For the All Progressives Congress the 2015 contests got underway on Thursday with state chapters electing their governorship candidates.
The APC governorship candidates for the 2015 polls, as they emerged on Thursday, include Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto); a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and public administrator, Akinwunmi Abode(Lagos); a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna); and second-term-seeking governors, Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun); Abdulfattah Ahmed (Kwara) and Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo).
Others are, a member representing Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr. Dakuku Peterside (Rivers); Olorogun O’tega Emerhor (Delta); Chief Okey Ezea (Enugu); a former Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government, Mr. Umana Umana (Akwa Ibom), Ibrahi Gaidam (Yobe), Umaru Al-Makura (Nasarawa) and Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara).
For one, hardly was any of the outcome of the state primaries a surprise as the candidates that emerged in states like Lagos, Sokoto, Kaduna and some others all match predictions by pundits. In Lagos State for instance, Akinwunmi Ambode, who defeated 12 other aspirants, had remained in public discourse as the anointed candidate of Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos and a national leader and financier of the APC.
Though he has worked for the state for several years and in fact reputed to be the brains behind the awesome internal revenue being generated by the state today, Ambode obviously lacks requisite political experience to singly defeat some of his co-aspirants.
Those defeated by Ambode included the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly for the past eight years, Adeyemi Ikuforiji; and serving senator representing Lagos West in the National Assembly, Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon.
The other aspirants that lost to Ambode in the high politics of Thursday at the Onikan Stadium are: a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Olasupo Sasore, said to be a favourite of the outgoing Governor Babatunde Fashola; a former Commissioner for Health, Leke Pitan; an incumbent Commissioner for Works, Obafemi Hamzat; a former aide to Tinubu, Mr. Tayo Ayinde; Mr. Adekunle Disu, Mr. Wahab Tokunbo, Mr. Olanrewaju Ope and a former Commissioner for Rural Affairs, Mr. Tola Kasali.
Curiously, both Fashola and Tinubu were absent at the Onikan primaries as of the time of this report late Thursday though delegates were still hopeful that Tinubu would still appear at the venue.
Our correspondent saw the governor’s convoy drove past the venue and ascend the Third Mainland Bridge around 11am.
Sources told our correspondent that the governor was not happy with the conduct of the primaries.
One of the aspirants, who asked not to be named, said, “The way things are going, there may be mass defection from this party as even the governor might leave soon. Tinubu has emasculated all of us, including Fashola who is not even being given a say.
“We planned to shun the primaries in protest after the party refused to postpone it following our request but we all agreed to come so that we can observe it properly in case the matter is taken to court. In any case, the dubious manner in which the state congress was carried out is already at a Federal High Court so there is a high possibility that the result of this event will be nullified.
“Only Tinubu has the list of the delegates and most of us were not able to reach out to them. This is most unfortunate.”
In Sokoto, Speaker Aminu Tambuwal’s defection from the Peoples Democratic Party had apparently been negotiated and the APC governorship ticket is the prize.
Tambuwal polled 3,466 votes to emerge tops ahead of four other contenders.
Others with their respective votes include Professor Lawal Bashir (0), Yusha’u Ahmed Kebbe (13), Senator Umaru Dahiru Tambawal (23) and Jibrin Bello Gada(0)
The primaries were held at the Giginya Memorial Stadium with over 3,000 delegates from across the 23 local governments and a total of 244 wards.
Declaring the result before INEC officials, delegates and agents of the aspirants, Chairman of the four-man electoral panel, Bolaji Khalil, said, having successfully conducted the governorship primaries and by the power conferred on him by the party’ headquarters, pronounced Tambuwal as the winner.
A total of 10 invalid votes were recorded at the exercise which lasted hours.
The Speaker attributed his victory to Allah and commended the dedication and peaceful conduct of the electoral panel under Bolaji Khalil.
Chairman of the Enugu APC, Dr. Ben Nwoye, said the members unanimously adopted the candidature of Ezea.
Nwoye said the emergence of the candidate had thrown up a huge challenge to the ruling PDP, adding the time was rife for the APC to pick up the mantle of leadership in the state.
Addressing the delegates, Ezea said the mandate was a collective one for all the party members to persuade the people of Enugu to vote for the party.
He reminded the party’s executives at the ward level that it was their job to take the campaign to the grass roots and convince the people to vote it into power.
The candidate promised to introduce free education in primary and secondary schools while also providing free health care for the aged, children and expectant mothers.
He called on the people of the state to give the party a chance to correct the ‘‘misrule’’ in the state in the past 16 years.
In Ogun where Amosun was the sole aspirant, it was a smooth ride for the governor. His deputy, Prince Segun Adesegun, has already run to the new Social Democratic Party on the platform of which he said he would also be contesting the governorship next year.
