•Sani, Wamakko, Yari, Uduaghan, Tinubu, Ashafa, Adeola get automatic tickets
•Arise withdraws; court orders PDP to take in Buruji Kashamu’s men
•Why Ben-Bruce pulled out; Kabiru Yusuf wins PDP gov ticket in Kano
•Dino Melaye wins PDP ticket in Kogi
LAGOS — Intrigues enveloped the All Progressives Congress, APC’’s Senate primaries in 109 constituencies across the country yesterday with some of the party’s leading chieftains singing discordant tunes amid tales of disqualifications and award of automatic tickets.
The exercise which commenced in several centres amidst confusion caused by missing election supervisors was, however, postponed to tomorrow nationwide.
Vanguard checks, however, revealed that prominent among those disqualified was a former Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, former Managing Director of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Administration, NIMASA, Mr. Ray Omatseye and all other aspirants for Delta South with the exception of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.
Though Mr. Abba’s name had earlier found its way into the cleared list, the party later clarified in a terse statement that the NWC “has not cleared former Inspector-General of Police, Barr. Suleiman Abba to contest the party’s Jigawa South senatorial district primaries. Barr. Suleiman Abba’s name was erroneously included in the list of NWC-cleared aspirants,” it added.
Those who got automatic tickets yesterday following the disqualification of rivals included the immediate past governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, (Delta South) all three senators from Lagos State — Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Central), Adeola Solomon (West) and notably, Gbenga Ashafa (East). Senator Ashafa had faced a trenchant campaign from a four-term member of the House of Assembly, before respite came his way yesterday.
Although a party statement signed by its spokesman, Yekini Nabena, indicated that 282 aspirants were cleared for the exercise, it was, however, silent on the number and identities of those disqualified.
The restraint, Vanguard gathered, was to avoid the negative press associated with the publication of the names of two cabinet ministers who were disqualified from contesting in the governorship election primaries. No reason was given for the disqualifications.
In Delta South, accreditation was ongoing yesterday with some of the aspirants, including High Chief Michael Johnny, AVM Kerry Okorodudu, Mr. Evans Omatsogowa and Temisan Omatsaye, being accredited when news of their disqualification and postponement of the primary set upon them.
By the disqualifications, Dr. Uduaghan became the only aspirant in the race with the expectation of bagging the automatic ticket of the party.
All three were said to be yesterday protesting their disqualification from the contest.
Senator Shehu Sani, who had been at war with the party mainstream in Kaduna, emerged as the only aspirant after his bitter foe, Mallam Uba Sani, a close associate of Governor Nasir El-Rufai, was disqualified.
Tension in Anambra over missing panel
There was tension in Anambra South senatorial zone yesterday as members of the committee for the conduct of the senatorial primary for All Progressives Congress, APC, were yet to show face in any part of the state, even when they were said to have arrived the state 24 hours earlier.
The development came as Senator Andy Uba emerged as the only aspirant cleared to contest for the Anambra South Senatorial District.
One of the aspirants for the seat who was disqualified, Sir Azuka Okwuosa said APC members and delegates were also yet to see the sensitive materials to be used for the conduct of the primary, just as the venues where the primary would take place at the various wards were yet to be made known.
In another development, stakeholders of APC in Anambra South rose from a meeting yesterday and insisted on zoning the senatorial seat and reinforced their earlier decision to rotate the senatorial position among the areas in the zone.
At the well –attended meeting, the stakeholders questioned the loyalty of the incumbent senator representing the zone, Senator Andy Uba, to APC, describing him as former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s right-hand man.
They argued that the zoning principle, which was adopted in sharing political positions, was still in practice and would be enforced to the letter during the 2019 election.
According to them, the old Aguata block had taken its turn to represent the zone in the Senate for twelve years consecutively, adding that it would be proper for the old Nnewi zone, which includes Ihiala and Ekwusigo, to take its turn from 2019.
The Ondo State chapter also yesterday, frowned at the automatic tickets given to the three incumbent Senators representing the state in the three senatorial districts of the state by the National Working Committee of the party.
The candidates given automatic tickets include Senators Robert Ajayi Boroffice for Ondo North, Yele Omogunwa for Ondo South and Tayo Alasoadura for Ondo Central Senatorial district.
Aspirants of the party had on Monday accused the state governor of plans to impose his loyal candidate Dr. Tunji Abayomi and Lucky Ayedatiwa in the botched primaries.
Morayo Lebi and Victor Olabimtan eyeing both the Southern and Northern Senatorial districts had alleged that the governor would cause the failure of the party in 2019 election if he imposes the duo.
Reacting, Prof. Boroffice who expressed joy over the development, however, said “no victor, no vanquished” as the party is one indivisible family.
Ondo APC kicks
But in a swift reaction to the NWC list, the state chairman of the party Ade Adetimehin kicked against the imposition describing it as undemocratic.
