(By: The Nation)
Senate Minority Leader Eyinnaya Abaribe, former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and one-time Information Minister Labaran Maku were among the aggrieved governorship aspirants who withdrew from the race before the Peoples Democratic Party primaries began in their states yesterday.
They hinged their actions on alleged manipulations of the process by some powers-that-be in the party.
A House of Representatives member Onofiok Luke also withdrew from the race, claiming there was no level-playing ground.
Ekweremadu announced his withdrawal from the race through a statement from the director-general of his Ikeoha Campaign Organisation, Charles Ogbo Asogwa.
The senator, who did not give a reason for his action, promised to keep his supporters abreast of his next move.
Abaribe announced his decision not to participate in yesterday’s primary through a statement he personally signed.
In the statement titled: “Notice of non-participation in the Abia PDP Gubernatorial Primaries,” the Senate Minority Leader regretted the unfolding developments within the opposition party.
He recounted how some stakeholders battled hard in the last couple of weeks to navigate PDP in Abia away from “a self-destructive path”.
In Delta, House of Assembly Speaker Sheriff Oborevwori, backed by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, defeated former Governor James Ibori’s ‘best man for the job’ David Edebvie.
Also in Rivers, Wike’s anointed Siminialayi Fubara secured the ticket.
Peter Mbah and Prof Prof Uche Ikonne, who got the slots in Enugu and Abia states, enjoy the supports of governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Okezie Ikpeazu respectively.
Others, including former Zamfara Deputy Governor Mahdi Aliyu-Gusau, four Lagos aspirants – Adedeji Doherty, Ade Dosumu, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour and Olanrewaju Jim-Kamal, stepped down.
Aliyu Gusau urged his supporters, delegates and party leaders to vote for Dr. Dauda Lawal-Darealso.
Lawal-Dare had had three aspirants Lawal-Dare, Abubakar Nakwada and Alhaji Wadatau Madawaki – to contend with in the battle for the ticket in the Northwest state.
At the time of going to press last night, governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa) had clinched the tickets to contest the election next year.
Those on the victory list are Ibrahim Kashim (Bauchi), David Umbugadu (Nasarawa); Prof Uche Ikonne Ikonne (Abia), Siminialayi Fubara (Rivers), Mohammed Barde Jibril (Gombe), Peter Mbah (Enugu), Austin Uba (Benue), Umo Eno (Akwa Ibom), Mustapha Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Sheriff Oborevwori (Delta).
Makinde defeated his only challenger, a former deputy governor Hazeem Gbolarumi, polling 1,040 of the 1,048 votes cast.
The results of the primaries were still being expected as accreditation and voting started late in some states including Kaduna, Katsina, Cross River and Ogun.
In Bauchi, Governor Bala Mohammed, who is jostling for his party’s presidential ticket, had his name on the governorship primary ballot.
The postponement of the exercise in Niger State left many of the more than 750 delegates from 25 local government areas stranded in Minna, the capital city.
The postponement followed observations from aspirants on the status of delegates.
Some aspirants said they did not trust the delegates because they could not verify their authenticity. Others alleged they were mercenaries.
The aspirants demanded that every delegate should have a means of identification alongside their party’s membership cards before accrediting them.
In Taraba, party Chairman Col. Agbu Kefas (rtd) clinched the ticket after scoring 443 votes out of 517 votes cast to defeat others, including his predecessor Victor Bala Kona, who boycotted the election.
Others who lost to Kefas were Joseph Albasu Kunini, Hilkiah Mafindi Bubajoda, Joel Ikenya and Jerome Nyame.
Immediate past Secretary to the Sokoto State Government, Alhaji Sa’idu Umar, got the ticket.
He emerged after hours of meetings with critical stakeholders on a consensus point.
He emerged among five aspirants out of which four had withdrawn from the contest.
In Yobe State, former chairman of Bade Local Government and one-time senatorial candidate for zone C, Alhaji Sheriff Abdu scored 295, defeating the other two contestants – Abbagana Tata and Dr Adamu Ali Tikau, who scored 109 and 129.