Posted by News Express | 8 December 2014 | 4,730 times
The die is cast in the contest for the gubernatorial ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 30 states where gubernatorial elections would be holding next February. The battle in some of the most interesting states are presented below.
Eleven aspirants fight for Ogun ticket: Though 11 aspirants are in contention for today’s governorship ticket of the party in Ogun State, it is generally believed that it is a straight battle between erstwhile Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, and the right hand man of former governor Gbenga Daniel, Gboyega Isiaka.
While pundits claim that Bankole’s leverage is coming from Abuja, Isiaka has won favour with the convergence of the support of Buruji Kashamu and Daniel. Daniel had recently stepped down his senatorial ambition and it is believed that his decision which is in favour of Kashamu could have facilitated the support for Isiaka from Kashamu.
Other aspirants in the race include Yanju Lipede, a popular philanthropist, Remilekun Bakare, and Abiodun Akinlade, a third term member of the House of Representatives.
Fiery contest in Rivers: In Rivers State, 18 aspirants are locked in battle agains former Minister of State for Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, who accuse him of both violating the zoning principle and hijacking the party structure for his benefit.
The aspirants who have teamed up to stop Wike and whose supporters last week carried a coffin to the party’s national secretariat in Abuja say it is unfair for Wike, who is from the same Ikwere ethnic group as the outgoing governor, to succeed the governor.
On his part, Mr Wike has dismissed their arguments as a reflection of the mind set of lazy politicians who want to sit in their houses and expect governorship ticket to be ceded to them. There is also another dimension with the agitation by the Rivers South East Senatorial District to be given the slot. The senatorial district has maintained consistently that they are the only area that has not produced a governor in the state.
The Ogoni in the district have appealed to all parties to ensure their standard bearers come from Ogoni, noting that they will only vote for a candidate that is Ogoni for the governor.
The aggrieved aspirants who have clubbed together against Wike include Prince Tonye Princewill, Major Lancelot Anyaya rtd, Chief Paweriso Samuel Horsefall, Engr Sampson Ngeribara, Bar Dumo Lulu Briggs, Hon Bernard Mikko, Mr Oseleye Dennis Ojuka, Captain S. Nwankwo, Engr Bekinbo Dagogo Jack, Bar Nimi Walson-Jack, Hon Sir Gabriel Pidomson, Prof Don Baridom, Engr Georgewill Emmanuel, Bar Nyesom Wike, Bar Abieatedoghu Bob-Abbey Hart (lady), Mr Atamuno Atamuno, Mr Odein Ajumogobia, SAN.
The permutations in Ebonyi: Though there are about eight aspirants in the race for the PDP ticket, it is an incontestable fact that the duel is essentially between the outgoing governor, Chief Martins Elechi, and his deputy, Engr. Dave Umahi.
Elechi’s faux pas in choosing the former minister of health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, as consensus candidate of the party without the influence of the other major stakeholders and notably, Umahi, has led to the removal of the carpet from under Elechi’s feet. Elechi is practically isolated in the PDP today as the delegates list is with Umahi, who seems poised to take over the baton from an unfriendly boss.
The other aspirants in the race include Dr. Paul Okorie, Senator Offia Nwali, Chief Aja Nwachukwu, Senator Paulinus Igwe Nwagu, Hon. Michael Ude Udumanta and Hon. Hycinth Ikpo.
Intrigues, conflicts and possibilities in Imo: The big names in today’s contest in Imo State are the immediate past State Governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, Prince Ken C. O. Njemanze, SAN, Professor Jude Nioku, Dr. Charles Amanze, Mr. Ken Ojiri, Chief Ifeanyi Araraume, Chief Humphrey Anmudu, Charles Onyeagbako and some others. They are all determined that Okorocha should go in 2015.
Not surprisingly, the problem in PDP started during the recent election of delegates. Several lists have been flying around as “the authentic list”. It must however be said that since the State Assembly and National Assembly primaries have been concluded, it therefore means that the National Headquarters of the PDP must have settled the issue.
Addressing the issue in a media chat, Professor Njoku lamented that the organisation of the delegates’ election and primaries were below expectation.