Adetimehin said: “The NWC cannot do that. They believe in democracy and whoever believes in the direct primary should be given a fair hearing to other people to contest; that is the essence of giving us direct primary.
Protest in Ekiti
Some aspirants vying for National Assembly positions on the platform of the party in Ekiti, yesterday, protested the decision of the State Working Committee, SWC, of the party to use the indirect method to conduct their primaries, against the directive of the National Working Committee.
The aspirants and their supporters, who besieged the state secretariat of the party around 10.25 am, accused the Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Niyi Adebayo, and Governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of trying to scheme them out of the contest to pave the way for their cronies.
The contestants, who are vying for Senate and House of Representatives seats across the state, called on the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to overrule the SWC on its decision to apply the indirect method for their primaries.
This was as an APC chieftain and senatorial aspirant for Ekiti North District, Senator Ayo Arise, on Tuesday withdrew from the senatorial contest over the indirect mode of primary election adopted by the party in the state.
Arise, a former National Assembly member, who said it was practically impossible to mobilise delegates for the shadow election in less than 24 hours, having prepared for direct primaries for over two months, kicked against indirect primaries election format, saying it would not produce a true reflection of the people’s wish.
Addressing journalists at his Oye-Ekiti home town, Arise, who was seeking ticket for Ekiti North Senatorial District said: “We have said that the delegates’ mode doesn’t produce popular candidates. Delegates’ mode doesn’t reflect the popular wish of the people.”
Speaking at the protest in Ado Ekiti, the aggrieved aspirants alleged that members of the State Working Committee, led by Mr. Paul Omotosho, were trying to subvert the process to give way for automatic tickets to Fayemi’s close allies.
The glass windows of the secretariat located in Ajilosun area of Ado Ekiti were smashed as the protesters forced their way into the building to send a signal that they were prepared to take on the governor-elect.
The aggrieved aspirants included: Messrs. Bimbo Daramola, Kayode Babade, Yemi Olayinka, Ayo Oshinkolu and Mrs. Olutoyin Ajakaiye.
Daramola, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues accused the state executives of doing the bidding of the Governor-elect, to edge them out of the primary under the flimsy excuse of indirect primaries, contrary to the decision of the national secretariat.
Daramola said it was wrong for the state executives to have allowed an individual to teleguide them to have his way and ensured that he imposed his candidates on the party.
He said: “It was bad for the APC that just won the governorship election to be behaving in this manner. We were supposed to be given the opportunity to test our popularity in the primaries, rather than resorting to imposition.
“The Deputy National Chairman, South, Governor-elect and other leaders of our party told us at Iyin-Ekiti, residence of Chief Niyi Adebayo that direct primaries will be used to pick the candidates.
“We have all been working on the agreement of direct primaries, therefore, became difficult to identify the so-called delegates because we don’t have access to the list.”
Urhoghide, Ordia, Olujimi, Melaye, others pick PDP tickets
SENATORS Matthew Urhoghide (Edo South) and Clifford Ordia (Edo Central) were yesterday handed Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, return tickets as the party commended and accepted the withdrawal of Senator Ben-Bruce’s withdrawal from the Bayelsa East Senatorial race in respect of a 20-year power rotation agreement among the local councils of the zone.
This came on a day that Alhaji Abba Kabiru Yusuf won PDP governorship ticket in Kano and a Federal High Court ordered the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to accept the delegates and candidates lists of Senator Buruji Kashamu in Ogun. The PDP National Working Committee, NWC, recently expelled Kashamu from the party.
Ben Bruce’s conduct worthy of emulation – PDP
Accepting Senator Bruce’s withdrawal from the Bayelsa East senatorial contest, the Bayelsa State Chairman of the PDP, Chief Moses Cleopas, in a letter said that the action of the senator, widely known as Nigeria’s Common Sense Senator, was exemplary and worthy of emulation by all politicians.
Cleopas noted that politics is service to the people and not for self-aggrandizement.
“The Bayelsa State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has received the letter of withdrawal from the Bayelsa East Senatorial contest by Senator Ben Murray-Bruce. The party has accepted the decision which the distinguished senator said was a result of a subsisting arrangement on power rotation among the three local government areas making up the district. Senator Ben Murray-Bruce is a respected leader of the PDP whose services are valued by the party. These are the actions and decisions that we want in our great party. Politics is not for self aggrandizement. Politics is about the people,’’ he said.
Urhoghide, Ordia, Momoh win tickets in Edo
Apart from Urhoghide and Ordia, the PDP returned unopposed, Alhaji Abubakar Momoh, a former member of the House of Representatives as its senatorial candidate in Edo North.
Announcing the result for Edo South in Benin City, Chairman, Electoral Committees of the PDP, Hillary Otsu, said unchallenged Urhoghide polled 819 votes out of 824 cast, there were three against and five invalid votes.
