*Uzodimma restored in Imo
*Amosun shut out totally in Ogun
*Amaechi camp triumph in Rivers
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor, Egufe Yafugborhi, Daud Olatunji, Chinoso Alozie and Omeiza Ajayi
The internal crises that bedeviled the All Progressives Congress, APC primaries brought ill-wind for the party yesterday when the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC finally excluded it from governorship election in Zamfara State.
Party activists in Ogun State were also in shock yesterday after INEC published Dapo Abiodun as the APC’s candidate and excluded all 26 persons fielded by the Governor Ibikunle Amosun led mainstream of the party in the House of Assembly contests. After some distress caused by the exclusion of the party’s candidate in Imo State, hope returned late last night as Vanguard gathered that Senator Hope Uzodinma was published as the governorship candidate for Imo State after INEC had initially dithered upon a court order obtained by the Rochas Okorocha led tendency of the party.
Any bid by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to gloat in the distress of the ruling party was cut short when INEC also foisted the candidates of the Buruji Kashamu led tendency on it in Ogun State.
Former presidential spokesman, Dr. Rueben Abati was named as running mate to the PDP governorship candidate, Mr. Lawal Shitu who is aligned to the Buruji faction.
With the publication of the names of governorship and state Houses of Assembly candidates, the three APC governors mostly affected by the derailment of their succession plots were yesterday pondering their options for political relevance within their states.
The three governors are Governors Amosun, Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Abdulazziz Yari of Zamfara State.
The party was left out of the electoral contest in Zamafara after the party reportedly failed to meet the October 7 deadline for the conduct of its primaries to produce candidates in the state
Uzodinma, Nwosu drama in Imo
The party leadership in Abuja and its candidate in Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma were shocked yesterday when INEC published the list of candidates leaving the space for the APC blank. It was, however, clarified last night when Uzodimma’s name was published as the APC candidate.
Senator Ifeanyi Ararume was displayed as the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA while Chief Emeka Ihedioha was presented as the candidate of the PDP.
The initial exclusion of the APC candidate’s name was attributed to a court order obtained by the Okorocha for INEC to maintain the status quo as concerning the nomination process in the party in the state.
The court order was, however, subsequently discharged by Uzodimma, leading to the publication of his name as the APC candidate. Mr. Uche Nwosu, the son-in-law of Governor Okorocha who is his choice as APC candidate had earlier in the day expressed joy after the space for the APC was left blank yesterday, saying it followed the rule of law.
“I want to thank the National Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu for adhering to the rule of law by obeying subsisting Court Order as it concerns the Imo APC. I did not know why Oshiomole should insist on changing the name of people that won primary elections with those that never won,” Nwosu had said.
Senator Hope Uzodimma responding through his director of media and special duties, Declan Emelumba said the order obtained by the Okorocha tendency was vacated by 1 p.m. yesterday and served on INEC which he claimed had acknowledged Uzodinma as the authentic candidate.
“That court order they are talking of was obtained from the Federal High Court in Owerri. It was an exparte order and they were to give the ruling today and the court has refused to grant them the order. Definitely Senator Hope Uzodimma, is the candidate of the party in the state.
“First, the only candidate that the APC has submitted is Senator Uzodimma. The INEC, in order not to disobey the court, decided not to paste the name.
“I want to tell you that, the court has vacated the order by 1pm. There is no order, again stopping the publishing of Uzodimma’s name.
“The most important thing is the same order has been vacated by the same court. The ruling was given today (Friday). Our reaction is that the truth is that Uzodimma, is the APC’s candidate.”
Shocker for Amosun in Ogun
There was shock in the camp of Governor Amosun in the APC in Ogun State yesterday after all 26 House of Assembly persons penciled down from the primaries conducted by the party were sidelined in the APC’s list of House of Assembly candidates for the state.
That was besides the fact that the outgoing governor also lost his bid to project his favoured man, Adekunle Akinlade as the APC’s governorship candidate.
The governor and his associates were yesterday pondering their options. The removal of the list of his candidates for the 26 state constituencies it was learnt may have made the defection to the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP inevitable.
His associates refused to speak on the developments when contacted yesterday.
The State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Wole Elegbede said the party in the state has checked the list and confirmed that the 26 names positioned as the party’s state constituency candidates were not those submitted from the state chapter as he refused to entertain further questions.
But, a source who pleaded anonymity said the aggrieved candidates of the party would stay put in the party despite their missing names in the INEC list.
The source said their solace lies on the fact that they would seek the help of judiciary to reclaim their mandate.
According to the source, they had expected the NWC to be honourable and allowed the winners to contest the election and not replacing their names with a different set of people.
Anxiety calmed in Rivers
Meanwhile anxiety by APC stakeholders in Rivers State especially those aligned to the Rotimi Amaechi led mainstream of the party in the state was calmed yesterday after INEC published Pastor Cole as the candidate of the party in the state.
Cole was published alongside his running mate, Victor Giadom at the INEC office in Port Harcourt just as Governor Nyesom Wike was named as the PDP candidate with his deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Banigo as running mate.
A chieftain of the APC aligned to Senator Magnus Abe who went to court to upend the list of candidates produced by the Amaechi led tendency described the publication of Cole’s name as a temporary victory for the Amaechi side.
“It is no more in our place to banter words with any stakeholder, but I can assure you even INEC knows it is merely playing along. The needful would be done in the end,” he said.