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Enugu 2015: PDP Senatorial aspirants hold parallel primaries

By The Citizen
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Except for the primaries that returned the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, as an unopposed candidate in the  Enugu-West Senatorial district, the other two senatorial primaries in Enugu State were held at different locations, producing different candidates.

Ekweremadu sole contest followed the withdrawal of Governor Sullivan Chime from the race.

Ekweremadu received 294 votes out of the 299 cast. The remaining five votes were rendered invalid as a result of irregularities.

Ekweremadu said, 'I want to dedicate this victory to Governor Chime - he equally made personal sacrifices to pave way for the peace we have today.'

The story was however different in Enugu North and Enugu West Senatorial districts where parallel primaries were held.

Three separate   primaries were held in Enugu East which produced three   candidates. They are incumbent senator, Gil Nnaji; a former Chief of Staff to the governor, . Ifeoma Nwobodo; and a former Minister of Information,   Frank Nweke Jnr.

The primary election which produced Nwobodo held amid tight security at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, while the primaries that were won by Nnaji and Nweke  took place at Nkwo Nike, and Ozalla, respectively.

There were also unconfirmed reports that  the chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, Nwabueze Okoye, emerged from another primary election in the senatorial zone.

A reliable source at the State Party Secretariat in Enugu told THE CITIZEN  that it is only the primaries that produced Gil Nnaji which held much earlier in the day that used the PDP marked ballot papers. The electoral committee set up by the National Working Committee of the PDP also was the one that conducted the primaries with the Independent Electoral Commission in attendance.

A similar scenario played out in Enugu North. Three aspirants, including the former Commissioner for Transport, Chuka Utazi,   and a former National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo, contested in separate primaries.

Meanwhile, THE CITIZEN was also told by a credible source in the State Party Secretariat, Enugu, that it is only the primaries that produced Utazi that used the PDP marked ballot papers. The electoral committee set up by the National Working Committee of the PDP was the one that conducted the primaries with the Independent Electoral Commission in attendance.

“The PDP State Party leadership only accepted results from primaries conducted by the Party's duly appointed  and advertised electoral panel by the National Working Committee of the party and monitored by the Independent Electoral Commission,” the source stated.

All efforts to get the State Party's Spokesman,  Chief Okey Eze for comments before press time proved abortive.