January 11, 2011

PDP ticket: How Senators, Reps won and lost

*60 Senators may not return

By Clifford Ndujihe, Deputy Political Editor;  Chidi Nkwopara, Anayo Okoli, Vincent Ujumadu and  Peter Okutu
Last weekend’s Senatorial and House of Representatives primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP lived up to the billing. They had the usual PDP signature of intrigues, controversies, allegations and counter-allegations of manipulation and, of course, expected and unexpected outcomes.

Across the country, the exercises spewed out an avalanche of upsets. A host of sitting lawmakers lost their flags to strong opponents and, in some instances, to un-fancied challengers. There were also cases where feuding factions of the party conducted parallel congresses and produced more than one standard bearers for a constituency – a thorny matter the PDP hierarchy must resolve  amicably before the elections, if it hoped to win in such areas.

For the losing legislators, their days in the National Assembly are numbered unless they secured tickets from opposition political parties and win the election proper. Currently, some of them have decamped from the PDP and are in the process of picking the tickets of their new parties. There were fears at the weekend that of the 109 senators about 60 or 65.4 % may not return to the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly.

At the last count about 20 PDP senators and a higher number of representatives were denied re-election tickets by their constituents.

Those who lost their tickets

Senators who could not sail through include Senator Lee Maeba (Rivers), Abubakar Sodangi (Nasarawa West), Effiong Bob (Akwa Ibom), 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). Mrs. Chris Anyanwu (Imo), Sylvester Anyanwu (Imo), Osita Izunaso (Imo),  Bassey Ewa_Henshaw (Cross River) and Gregory Ngaji (Cross River).

Hasty withdrawals

For perceptively belonging to wrong caucuses or factions, some senators  withdrew from the primaries and headed for rival parties. In this category are Senators George Akume (Benue North West), Lekan Mustapha (Ogun West), Nimi Barigha_Amange (Bayelsa), Idris Abdullahi (Gombe) and Sylvester Anyanwu (Imo).

The successful ones

Senate President David Mark survive by beating Maj. Gen. Onoja (rtd) for the Benue South ticket. All serving senators in Niger State –  Senators Nuhu Aliyu (North), Zainab Kure (South) and Dahiru Kuta (West) retained their tickets. Saidu Alkali (Gombe), Adamu Ibrahim Gumba (Bauchi South), Patricia Akwashiki.(Nasarawa), Bode Olajumoke (Ondo North) Gbenga Ogunniya Ondo Central) and Gyang Dantong (Plateau) also retained their flags.

Among the successful ones are Senate Majority Whip, Senator Kanti Bello (Katsina North), Ibrahim Ida (Katsina Central), Alloysius Etok (Cross River), Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna), Abdulaziz Turabu (Jigawa) and Victor Ndoma_Egba (Cross River). 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.

New entrants

Leading the pack of new flagbearers is former Governor Adamu Abdullahi of Nasarawa State, who defeated  his one_time acolyte, Senator Abubakar Sodangi for the Nasarawa West senatorial ticket. Among the new hopefuls are  Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Dr. Olusegun Agagu (Ondo), Babayo Garba Gamawa (Bauchi North),  Amb Matthew Nwagwu (Imo North), Joshua Lidani (Gombe), Chief Barnabas Gemade (Benue),  Dr. Kema Chikwe (Imo), Mrs. Esther Nenadi Usman (Kaduna) Mrs. Helen Esuene (Akwa Ibom) and Ita Enang (Akwa Ibom).

Two candidates, one post

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, led to the production of rival 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’s ticket for the same senatorial district on the platform of the Daniel faction. On his part, Daniel got the ticket for Ogun West senatorial district in the primaries conducted by his own faction.

Bankole retains ticket in style

House of Representatives Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, who recently made up with Daniel was among lawmakers who secured re-nomination ticket. He sailed through when his opponents, Hon Fasiu Bakenne and Rt. Hon Titi Oseni stepped down fo him “in the interest of Egbaland, Ogun and PDP.”

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, Saidu Alkali.

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 younger 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 Alh. 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, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC had cancelled and for which the PDP is insisting on, Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba won a ticket for a straight third term while Prof. Ben Ayade defeated Sen. Gregory Ngaji to pick the Cross River North ticket and Mr Bassey Otu defeated Sen. Bassey Ewa-Henshaw to pick the Cross River South ticket.

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 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.

Six pick senatorial ‘tickets’ in Abia

AMID protests by aspirants, the three incumbent senators from Abia State –  Uche Chukwumerije (Abia North), Nkechi Nwaogu (Abia Central) and Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South) were handed re-election tickets by a faction of the party. However,  three other candidates also emerged from the other faction. Both camps had also elected candidates for both the House of Assembly and House of Representatives.

