By Dennis Agbo & Peter Okutu
ENUGU—Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu has emerged winner of Enugu West Senatorial District, while former governor Chimaroke Nnamani is leading in Enugu East despite scarcity of ballot papers, Tuesday, which constituted hiccups to the senatorial primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Enugu State.
Voting in the primary elections commenced at about 2pm in Enugu West Senatorial District with the arrival of the party’s electoral committee headed by the state deputy party chairman, Chief Innocent Ezeoha.
Shortly after Senator Ike Ekweremadu arrived the venue at Agwu Local Government headquarters, the electoral committee announced there were a total of 894 delegates for the senatorial zone primary election but that they had only 400 ballot papers.
An uproar ensued, but was resolved by an agreement that voting should commence while they awaited complete ballot papers from Nsukka.
Five aspirants participated in the election including the Deputy Senate President, Ekweremadu who is seeking a fifth term in the Senate.
At Enugu East Senatorial District, the same issue of insufficient ballot papers delayed voting, as five out of six local government councils in the district voted, remaining Nkanu West council.
There was suggestion to make photocopies for the outstanding ballot papers and all the agents for the candidates to counter-sign on them for authenticity, but the suggestion was rejected by Senator Gil Nnaji who was seeking a third term in the Senate.
Four aspirants were in the race for the seat including former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani who had done one tenure in the Senate but was conspicuously absent at the primary election venue. At the time of this report, he was leading in the primary.
Party conducts peaceful NASS primaries in Ebonyi
However, the national assembly primaries of the PDP in Ebonyi State took place across the three senatorial zones of the state in a peaceful manner amidst tight security.
Places monitored were characterised by late arrival of materials.
Our correspondent who monitored the exercise, however, reported that as at 1pm, materials were yet to arrive in some of the designated areas for the primaries even when delegates arrived the venues as early as 8am.
In Abakaliki Local Government headquarters where the primaries of Ebonyi North zone took place, delegates and aspirants were seen sitting in groups discussing while waiting for the electoral panel.
Two persons were in the race for PDP Ebonyi North senatorial ticket. They were: the incumbent Senator representing the zone, and former governor of the state, Sam Egwu and his challenger, Ojimba Chikaodili.
In Ebonyi Central Senatorial and Ebonyi South zones, accreditation was still ongoing as at 4pm.
Former Senator Paulinus Igwe Nwagu and the former chairman of Ezza North LGA, Chief Ikeuwa Omebe are challenging the incumbent Senator, Obinna Ogba in the central zone while in Ebonyi south, two aspirants are vying for the senatorial position in PDP following the defection of the incumbent Senator, Sonni Ogbuoji to APC.
However, there was mildrama in Onueke, venue of Ebonyi central primaries after one of the aspirants, Ikeuwa Omebe, was not allowed inside with his supporters because according to the party, he was not cleared to contest the primaries.
Omebe in anger later left the venue after protesting for a while with his supporters.
Also, in Ebonyi North, Ojimba Chikaodili also alleged he suspected foul play because according to him, the electoral panel ought to have reached the election venue judging by the time the electoral materials were distributed at the party secretariat.
However, as at the time of this report, no winner has emerged in the conduct of NASS primaries in the state.
Meanwhile, the APC primaries for the NASS were also ongoing in designated areas across the state.