The primaries, which held under tight security, saw the governor securing 3,861 votes.
The event was supervised by state and national representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission headed by Kehinde Mustapha.
In an interview with journalists after casting his vote, Amosun, who described the exercise as peaceful, said the outcome was a call on him to do more for the people of the state.
However, Adesegun said he had put what happened between him and the governor behind him, and that he was concerned with how to move the state forward.
He said, “I want to formally inform you today that I have formally joined the Social Democratic Party, where I will contest as one of the governorship aspirants.
“Today I have with me some leaders of the party. We have gone round the 20 local governments in the state, and I am happy with the response from the people; I believe the party will move the state forward.”
In Oyo, Governor Ajimobi defeated the son of a former governor of the state, late Lam Adesina, Dr. Ayobami Lam-Adesina, to secure his second term ticket.
At the party’s primary conducted by Lumumba Adeh-led five-man electoral committee, Ajimobi polled 4,662 votes to defeat his only challenger, who polled 22 votes. Ninety of the total votes were declared invalid while the result was declared at 7.40 pm.
The third aspirant, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, who was on Monday cleared in Lagos to contest along with the two others, however, pulled out of the race on Wednesday when he filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Ibadan, asking the court to declare the congress invalid and illegal in view of the manner the delegates were selected.
Shittu, who is a former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General in the state, had contested against Ajimobi in 2011 as a candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change. He shunned the Thursday congress.
Adeh, before the exercise commenced, said, “We had three aspirants screened by the APC Screening Committee and they are Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Dr. Wasiu Abayomi Lam-Adesina and Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), we had interaction with all the aspirants but one of the aspirants, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, indicated that he was not going to participate in the exercise.
“He submitted a petition but that would not stop the exercise; and it is by way of information. His petition or letter will be forwarded to the national secretariat of the party.”
In his address after the victory, Ajimobi expressed the optimism that having crossed the first hurdle, it would be easy to concentrate on the main election and win again.
THE Rivers South-East representative in the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Abe, on Thursday shunned the APC governorship primary in the state.
Abe was a frontline aspirant before the emergence of the member representing Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr. Dakuku Peterside.
Though no reason was given for Abe absence, sources said the senator, who had already picked a senatorial nomination form, might not be happy over the consensus arrangement that produced Peterside.
The governorship primary, which was held at the Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre in Port Harcourt, became a platform to formally endorse Peterside as the party’s candidate.
But the Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, who spoke at the event, defended the choice of Peterside.
However, as soon as the governor announced Peterside as the governorship candidate, some aggrieved members of the party immediately left the hall, apparently to express their dissatisfaction with the process that produced the candidate.
Amaechi maintained that the decision to pick Peterside as the consensus candidate of the party was in the best interest of the people of the state.
He described Abe and the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Odien Ajumogobia, as two Nigerians he held in high esteem.
He said, “The flag bearer, by God’s grace, is Dakuku Adolphus Peterside because we sat and agreed on that. That does not mean that my bosom friend, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, was not qualified. I respect his intellect.
“There are two Nigerians I respect their intellect. They are Senator Magnus Abe and Odein Ajumogobia. This is the time for that change. We will fight with everything we have to deliver the state to the APC. This is our opportunity to ensure we will not suffer any more. This is the time to vote for our party.”
In Nasarawa, Governor Umaru Al-Makura emerged the winner thus securing the tickt to contest for a second term in office.
The governor scored 1,630 out of 2,543 votes to defeat his rivals- Reuben Audu and James Angbazo. The fourth aspirant, Stanley Buba, was said to be absent during the exercise, which held at the Lafia City Hall after delegates had been accredited at the Abacha Youth Centre and the Lafia stadium. The primaries, supervised by Ike Chinwo, the chairman of the state APC convention committee and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, held under heavy security presence.
Al – Makura described the exercise as peaceful, thanking the delegates for given him the opportunity to seek re-election.
The delegates in Zamfara ratified the candidature of Governor Abdulaziz Yari as the APC candidate for the 2015 election. Yari was unopposed at the primary election, which held at the Trade fair Complex in Gusau.
The Yobe State delegates unanimously endorsed Governor Ibrahim Gaidam as the party’s candidate for the 2015 general elections. The decision was reached after an unopposed primary election held in Damaturu. Addressing newsmen after the election, the Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Malam Babagana Tijjani, said the endorsement was sequel to polling a total of 2,219 votes cast to affirm his ticket. Tijjani added that the ticket was a reward for the governor’s performance in office, saying Gaidam had transformed the state to an enviable height in the country.
Source: The Punch