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Smooth sail for Yuguda, Shema, Wamakko Dakingari as Orji, Shinkafi emerge amid confusion

By NBF News
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The results of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries which held across the country yesterday have continued to favour the incumbent political office holders, even as the exercise has been springing up surprises in certain areas. Many of the Governors who aspired to return to office had continued to have easy pick of the party tickets, just as there was confusion in Abia and Zamfara States where the helmsmen emerged amid controversy. Meanwhile, there was a radical development in Akwa Ibom, where many of the National Assembly lawmakers lost their bids to retain their seats.

Bauchi
The Governor, Isa Yuguda, in the early hours of yesterday, was returned the party's gubernatorial standard bearer.

The results of the primaries made available to journalists by the Publicity Secretary of the party, Mohammed Sani Al-amin revealed that Yuguda polled 754 votes out of the over 800 votes cast by the delegates from the 20 local governemnt areas of the state.

The only contender, Ahmed Iliyasu polled five votes while 20 votes were voided; a development which made the returning officer for the primaries to declare the governor winner. Voting dragged till the early hours of Monday after the exercise which started late on Sunday were concluded.

Immediately the result was announced, Iliyasu went to where the Governor sat, congratulated him and the two of them hugged each other to the admiration of the delegates and others who were at the Multi-purpose Indoor Sports Hall, venue of the exercise.

As soon as he was declared the winner, Yuguda commended the spirit of sportsmanship demonstrated by other aspirants assuring that nobdoy would be left out in the efforts to make PDP the party to beat in the forthcoming general elections. He called on all party members to join hands with the leadership of the party in the state.

Katsina
In Katsina State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema was elected the governorship candidate for the 2011polls. Shema who was returned unopposed was adopted the party's standard bearer by 1,442 delegates in Sunday's primaries held in Katsina.

Declaring the results of the election, Mr John Mafo, Chairman of the electoral panel, said Shema scored 1,397 votes, while the remaining votes numbering 45 were voided.

'In view of this therefore and based on the power conferred on me as the Chairman of the Katsina Electoral Panel, I hereby declare Shema as the duly elected PDP governorship candidate for the state.'

The Chairman, who described the primaries as peaceful, commended the delegates for conducting themselves peacefully and for their support.

In his address,  Shema thanked the delegates for electing him.

Sokoto
In Sokoto, Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko also emerged the standard bearer of the party.

Wamakko polled 885 out of 895 total votes accepted by the electoral panel.

Announcing the result, the panel Chairman, Ambassador Greg Mbadiwe said the incumbent governor satisfied the electoral requirement having got the highest valid votes cast.

In his speech, Wamakko said he accepted the nomination with humility to fly the party's flag in the April elections.

Birnin Kebbi
Governor Saidu Usman Nasamu Dakingari has also been returned unopposed to vie for a second term following the gubernatorial primaries held at the Haliru Abdul Stadium in Birnin Kebbi.

Accreditation of the 869 delegates for the exercise began as early as 8 am. The delegates had waited patiently in the harmattan weather to cast their votes. which commenced at about 4.00pm in a peaceful and orderly atmosphere.

At the end of the exercise, the Returning Officer, Mr. Ini Okorie described the total vote cast as the highest he had witnessed in any state, saying the votes amounted to 99% of the total votes cast by the delegates.

From the 869 delegates accredited for voting, 847 participated, while three votes were considered invalid. The total votes cast was 844 which was the same as the votes polled by Dakingari.

At the presidential lodge where he addressed the delegates, the Governor thanked his supporters and the leadership of the party in the state for the confidence reposed in him which was demonstrated in the votes he won. He pledged that if returned to office, he would do a lot more than what his administration achieved in the last four years.

Kano
Former governor of the state, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, on Monday, emerged the gubernatorial candidate after polling 1,555 votes. Kwankwaso defeated his closest rival, Col Habibu Shuaibu, who polled 89 votes to emerge second ahead of Senator Mohammed Bello, who came third in the race with a total of 71 votes.

The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) panel for the conduct of the primaries, Alhaji  Abdullahi Rafi Umar announced the result declaring Kwankwaso as the winner of the exercise.

Speaking to journalists, at his residence in the state capital, Kwankwaso thanked the delegates for their support and pledged that although they had been working hard in the past, now is the time to work even harder.

He reiterated that the exercise was conducted in a free and transparent manner, noting that it was only in Kano PDP that those who joined the party rercently were granted waivers and equal playing field to aspire and contest for the position of their choice.

The former governor dismissed the speculation that he was earlier disqualified by the party's headquarters as mere political rumours while urging journalists to disregard any such rumour because it lacked merit.

He also rubbished the argument that the White paper issued on him would impede his candidacy adding that the Supreme Court in the case of Amaechi of Rivers State had clearly ruled that any such purported indictment outside the rulings of a competent court of law was null and void.

He added that the party was set to go into the 2011 gubernatorial polls, saying ' this time, the PDP would win. We have localized ourselves, we are looking at Kano. We will work harder with this result, to clinch victory.'

