2011: Upsets as Ekaette, 8 senators crash out

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By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor, Dayo Johnson, Ben Agande and Luka Binniyat
No fewer than nine Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators seeking re-election have crashed out of the race as they lost the tickets of the ruling party to contest the April  polls.

Among the notable losers are Senator Lee Maeba who proposed Senator David Mark as president of the Senate in June 2007;Senator Abubakar Sodangi, Nasarawa west, who was gunning for a fourth straight term, and Senator Effiong Bob, the influential chairman of the committee on Senate services.

Other losers at press time include Senators Eme Uffot Ekaette, Akwa Ibom South; Simon Oduoye; (Osun); Hosea Ehinlawo (Ondo South); Joseph Akaargerger, Benue North East; Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, Cross River South; Caleb Zagi, Kaduna South and Usman Jibrin, Kaduna central.

David Mark survived. He beat Major General Lawrence Onoja (rtd) for the PDP return ticket in Benue south senatorial district.

Nasarawa State, which presented one of the most watched races in the PDP, also saw former Governor Adamu Abdullahi defeating  his one-time acolyte, Senator Sodangi,  for the Nasarawa west senatorial ticket while erstwhile minister of  state for Federal Capital Territory, was trounced by his erstwhile political “daughter”, Senator Patricia Akwashiki.

A number of PDP senators, who  perched on the wrong factions of the party in their local state chapters, however, withdrew on the eve of the primaries. Among those who withdrew and are supposedly seeking election ticket on the platform of other political parties are Senators George Akume, Benue northwest; Lekan Mustapha, Ogun  west and Senator Nimi Barigha-Amange, Bayelsa, arguably, the chief canvasser for President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential aspiration in the Senate.

The internal conflict in the Ogun State chapter of the party, which led to the conduct of rival primaries by the Gbenga Daniel and Senator Jubril Kuye factions of the party, has led to the production of rival super heavy candidates for the Ogun Central Senatorial district in the persons of Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello and Mrs. Lola Abiola-Edewor.

Obasanjo-Bello won the PDP ticket on the platform of the Kuye faction while Abiola-Edewor, daughter of Chief Moshood Abiola and herself a two-term member of the House of Representatives, got the party ticket for the same senatorial district on the platform of the Daniel faction.

Daniel himself got the ticket for the Ogun west senatorial district in the primaries conducted by his own faction.
Another sitting governor seeking to step into the Senate from the Government House is Governor Mohammed Goje of Gombe State who won the PDP senatorial ticket for Gombe central in a landslide after the incumbent, Senator Idris Abdullahi, stepped down. His deputy, Dr. John Yoriyo, lost the PDP ticket for Gombe south district to a former deputy governor of the state, Joshua Lidani while the third senatorial ticket for Gombe north went to the serving senator from the district, Saidu Alkali.

In Ondo State, former Governor Olusegun Agagu defeated the incumbent senator, Hosea Ehinlawo, to obtain the PDP ticket while Senators Bode Olajumoke and Gbenga Ogunniya retained their tickets to represent the party in Ondo north and Ondo central senatorial districts respectively.

Erstwhile national chairman of the PDP, Chief Barnabas Gemade, came out tops in Benue north, beating Senator Akaargerger in a photo finish contest. Gemade polled 457 votes to Akaargeger’s 446 votes. Mr. Mathias Byuan scored 419 votes and Mr. Jacob Gyado came a distant fourth with 169 votes.

At press time, Senator Chris Anyanwu was fighting the political battle of her life as the primary for the Imo east senatorial district which started late on Friday was postponed to yesterday. Anyanwu is dogged in battle against Dr. Kema Chikwe, erstwhile minister and ambassador to Ireland.

The junior brother of the erstwhile chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr. Cosmas Iwu, lost the Imo north ticket to Ambassador Matthew Nwagwu in a contest that also involved the wife of the former national vice-chairman of the party, Mrs. Comfort Chukwu.

The ticket for the Imo west senatorial ticket involving Senator Osita Izunaso was yet to be declared as at press time.
All serving senators in Niger State, Senators Nuhu Aliyu (North), Zainab Kure (South) and Dahiru Kuta (West) retained their tickets.

In Jigawa, the national vice-chairman of the party, Dr. Danladi Sankara, was returned unopposed for the Jigawa north ticket, while Senator Abdulaziz Turabu and Alhaji Abdul mumuni Zareku picked the tickets for Jigawa north east and central respectively.

On the Plateau, Senator Gyang Dantong won an easy election to retain the ticket for Plateau north following the exit of the Dariye and Mantu groups while a junior brother of a former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, rtd, Mr. Dauda Gowon, picked the ticket for Plateau Central and Mr. Victor Lar, ironically, the gubernatorial candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, in the 2007 elections  won the PDP ticket for Plateau south.

In Katsina, the Senate Majority Whip, Senator Kanti Bello, held his ticket for Katsina north while Senator Ibrahim Ida retained the ticket for Katsina central and a new comer in the person of Alhaji Ali Tukur picked the ticket for Katsina south.

In Akwa Ibom,  the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Business and Rules, Mr. Ita Enang, beat Senator Bob for the Akwa Ibom North East ticket while Mrs. Helen Esuene, a former minister and widow of the former military governor of the state, defeated Senator Eme Ufot Ekaette, herself wife of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation. Senator Alloysius Etok was the only survivor in the PDP primary contest in the State.

In Cross River State, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba won a ticket for a straight third term while Prof. Ben Ayade defeated Senator Gregory Ngaji to pick the Cross River north ticket and Mr Bassey Otu defeated Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw to pick the Cross River south senatorial ticket.

In Edo State, Senators Odion Ugbesia and Yisa Braimoh won the PDP tickets for Edo central and north respectively  while Senator Daisy Danjuma picked up the ticket for Edo south senatorial district.

In Bayelsa State, Senators Emmanuel Paulker (Central) and Heineken Lokpobiri (West) were returned unopposed while Mr. Clever Ikisikpo won the contest for the Bayelsa east senatorial district in the absence of Senator Nimi Barigha-Amange.

In Kaduna State, erstwhile minister of finance, Mrs. Esther Nennadi Usman, defeated the incumbent senator, Caleb Zagi, to claim the PDP ticket for the Kaduna south senatorial district, while Hamisu Mairago, former executive secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, defeated the incumbent senator, Usman Jibrin Former Governor Ahmed Markafi (north), who was returned unopposed, was the only serving senator in the state to win the PDP ticket.

In Bauchi State, the deputy governor, Babayo Garba Gamawa, picked the PDP ticket for Bauchi north while Abdul Ningi, a former leader of the House of Representatives, won the senatorial ticket for Bauchi central. The incumbent senator for Bauchi south, Adamu Ibrahim Gumba, retained his ticket.

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