All Ebonyi senators out

ABAKALIKI PDP primaries in Ebonyi State saw all the incumbent senators losing their tickets.

The Senator representing Ebonyi South senatorial zone, Senator Anyim Ude, his counterpart in Ebonyi North, Senator Anthony Agbo and that of Ebonyi Central, Senator Emmanuel Onwe all lost the primaries.

Senator Agbo was however not at the primaries over perceived disenchantment with certain intrigues before the exercise.

While Senator Anyim Ude lost to the immediate past commissioner for Economic Empowerment and Poverty Reduction in the state, Chief Sonny Ogbuoji, the senator representing Ebonyi North, Senator Agbo lost to the brother in-law of Governor Elechi and former Secretary to the government  in old Anambra State Chief Chris Nwankwo.

SenatorOnwe was defeated by the member representing Ezza North\Ishielu Federal Constituency in the House of Representative, Hon Paulinus Igwe Nwagu in a keenly contested primary at the Ezza South council headquarters.

From the result released by the Panel Committee, only two of the serving members of the House of Representatives secured the party’s ticket. They are the members representing Afikpo South/Afikpo North federal constituency Hon Christopher Omo Isu and Hon Sylvester Ogbaga who was returned un-opposed.

Hon Linus Okorie, a former House of Assembly member defeated Hon Darlington Okereke in Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo Federal Constituency, Mr.  Peter Oga-Ali defeated Hon Mrs. Elizabeth Ogbaga in Ebonyi/Ohaukwu federal constituency, Hon Ogodo Ali emerged winner for the Ezza North/Ishielu federal constituency race, while Hon Tobias Okwuru defeated Hon Innocent Ugo-Chima in Ezza South\Ikwo federal constituency.

It’s confusion galore in Anambra

The primaries in Anambra were laced with drama with three groups brandishing results claiming to have won the tickets.

At the venue for the primaries in Anambra Central in Awka, there was shooting while the exercise was on, forcing some of the delegates to scamper for safety.

The matter was complicated more by the chairman of the state primary committee, Senator Joseph Waku who remained incommunicado in the midst of the confusion.

However, some of the results being circulated showed that former presidential aide; Dr. Andy Uba clinched victory for Anambra South senatorial zone, even as another aspirant, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu is also claiming victory for the zone. Wife of the late Senate President Chuba Okadigbo defeated the incumbent senator, Chief Alphonsus Igbeke and others to clinch the ticket for Anambra North.

The greatest confusion was in Anambra Central where one result showed that a former member of the House of Representatives, Chief Chudi Ofodile scored 150 votes, while the incumbent senator, Chief Annie Okonkwo scored 50 votes. Also, Mrs. Christy Okoye scored 40 votes to place third.

But another result circulating in the state showed that Senator Annie Okonkwo won by scoring 257 against Chudi Ofodile’s 51, while Mrs. Okoye got 19 votes.

As Ofodile and Okonkwo were claiming victories, another aspirant, Dr. Jerry Ugokwe and his group conducted another  primaries at a venue at Amawbia where Ugokwe emerged as the standard bearer.

For the House of Representatives, some of the aspirants presented themselves to two factions of the party and won in both places, while some were completely shut out as they did not know the venue of the exercise.

It was gathered yesterday that each of the groups had rushed to the party’s headquarters in Abuja with its results to present to the party officials.

Incumbent senators lose in Imo

The three senators currently representing Imo State in the National Assembly, Senators Chris Anyanwu (Owerri Zone), Osita Izunaso and Sylvester Anyanwu for Orlu and Okigwe zones, crashed out at the PDP primaries.

While Sylvester Anyanwu chose a soft landing by decamping to Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) ahead of the primaries, Dr. (Mrs.) Kema Chikwe and Chief Hope Uzodinma roundly beat the incumbents in the contest.

In Okigwe senatorial zone, Amb Matthew Nwagwu secured the slot with a score of 2,128, leaving the immediate past Secretary to the Government of Imo State (SGI), Chief Cosmas Iwu and Mrs. Comfort Chinwe Chukwu with 129 and 37 votes respectively.

In Orlu zone, a member of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Hope Uzodinma garnered a staggering 2,147 votes to defeat Chief Osita Izunaso who got 891 votes.

The story was the same in Owerri zone where the immediate past Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland and Iceland, Mrs Kema Chikwe floored Mrs. Chris Anyanwu.

While Chikwe scored 1,084, Mrs. Anyanwu, Greg Egu and Mrs. Ugochi Nnanna-Okoro garnered 931, 183 and 60 votes respectively.