Tension in Taraba: The political tension in Taraba State, which was recently enlivened by the reinstatement of the former deputy governor, has taken a new direction with last minute intrigues in the contest for the PDP ticket.
The failure to hold the State House of Assembly and Federal House of Representatives primaries on account of a court case instituted by Senator Danlami Ikenya on the ward ad-hoc delegates list is causing apprehension. Spokespersons for the gubernatorial aspirants all confirmed that their candidates were ready to go into the primaries if it holds today.
Confusion in Oyo: The tussle for the PDP governorship ticket has worsened relations in the Oyo State chapter even if relations had never even been really warm.
The ten aspirants in contention for the ticket are the former Governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, Engr Seyi Makinde, Senator Teslim Folarin, former Senate leader, Prof. Soji Adejumo, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, former Minister of Sports, Dr. Azeez Adeduntan, Azeem Gbolarumi, Dr. Isaac Owolabi, Engr Femi Babalola and Senator Ayoade Adeseun who recently defected from the All Progressive Congress.
As things are now, it seems the national leadership of the party is in a dilemma following claims of aspirants that there are two conflicting court judgements over the issue.
Ward congresses, according to them, took place on November 1 but was cancelled after avalanche of petitions that it was grossly rigged.
After that, a new five-man congress panel led by former minister, Dr Aliyu Idi Hong, was mandated to conduct fresh congresses on November 24.
The results of the congresses were signed by the secretary of the panel, Ndoma Egodo and authenticated by the Yinka Taiwo-led executive as being the results emanating from congresses held at the designated venues listed by the state chapter of the PDP.
The results reportedly favoured the camp of the former Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin.
The other three congress panel members led by Dr Tony Macfoy however disagreed with Idi Hong and Egodo and submitted a separate set of results, which was said to favour Seyi Makinde.
Though, the court has upheld the result that favoured Makinde, other aspirants including Folarin are not surrendering. Some aspirants have gone to court to challenge the Appeal Court decision. The last has not been heard on the case.
Crunchy battle in Abia: The eight aspirants in the contest are Chief Friday Nwosu, the immediate past Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and Ambassador Okay Emuchay. Others are Dr. Sampson Uche Ogah, Chief Okezie Iheanacho Orji, Chief Marc Wabara and two-time deputy governor in the state, Elder Eric Acho Nwakanma.
From every indication, it is going to be a very tight and interesting contest given that all the aspirants are big weights in their own rights and are eminently qualified to occupy the Umuahia Government House.
Interestingly, four of the aspirants are from one local government, Obingwa, seen as the political hotbed of the state. They are Okezie Ikpeazu, Friday Nwosu, Iheanacho Orji and Acho Nwakanma. Two others, Ambassador Okay Emuchay and Marc Wabara, are from Ukwa East Council area, while Wogu is from Aba South. And all of them are from the Ukwa/Ngwa bloc, where the ruling party in the state zoned the governorship slot to. The only non-Abia South aspirant is Dr. Uche Ogah.
On the surface, everything seems to be working in favour of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, who is allegedly being sponsored by the government in the state. Though the government has severally denied having any favoured aspirant, the body language and activities of some trusted government officials and the amount of his endorsement by government appointed officials like the transition committee chairmen have since given lie to this denial.
Dicey race in Delta: The political atmosphere in Delta State is now enveloped with apprehension and uncertainty in the last hours preceding the primaries of the PDP.
The endorsement of Mr. David Edevbie, erstwhile commissioner of finance in the James Ibori administration and subsequently, principal staff officer to President Umaru Yar’Adua, by the influential Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), seemed to shake the ascendancy of the Tony Obuh campaign. Rumours that Obuh had been dumped by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, who is alleged to be his benefactor, were denied by a government spokesman who spoke on the condition of anonymity and described as a wicked rumour by a media aide to Obuh, Mr. Basil Okoh.
Influential former Ijaw militant, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, on his part, is said to have waded into the race with a strong support for Senator Ifeanyi Okowa. Until Obuh’s entry into the race, Okowa was in pole position with some other aspirants like Engr. Victor Ochei, Omo-Agege and Kenneth Gbagi as major contenders.
•Excerpted from a Vanguard report. Photo shows PDP delegates voting during one of the party’s conventions.
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