The party's state chairman, Barrister Farouk Iya told Daily Sun ,' I am very impressed with what has happened in a very positive way,' adding that he had not recieved any petition against the conduct of the election in the state.

Abia
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries held in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, yesterday by two factions of the party have produced two governorship candidates. The first primary,  held at the popular Nkwoegwu Civic Center in Umuahia North LGA was organised in the morning by the Ben Etie(State chairman)-led faction. The exercise  produced High Chief Ikechi  Emelike as its candidate while the second, held at the Umuahia township stadium by the Emma Nwaka-led PDP produced the incumbent Governor, Chief Theodore Orji.

Emelike polled 632 votes out of the 643 votes cast to emerge the the governorship candidate. 11 of the votes were void. Speaking after the exercise, the Returning Officer, Professor Mba Uzoukwu said that he was satisfied with the conduct of the election and urged party members to remain peaceful as they had always done.

The factional Chairman, Chief Ben Etie told newsmen that they had witnessed a new approach to politics. Etie displayed the result for newsmen and others to see, telling them that Emelike was the governorship candidate in the state.

'I received theresult that show that Chief Emelike , having pulled 632 votes is now the Governorship candidate as is now in line with the constitution of our great party.

He openly presented the flag of the party to Emelike who waved it round for his supporters to see.

In his acceptance speech, Emenike, whose acceptance of the flag was followed by  loud ovation thanked the people for their support. He stated that nobody could stop a man whose time had come to truly  liberate Abia . According to him, the time to deliver Abia was then. I want to thank you all and tell you that this year Abia must be free.  'We will emancipate Abia and develop it, don't be afraid, it is a matter of few months  and I know that you can endure more few months of falsehood and then we will take over,  he assured his supporters.

However, Governor Theodore Orji had 706 votes to emerge the winner of the primaries out of 723 voters accredited , while 12 votes were void. Speaking inside Umuahia township stadium , where he was given the PDP flag, , Governor Theodore Orji said that he was very happy, 'not because it was happening, but because of the process through which it happened. It is politics without bitterness and I promise not to disappoint you Abians. It is a trust that has been given to me and I will not disappoint you. I thank all who are part of the success of this project,' he said.

Enugu
The decision by Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State to concede elective positions in Enugu North Senatorial zone to the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo as a way out of the political deadlock in the state is causing ripples in the governor's camp as those affected had threatened to defect to another political party.

In continuation of the reconciliatory meetings held between Governor Chime and Nwodo in Abuja on Sunday night, both camps reportedly agreed to drop the earlier 50-50 harmonization of the party structure and adopt a sharing formular for elective offices in the state. The two camps, according to sources, rose from the peace meeting that ended in the early hours of yesterday agreeing to leave the Vita Abba-led state executive, the Ward and Local Government executives of the party intact to conduct all the primaries for the April elections.

In the new peace pact, It was also resolved that Nwodo should be allowed to nominate all the PDP candidates from his Enugu North (Nsukka) senatorial zone without normal party primaries for House of Assembly and National Assembly positions.

On the other hand, Chime would produce the candidates from his Enugu-west and Enugu- east primaries while the governorship ticket would be reserved for him even though his emergence would be through the normal governorship primary election on Wednesday.

By the latest agreement, the tickets of Senator Ayogu Eze representing Enugu North, Hon. Paul Eze, Dr Patrick Asadu and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who represent Nsukka/Uzo-Uwani, Igbo-Eze South and Igbo-Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituencies respectively had been traded off.

Also affected were nine PDP members in the Enugu State House of Assembly, representing Enugu North and seeking re-election to the House.

The news of the latest agreement had been trailed by protests from both members of Nwodo camp and the affected legislators from the Nsukka Zone (Enugu North). While the opponents of the Governor in Nwodo camp vowed to reject the arrangement which they described as undemocratic and unacceptable, those in Chime's camp felt betrayed and let down by the Governor despite standing by him during the struggle.

One of the affected legislators lamented that the governor's decision to 'trade-off their tickets in order to secure his' was disappointing. He lamented that they were being used as scapegoats, adding that the decision reached without any consultation and consideration of their interests and political future would definitely backfire.

The lawmaker who pleaded anonymity said: since Sullivan had sacrificed those of us from Nsukka who had been loyal to him since he came on board,  he had by extension created a recipe for losing the governorship election because Nsukka (Enugu North) controls 48 percent of the entire votes of the state. He noted that it was not likely that Nwodo would support Chime for governorship. Also reacting, Chief Okey Ogbonna, the state PDP Chairman elected by the Nwodo group during the December 31 state congress said the terms of the agreement reached by Nwodo and Chime was illegal and unacceptable to members of the group.

Meanwhile, leaders of the Nwodo camp, including the five governorship aspirants of the party left Enugu for Abuja to protest the power-sharing formula adopted by Nwodo and Chime even as it was unclear as at press time if the House of Assembly primaries slated for yesterday would still hold.

Akwa Ibom
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] in Akwa Ibom State, Patrick Akpan yesterday bemoaned the defeat of most members of National Assembly in the just concluded state primaries.

