmation by the “original members of the party showed his popularity and acceptability.”

Also in Ebonyi State, Martin Elechi, the incumbent governor, yesterday, emerged the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state by polling a total of 634 out of a total of 638 votes cast. A total of 688 delegates were accredited for the governorship primaries at the Abakaliki Township Stadium.

In his remarks, the chairman of governorship primaries electoral panel, Doyin Okupe described Ebonyi as a peaceful state, saying that since the governor was not being challenged by any other candidate he considered his visit as a holiday. Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio, polled 1251 votes out of the 1261 delegates’ vote cast to emerge as the flag bearer of the party in the governorship election next year.

Three votes belonging to Frank Okon were voided. According to the returning office, Femi Ibitoye, Okon was not part of the election. Akpabio’s nomination was not however without a protest by supporters of Okon, a former special adviser to former governor, Victor Attah and Imo Udo, also another governorship aspirant whose names were not on the ballot.

The primaries in Abia, Lagos and Oyo states were postponed. While Lagos and Abia will hold theirs today, the Oyo State governorship primary election will take place on Wednesday. In Enugu State, the failure of the governor, Sullivan Chime and Okwesilieze Nwodo, the national chairman of the PDP to reach an agreement, has led to a leadership tussle which has led to a postponement of the governorship primaries. Like Kwara, in Ogun State, two candidates have also emerged, indicating a crisis. Tunji Olurin and Gboyega Nasir Isiaka are each claiming to be ‘bonafide’ candidates.

Source: Business Day.

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