2015: Chime, Uduaghan step down on Senate ambitions

By The Citizen

Ahead of the Senate primary elections of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scheduled to hold tomorrow nationwide, Governors Sullivan Chime of Enugu State and Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan have both withdrawn from the race of the Enugu West Senatorial District and Delta South Senatorial District, respectively.

Chime made his decision known to the PDP stakeholders in the state during a meeting on Wednesday night at the Enugu Government House.

A source at the meeting, who disclosed this to Daily Sun, said Chime told the stakeholders that he was withdrawing in the over all interest and unity of the party.

The source said the governor told the stakeholders that the party was paramount and above any personal ambition and urged the people of the state, particularly PDP members from Enugu West, to ensure Senator Ike Ekweremadu and other party candidates emerged winners at the primary and general elections.

Chime and Ekweremadu had been at political loggerhead over who would represent the Enugu West in the Senate, which led to the party in the state dividing into two factions. One led by Chief Ikeji Asogwa and the other by Elder David Aja.

However, the PDP at the national level and the Presidency waded into the crisis in Enugu and Chime was said to have been advised to allow Ekweremadu go back to the Senate while the governor would take charge of producing representatives in the two other senatorial zones.

The new agreement, it was gathered, led to the harmonisation of interests by the two gladiators that ushered in a peaceful election last Saturday during the House of Assembly primary where Chief Asogwa and Elder Aja sat side by side to conduct the election for the aspirants.

The source at the stakeholders' meeting said President Goodluck Jonathan had mounted pressure on Chime to withdraw his senatorial ambition, adding that the president told him to make that huge sacrifice to save the party that had been inundated with crises across the country.

With Chime's withdrawal, the coast is now clear for Senator Ekweremadu to clinch the party's ticket to represent Enugu West in the Senate for four consecutive terms.

When contacted yesterday, the Chief Press Secretary to Chime, Mr. Chukwudi Achife, confirmed that the governor had withdrawn from the senatorial race, but refused to give details of his action.

On the other hand, Uduaghan had wanted to represent Delta South Senatorial District on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

With the withdrawal, incumbent Senator James Manager would likely be returned unopposed as the primary of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) for next year's election was supposed to be a two race between Manager and Uduaghan.

Speaking with reporters in Asaba,
Uduaghan said that his dropping out of the race was necessitated by his determination to ensure that peace reigns in the state.

He said that he had a meeting yesterday with President Goodluck Jonathan and the national Chairman, Dr. Adamu Muazu where the political situation in Delta State was critically analysed and had to make a sacrifice by stepping down.

'I have to offer myself as a sacrifice to ensure that the political and security tension that had built up in recent times is reduced. In doing that I am aware that a lot of my followers will be very unhappy but I want to appeal to them that I have to do this for the sake of this state,” he stated.

While denying that he was forced to step down, Uduaghan said that quitting the race will offer him the opportunity to concentrate on national issues and be able to manage the remaining the primaries of the PDP and the election proper next year.

Alluding to the allege threats by the Ijaw to resume hostilities should Manager, their kinsman be shortchanged in place of Uduaghan, an Itsekiri, the governor said that maintaining the peace in the state was more important than electoral victories which are won at great human.

The primaries for the senatorial and House of Representatives race will take place on Saturday and Sunday respectively across the country.