At the election conducted last Thursday, only Senator Alloysius Etok was returned among the three senators, Senators Eme Ufot Ekaette and Effiong Bob lost out in their bids to return to the Senate.

Bob was defeated by Mr Ita Enang of the House of Representatives, while other nine members failed to win, including the spokesman of the House, Mr Eseme Eyiboh.

Akpan said in Abuja yesterday that the loss by members of the National Assembly should be blamed on the state Governor, Godswill Akpabio.

He accused the governor of working against the interests of the federal lawmakers, by shifting support to their opponents at the dying minutes, adding that the loss had become the gains of the governor.

'This is a deliberate attempt by the governor to destroy effective representation at the National Assembly. Now, he has helped to throw out members with cognate legislative experience.'

'It is sad that the governor has used security agents and election umpires to hijack PDP in Akwa Ibom State, by bringing on board, his loyal party members to substitute experienced federal parliamentarians'.

He described the governor's action as unpatriotic and draconian to have selected party members of his choice and be given PDP tickets for the National Assembly elections at the expense of state interest.

Zamfara
The 2011 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primaries in Zamfara State saw the emergence of two candidates, the incumbent, Governor Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi and the Former minister of state for Information and Communication, Ikira Aliyu Bilbis.

The primaries which was held in different venue were both witnessed large turnout from delegates across the 14 local government areas of the state.

It was observed at the primaries that the battle was between the factional PDP group led by Namadi Ango and Alhaji Ibrahim Mallaha with both claiming to be party chairmen in the state.

It was gathered that the incumbent governor's primary election was presided over by Chief Oris Onyiri and saw the emergence of Shinkafi who polled 576 votes while the former minister got 43 votes.

But the other faction led by Namadi Ango, at the end of the primary election presided over by Isiyaka Birnin Magaji annouced Ikira Bilbis as the winner with 687 votes, defeating the incumbent governor, who got 17 votes in an option A4 process of election.

The two primaries were held in a tight security and were conducted peacefully at the old motor park in Gusau metropoli and Gusau Air strip venues of Incumbent Governor Shinkafi and Former Minister of state for information and communication Ikira Bilbis respectively.

Kogi
A renowned banker and  former Chief Executive Officer of AfriBank Plc, Alhaji Jubril Isah Echocho  has emerged the Peoples Democratic Party standard bearer in Kogi State in a keenly contested primary which held at the Lokoja township stadium yesterday.

Echocho polled 361 votes to beat his closest rival, Abdulrazaq Isa Kutepa who won 303. The former deputy chief of staff at the Presidency, Prince Olusola Akanmode won 63 votes

The State  Deputy Governor, Philip Salawu  polled 24 votes, while the  Immediate past commissioner for Agriculture and Natural resources scored 50 votes, Chief Bayo Ojo, former attorney-general and minister of justice polled 30 and Secretary to the State Government, Alh Musa Ahmadu  recorded one vote.

Few hours before the election, renowned journalist, Yakubu  Mohammed  and Senator Nicholas Ugbane withdrew from the race. Bello Fadile said he decided to  step down for the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Clarence Olafemi who hitherto  stepped down for Echocho to become his running mate.

Political observers described the outcome of the gubernatorial primary as serious betrayer against his Okun- Yoruba  people who had been agitating for power shift.

Addressing journalists on his withdrawal, Mohammed said he made a wide consultations  with relevant stakeholders before he decided to withdraw from the race due to some incidences which he said may impinge on  his integrity.

As for Ugbane, he  accused  the state PDP executives of playing pranks with some aspirants  in the  conduct of the primaries and said he could not go into any contest where some people were already taking sides with a particular aspirant.

In all, out of the 32  governorship aspirants who signified their intentions to contest for the  race, only  18 people actually  participated in the election which had over 985 delegates from the 21 local government areas of the state.

Kwara
A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial aspirant in the just concluded primaries in Kwara state; Hon Bashir Bolarinwa has rejected the outcome of the governorship primaries, describing the exercise as a 'charade.'

Hon Bolarinwa made his feelings known at a news conference he addressed in Ilorin, yesterday.

The gubernatorial aspirant, who scored 39 votes to come second in the primaries, who was flanked at the news conference by the former minister of state for health, Dr (Mrs.). Amina Ndalolo.

According to him, he had forwarded a petition to the national secretariat of PDP over what he termed as 'irregularities in the conduct of the governorship primary' while describing the exercise as a subversion of the wish of majority of PDP members in the state.

He said, 'the guidelines for the primaries were not strictly adhered to by the electoral panel because the accreditation of delegates which is the critical issue in the exercise was done outside the venue of the congress. Worst still the accreditation was done on behalf of the electoral panel by some agents of the powers-that-be.'

He further alleged, 'as against the provision of the law guiding the conduct of the primaries, most aspirants came to know the venue of the primaries on Sunday morning as against the stipulated seven days' notice.' Fielding questions from journalists, Bolarinwa ruled out the possibility of defecting to another party, expressing confidence in the ability of the national leadership to resolve the issue at hand.