Oboro stops Amori, Obule in Delta
House of Representatives member representing Okpe/Uvwie and Sapele Constituency, Hon (Mrs.) Evelyn Oboro, caused a major upset at the PDP Senatorial Primary in Delta Central Senatorial district, defeating Senator Ighoyota Amori and Chief Charles Obule.
Returning Officer for Delta Central election in Sapele, Barrister Nusa Amagbor, said Oboro polled 586 votes, Amori- 486 votes and Obule –six votes to emerge winner and the party’s senatorial flag bearer for the 2019 general election.
Senator James Manager also won the PDP Delta South Senatorial primary held at Oleh with 563 votes, beating his closest rival, Michael Diden, who scored 490 votes to the second position.
Returning Officer, Mr. Pedro Egharevba, who declared the results, said J.F.T Omatsone scored three, Olivia Agbajoh – 0, while seven votes were voided.
Senator Peter Nwaoboshi picked Delta North Senatorial ticket at the PDP primary in Asaba, with 506 votes, beating Hon Ned Nwoko, who polled 453 votes, while Paul Osaji scored 216 votes.
Returning Officer, Mrs. Uzor Nwandu, said total voters accredited were 1,214, but 1, 194 voted.
Olujimi, Senate minority leader, gets PDP return ticket in Ekiti
The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi, yesterday, clinched the PDP ticket to contest the 2019 senatorial election in Ekiti State.
Olujimi was given a return ticket by affirmation of party delegates that assembled at the district headquarters in Ikere-Ekiti.
The National Working Committee of the party, which was busy conducting elections in the central and North senatorial districts were represented at the primary by the party’s State Woman Leader, Mrs Yemisi Afolabi.
The Minority Leader was given the nod to re-contest through voice votes by over 1,500 delegates drawn from Ikere, Ekiti East, Gbonyin, Ise/Orun, Emure and Ekiti South West local governments that make up the zone.
With her emergence, Olujimi will now square it up with the candidate of the APC and former Minister of Works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye.
Dino gets Kogi West PDP ticket
Senator Dino Melaye was yesterday affirmed as the PDP flag-bearer for Kogi West Senatorial District for the 2019 general election.
There was a twist in the primary as four other contenders in the race were not cleared by the party screening committee while two others stepped down for the senator, who recently returned from the APC.
Those who stepped down for Melaye were former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Tolorunjuwon Faniyi and the current Member of the House of Representatives representing Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu federal constituency, Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf.
Those not cleared for the primary were Sunday Karimi, member representing Yagba federal constituency, former acting governor of the state, Clarence Olafemi, Henry Ojuola and Ganiyu Salaudeen, all from the Yagba federal constituency who felt it was their turn to produce the next senator.
The affirmation primary was conducted at the Prestige Hotels in Kabba, headquarters of the senatorial zone. Returning officer for the exercise, Mr. Jude Sule said Melaye scored all the delegates votes from the seven council areas in the district.
The exercise which was peaceful was monitored by the INEC. Reacting after the exercise, Melaye said the affirmation was “shocking but not surprising” bearing in mind that he has represented the axis wonderfully in the Senate.
Meanwhile, tension was said to be very high at Idah, venue of the Kogi East senatorial district where seven aspirants including the incumbent Senator Attai Aidoko are vying for the seat.
As of press time the delegates were said to be waiting for the arrival of the voting materials.
In Kogi Central senatorial district delegates were also said to be in disarray as the three aspirants are also waiting for the election materials from the PDP headquarters.
Abba Kabiru Yusuf wins PDP Primaries in Kano
Alhaji Abba Kabiru Yusuf, yesterday, won the PDP governorship ticket in Kano. Abba, also a former commissioner for Works and Housing, belongs to the Kwankwasiyya political movement led by Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.
Over 4,000 delegates voted at the primaries held at Lugard House, the Kwankwasiyya headquarters in Kano. Yusuf polled 2,400 votes.
Announcing the outcome of the election, the Returning Officer and Chairman of the Electoral Working Committee of the PDP Dr. Ezego Emeka Onuoha commended the party members for the peaceful conduct despite attempts to disrupt them.
Court orders PDP, INEC to accept Kashamu’s group list as delegates, candidates
THE crisis rocking the PDP in Ogun State may have been finally resolved as a Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State, yesterday, ordered the INEC, and the Uche Secondus-led National leadership of the PDP to accept and process the list of candidates and delegates submitted to them by the Adebayo Dayo-led Ogun State Executive Committee of the PDP for the purpose of the 2019 general election. Dayo is loyal to Senator Buruji Kashamu.
Ruling on a motion for interlocutory injunction after listening to arguments canvassed by the counsel to the Ogun State PDP Executive, Mr. Ricky Tarfa (SAN), who noted that the court had on September 28, 2018 ordered that the defendants should be put on notice and adjourned till October 2, 2018, for definite hearing of the motion for interlocutory injunction.