Governors Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Samuel Ortom of Benue, and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state won Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, senatorial tickets in their respective states yesterday, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Former governors of Bayelsa and Benue states, Senators Seriake Dickson and Gabriel Suswam, and former Minister of State for Defence, Col. Austin Akobundu (retd), also won PDP senatorial tickets in their respective states.
In Abia State, Governor Ikpeazu was returned unopposed to represent Abia South Senatorial District in the 2023 election.
Ikpeazu wants to take over from the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe who is also seeking to succeed Ikpeazu as Governor in 2023.
Similarly, former Minister of State for Defence, Col. Austin Akobundu (retd.), won the ticket for Abia Central.
Akobundu garnered 186 votes to defeat Ugwuzo Chukwuemeka who secured only one vote.
Pioneer Director-General of National Directorate of Employment, NDE, Chief Chuku Wachuku had earlier in the day pulled out from the race.
Wachuku cited a lack of transparency and impunity as reasons of his withdrawal.
In Abia North, the senatorial contest between Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, who represented the zone in the eighth Senate, and a member representing Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituency at the House of Representatives, was marred by violence.
The exercise, which began around 4:00 pm, became rancorous after delegates from Umunneochi Local Government Area finished casting their ballots.
Delegates and aspirants as well as their supporters all raced out of the Ohafia Council hall, the venue of the primaries.
Also, journalists who came to cover the exercise ran in different directions in their bid to flee from the danger zone.
Soldiers, police and other security agents had a herculean task trying to bring the situation under control.
Earlier in the day, Deputy Speaker, Ifeanyi Uchendu won the House of Representatives ticket for the Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituency to defeat his closest rival, Chief Kelvin Jombo. Uchendu scored 36 votes while Jombo got 28 votes.
Speaker, Abia House of Assembly, Mr Chinedum Orji, also secured the ticket for Ikwuano/Umuahia federal constituency.
In Enugu State, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi picked the PDP ticket for Enugu North Senatorial District.
Announcing the results, the returning officer, Yandev Ammabai, said Ugwuanyi polled 299 votes to defeat his closest rival, Eze Godwin who scored 16 votes while Godsmack Ugwu and Okanya Celestine recorded zero votes.
The primary election, which witnessed a large turnout of supporters of all the aspirants, was conducted, yesterday after it was shifted from Monday due to Monday’s sit-at-home in the South-East.
Ugwuanyi is seeking to replace Chukwuka Utazi, the incumbent senator representing the district.
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and incumbent Senator Gabriel Suswam also secured the tickets of the party to represent Benue North West and Benue North-East Senatorial Districts respectively.
However, the result from the Benue South Senatorial District where Senator Abba Moro hails from was being awaited.
Meanwhile, three PDP House of Representatives members from Benue State failed to secure their tickets back to the National Assembly in the just concluded primaries of the party.
Among those who lost were Mr Mark Gbillah representing Gwer East/Gwer West Federal Constituency, Mr Francis Agbo representing Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency and Kpam Sokpo of Buruku Federal Constituency.
Mr Gbillah, who was gunning for a third term in office, lost his position after polling 29 votes against the 54 scored by Mr Emmanuel Ukaa who emerged victoriously.
In the Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency election, the incumbent, Francis Agbo who polled 35 votes was floored by a female aspirant, Aide Naths-Ogwuche who garnered 71 votes.
The election in Buruku Federal Constituency also went the way of Mr Terkaa Agbo, who polled 20 votes to defeat the incumbent, Mr Kpam Sokpo who garnered 17 votes, while the immediate past Commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mrs Ngunnan Addingi, polled three votes.
Meanwhile, a three-term member representing Gboko/Tarka Federal Constituency, Mr John Dyegh, who last December defected to the PDP from the All Progressives Congress, APC, also got the nomination of his new party.
He polled a total of 69 votes to defeat Mr Terzungwe Atser who came a distant second with five votes.
Four others made it back to the green chambers and they include Benjamin Mzondu representing Makurdi/Guma Federal Constituency, Dr Richard Gbande representing Katsina-Ala/Logo/Ukum Federal Constituency, Mr Bob Tyough of Kwande/Ushongo Federal Constituency and Samson Okwu presenting Oju/Obi Federal Constituency.
Other new entrants, who picked the party’s ticket include Pastor Ojotu Ojema for Apa/Agatu Federal Constituency, Alexander Ogbeh for Otukpo/Ohimini Federal Constituency and Julius Atorough for Konshisha/Vandeikya Federal Constituency.
Also, the former governor of Bayelsa State, who represents Bayelsa West Senatorial District, Chief Seriake Dickson has clinched the PDP ticket for Bayelsa West.
The former governor polled a total of 57 votes to emerge as the consensus candidate of the party following the withdrawal of his main challenger, Donald Daunemigha before the commencement of the exercise.
Daunemigha, a former aide to Governor Douye Diri had, in a private meeting with the governor, disclosed his intention to withdraw from the race.
The two-time chairman of Ekeremor Local Government Area had earlier resigned his appointment to contest the primary election.
Declaring Dickson as the winner, the returning officer, Mr Pius Otiah said a total of 62 ad hoc delegates from Sagbama and Ekeremor Local Governments Areas, took part in the exercise.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after he was declared winner, Dickson described the process as free, fair and transparent, saying the outcome was the popular wish of the people.
He said: “I thank and appreciate the abiding support and solidarity that I have received and enjoyed all these years by the good people of this senatorial district.
“I thank the elders of our party who have been solidly behind us. I thank the organising team that came, party leaders, INEC and security for providing a conducive atmosphere. I thank the delegates; they are our bosses in this process.”
In Osun State, the lawmaker representing Osun East Senatorial District, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, yesterday, won the party’s ticket to run for the senatorial seat again.
Fadahunsi defeated Gbenga Onigbogi in a re-scheduled primary exercise at Osunjela area in Atakumosa-West local government area of the state, following the postponement of the exercise billed to hold in Ile-Ife on Monday over security concern.
In the rescheduled exercise, Fadahunsi, according to the party’s Director of Media, Oladele Olabamiji, polled 187 votes to defeat Onigbogi, a former member of the House of Representatives, who polled 137 votes.
Olabamji also disclosed that in Osun Central senatorial district, Olubiyi Fadeyi defeated the former PDP Chairman in the state, Alhaji Gani Olaoluwa to pick the ticket.
There was a major upset in Ogun State as the party’s only member from the state in the House of Representatives, Mr Adesegun Adekoya lost his re-election bid for a third term.
Adekoya, who is the PDP Deputy Minority Whip in the House of Representatives, was defeated in the contest for the party’s ticket for Ijebu North/Ijebu East/Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency.
A new entrant, Mr Kehinde Bello, won the party’s ticket in a keenly contested primary election held at Muslim Hall, Ijebu Imushin, Ijebu East Local Government Area of the state.
Bello, according to the results announced and signed by the Returning Officer, Ashiru Tunde, polled 58 votes.
There were five contestants in the primary elections for the Ijebu North/Ijebu East/Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency ticket.
In the official results, Tele Ogunjobi polled 38 votes; Sunday Adegbesan got 02 votes; Adesegun Adekoya had 01 votes while Adeyemi Duduyemi did not record any votes.
Though the primary election was scheduled for Sunday, due to logistics challenges, including the late arrival of electoral materials and officials, the exercise could not hold and was rescheduled to Monday.