The battle for the 2019 general election kicked off in earnest yesterday, as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) held primary elections across the country to pick candidates.
In Ebonyi, Enugu, Delta and Cross River states, PDP handed tickets to incumbent governors Dave Umahi, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Ifeanyi Okowa and Ben Ayade respectively. Governor Darius Ishaku also emerged in Taraba State.
In Niger State, it would be a replay of the 2015 battle as Umar Nasko got the PDP ticket to challenge incumbent Governor Sani Bello of the APC ticket.
Ugwuanyi who was the sole candidate was unanimously affirmed by the 2,895 delegates from 260 wards.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu who participated as a delegate from Aninri council and one of the party leaders in the state introduced Ugwuanyi as sole candidate of the party.
In Cross River, delegates from the 18 LGAs affirmed Ayade as the other two aspirants failed the screening processes.
Ayade thanked the delegates for finding him worthy to seek re-election and promised not to betray the confidence reposed in him.
In the absence of any other contestants, Umahi went into the contest unchallenged. According to chairman of the panel, Senator Joy Emordi, Umahi polled a 1988 votes.
She described the exercise as orderly, peaceful and organised.
Governor Umahi said the flag given to him to run for the next four years was a call to serve and do more work.
Ayade, who was the sole aspirant in Cross River, garnered 1,927 votes in the primary election that involved delegates from the 18 local government areas held at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar. A total of 2,001 delegates where accredited for the exercise with 10 voided votes.
Speaking moments after the result was announced, he attributed the outcome to the will of God.
“I’m happy that my people can appreciate my little effort so far in transforming the socio-economic landscape of the state. I came with the mission to restructure the economy of the state. The outcome of the exercise is clearly an endorsement of what I had started. I want to assure Cross Riverians that I am poised to complete the economic restructuring of the state.”
He described the primary as a family affair, stating that the massive turnout was an affirmation that Cross River PDP remains strong and united.
Chairman of the PDP Gubernatorial Electoral Committee, Olorogun Taleb Tebite described the exercise as peaceful, transparent, free and fair.
President Muhammadu Buhari and El-Rufai polled 1.9565 million and 2,427 votes respectively to win the primaries.
Governor El-Rufai, who was also the returning officer of the presidential primary election, announced the results at the Kaduna APC Secretariat yesterday.
He said the election held Friday, September 28. “It took us two days to compile the results because large number of party members turned out to vote,” he noted .
Reading the summary of the results collated from the local government headquarters and forwarded to the state party headquarters by the local government chairmen, El-Rufai said: “The total registered members of APC are 1.15,224 million, accredited members 1.9,787 million and total votes cast was 1.9,565 million.”
This was even as El-Rufai scored 2,427 votes to officially become the gubernatorial candidate of the APC.
Meanwhile, two of the eight gubernatorial aspirants on the platform of the PDP-Muhammad Sani Bello, former Commissioner of science and Technology in the state and former Financial Controller at the ECOWAS and Ja’afaru Sa’ad have stepped down for Isa Ashiru. As at press time, the PDP primaries was ongoing at the Kaduna International Trade Fair complex along Kaduna-Zaria road.
Former governor of Delta State, James Ibori has reaffirmed his commitment to the re-election of Okowa.
Ibori who made his first public appearance in PDP gathering just over a month after the defection of his successor and cousin, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan to the APC to pursue his senatorial ambition.
Ibori who was among the 3,278 delegates that participated in the election of Okowa, told the crowd at the Cenotaph, Asaba that he was fully in support of the re-election of Okowa to complete his second term.
A five-member committee from the national secretariat chaired by Mrs. Uzor Nwadu conducted the primary election.
Out of the 3,278 delegates’ votes, 26 ballots were voided while the other 3,252 valid votes were used to return Okowa.
Okowa urged party faithful to redouble their efforts to win the 2019 election convincingly, adding that no opposition should be taken for granted.
The APC primary in Adamawa was put on hold over security concerns raised by some party stakeholders who felt the venue was too opened, and could be hijacked by miscreants
Zamfara also shifted its primaries to today due to non-arrival of election committee from in Abuja, according to a statement by the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Shehu Isa said.
Meanwhile, the Police Command in the state has appealed to stakeholders to cooperate with security agencies and abide by security measures during the primaries.
It was also an easy ride for Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State. The incumbent governor emerged by affirmation with 3,818 delegates from 21 local government areas.
Prof. Osarheimen Osubor, who led APC supervising officials declared Bagudu winner of the election.
Alhaji Ibrahim Muhammed Mera, Prince of Argungu Emirate who had collected nomination form was disqualified by the party.
The crisis rocking the Ogun State chapter of the PDP deepened as two separate governorship primaries held. While a faction loyal to Senator Buruji Kashamu and headed by Bayo Dayo, organised its governorship primary at the State PDP Secretariat, located on Presidential Boulevard, Abeokuta, the faction loyal to Oladipupo Adebutu and headed by Sikirulai Ogundele, held its own at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta.
Meanwhile, ahead of the rescheduled governorship primary of the APC today, five governorship aspirants of the party, have raised the alarm over the alleged moves by some elements within the party to cause breakdown of law and order during the exercise.
In a petition signed on by Senator Gbenga Kaka, Bimbo Ashiru, Dapo Abiodun, Abayomi Hunyen and Jimi Lawal and addressed to the Department of State Security (DSS), Office of the Ogun State Commissioner of Police and the state command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSDC), alleged that suspected thugs in collaboration with some security personnel, had engaged in intimidation, harassment and kidnapping of their supporters.