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ACN HOLDS PRIMARIES, INCUMBENTS MAY LOSE BID

By NBF News
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Akume, Aminu may join party
Tinubu's wife seeks Senate ticket
THE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) will today start its primary elections nationwide, with the fate of some of the party's current legislators hanging in the balance.

Meanwhile, indications emerged yesterday that former Benue State governor, George Akume, and 24 other Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwarts in the state would today officially declare for the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Also, there are on-going efforts to receive Senator Jibril Aminu and other aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirants in Adamawa into the ACN fold.

Prof. Aminu withdrew from the PDP primary citing irregularities in the exercise.

Lagos State chairman of the ACN, Henry Ajomale, disclosed this yesterday at the party's secretariat in Ikeja, where Governor Babatunde Fashola attended the advocacy and enlightenment programme on voters' registration exercise slated for January 15 to January 29.

Fashola, after leaving the event, was immediately screened by the five-man committee headed by Capt. Vincent Oyepata. The committee gave him a clean bill of health to run for a second term.

According to Ajomale, 'tomorrow (today,) former Governor George Akume of Benue state and 24 others are defecting to ACN. Another wind of change is blowing in Adamawa State where some people are going to defect to ACN. All these are testimonies to the fact that we are on top of good governance.'

Meanwhile, The Guardian gathered that Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, representing Lagos East Senatorial District, may not get the ACN ticket to return to the National Assembly, as Permanent Secretary in the state Bureau of Lands, Mr. Gbenga Ashafa, is poised to replace

him.
However, the choice of Ashafa, who is not a political appointee but a civil servant in the employ of the state government, is   still shrouded in uncertainty since he is yet to resign his job at the Bureau of Lands.

Also, it was gathered that the wife of former Governor Bola Tinubu, Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, is set to replace Senator Munir Muse, representing Lagos Central Senatorial District.

Efforts to get the party leaders to officially confirm these change of guards in the ACN was unsuccessful as they pleaded patience for the outcome of the party's primary for National Assembly, which will hold today. But the ACN in Anambra State has postponed its primary elections in the state to tomorrow.

This, according to the state chairman of the party, Amechi Obidike, was to allow the appeal panel on the petitions and objections arising from the recently concluded screening of aspirants look into all cases of those disqualified from the exercise.

Obidike told reporters in Awka yesterday that fair play for which the party was well- known made it very necessary to allow room for the petitioners to exhaust all avenue to seek justice.

In Edo, protests have continued to trail preparations for the ACN primaries as some aspirants were allegedly told to step down for their 'favoured' counterparts.

But aspirants in Edo North and Edo South have insisted that they would not step down for anyone, saying they should test their popularity at the primaries.

It was gathered that party leaders led by Governor Adams Oshiomhole recently met and the incumbent senator representing Edo South Senatorial District, Ehigie Uzamere, got the nod of the party's leadership for a return ticket ahead of a major contender, Matthew Urhoghide.

The two ACN members from the state in the House of Representatives, Patrick Obahiagbon (Oredo Federal Constituency) and Samson Osagie (Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde) also got the endorsement of the leaders for a return ticket.

In Edo North, the former President of the National Union of Petroleum and natural gas Workers (NUPENG) Peter Akpatason was told to step down for Deacon Domingo Obende.

Akpatason was asked to go for the House of Representatives ticket for Akoko Edo Federal Constituency.

But Oshiomhole's Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Tunde Lakoju, who also is in the race, has insisted that he wants to test his popularity at the primaries. Some other aspirants like Uroghide and Rasaq Bello-Osagie have also insisted they must slug it out in the primaries holding tomorrow as some of them described the 'preferred aspirants' as new entrants from the PDP.

Akpatasson's decision to opt for the House of Representatives is causing ripples among the aspirants like the state chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Philip Ugbodaga and Anena Jemitola who defeated a member of the House of Representatives, Tunde Akogun, in the tribunal in 2008 but lost at the Court of Appeal.

Meanwhile, the ACN congresses in Cross River State have ended in a stalemate.

Already the party in the state is polarised into two factions.But the national secretariat of the ACN had dispatched a reconciliation committee to come and resolve the crisis in order to conduct proper congresses in the state.