By Harris-Okon Emmanuel & Daud Olatunji
The All Progressives Congress, APC, held direct and indirect primaries in states where elections are due next February.
The election was conducted amidst intrigues in several states including Delta, Rivers, Cross River among others.
Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State was unanimously endorsed as the party’s governorship candidate for the 2019 election.
The ceremony which saw about 2,000 delegates from the 23 local governments of the state voting for El Rufai, who was the sole aspirant, was conducted peacefully.
However, the event which was scheduled to have commenced at about 11 am did not start until 5pm.
Confusion, violence trail Ogun APC primaries
Violence and confusion trailed the direct primary of the APC as there were contrary messages sent out by different officials of the party in the state mainly on account of the absence of the election officials and materials from the national secretariat.
Six persons – Abdulkabir Adekunle Akinlade (Ogun West); Senator Gbenga Kaka (Ogun East); Otunba Bimbo Ashiru (Ogun East); Prince Dapo Abiodun (Ogun East); Jimi Lawal (Ogun East) and Abayomi Hunye (Ogun West), are in a keen battle for the APC governorship ticket.
The state publicity secretary, Mr. Woke Elegbede had insisted, yesterday, that the primary would hold on saying, “kindly disregard the rumours that the Ogun APC governorship direct primary is not holding today (yesterday).
“In view of the above, we urge all our loyal and dedicated members to mobilise fully for a free, fair and successful governorship primary today as planned,” Elegbede stated.
His stance was, however, contradicted by the state chairman, Derin Adebiyi, who in a statement said: “This is to notify all party faithful and stakeholders that the Governorship Primaries originally scheduled for today (Sunday) has been postponed.
“Further announcement will be made upon receipt of firm clarification from the National Headquarters of APC.”
The APC primary in Delta State was mired by controversy and intrigues. There were reports of some of the aspirants from Delta North planning to produce a consensus aspirant to fight off Chief Great Ogboru. Accreditation was ongoing at press time last night.
However, one of the aspirants, Prof Pat Utomi, frowned at the process.
Utomi, who addressed newsmen in Asaba after a meeting with General Onoja (rtd), which was attended by all the Governorship aspirants with former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Minister of Petroleum for State, Mr Ibe Kachukwu in attendance, said the delegates’ list was not displayed as required.
According to him, Mr Ibe Kachukwu and all the other aspirants except Chief Great Ogboru called for the postponement of the primary election to allow for the right thing to be done.
While describing the process as illegitimate, Utomi said going into the primary election without seeing the list of delegates was like a blind man going into a relay race.
Fighting stalled the governorship primary in Enugu State following the disruption by agents aligned to one of the aspirants.
Police subsequently arrested and released one of the aspirants, Mr. George Ogara.
Ogara was subsequently banned from entering the gate of the University of Nigeria, Enugu campus, UNEC stadium, venue of the primary.
The process was ongoing at press time last night.
IT was twisted yesterday with governorship primaries for the APC, in Rivers State as Sen Magnus Abe and Tonye Cole gained predictable victories in parallel exercises.
Accredited delegates of Rivers APC chaired by Ojukaye Flag Amachree and led by Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi elected Tonye Cole, the party leader’s choice as candidate in an indirect primary held in Port Harcourt.
In a separate exercise, the Sent Abe led faction of the Rivers APC held direct primaries across all 23 local government in the state with Abe emerging the overwhelming winner.
Cross River: Anger as materials disappear
Hundreds of angry members of the APC in Cross River State, yesterday protested the non-conduct of the party’s governorship primaries following the disappearance of the election materials and members of the electoral committee assigned to conduct the election In the state
Elder David Okon the leader of the party in the southern district of the state, and two governorship aspirants, namely, Professor Eyo Etim Nyong and Chief Edem Duke who addressed the protesting members called on the national Chairman of the party to ensure that the name of the party is not dragged in the mud.
Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello emerged as the APC, standard bearer at the primary election conducted across the 274 wards of the state where he stood as the only aspirant.
Party members trooped out in large numbers as early as 8am in their ward’s designated centres to participate in the direct primary option adopted by the state for the emergence of party’s candidates for all elective offices in the state.
The returning officer for Kontagora Central Ward, Alhaji Lawal Abdullahi Madsngen after the exercise disclosed that out of the 1,354 accredited members, 1, 198 that turned up voted unanimously for Gov. Sani-Bello.
The APC governorship primary in Akwa Ibom was marred by late arrival of materials for the exercise.
The party’s faithful had to wait in the scorching sun till evening at their respective wards for the materials which came rather late.
The contest in the state is between Obong Nsima Ekere, former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); Dan Abia, former Managing Director of NDDC; Senator Akpan Udoedehe and Engr. Edet Efretuei.
Our reporters, who monitored the distribution of materials at the Ikot Ekpene Road office of the party, reported that the first batch of materials meant for far-flung councils were driven out of the premises by 3.00pm, while the last set apparently meant for Uyo and nearby local governments were issued at about 4.26 pm.
‘’The materials for the Oron federal constituency arrived barely 4.00pm and ‘we are about to start the process’, a party stalwart told Vanguard on phone.
The situation was tense at the state secretariat of the party yesterday as security operatives were deployed in large numbers to beef up security.
However, a policeman attached to Etim Ekpo Command allegedly shot and killed an APC operative who was trying to board the Police vehicle ferrying the materials to his local government area.
Eyewitness account averred that the policeman identified as a Sergeant had told the deceased to come down from the vehicle which conveyed the materials, but he had refused which prompted the policeman to pull the trigger and the bullet hit him in the pelvic region.
According to the eyewitness, ‘’the Police vehicle immediately sped off leaving him in his pool of blood and people had to flag down a tricycle (keke) which took him away but he was already dead.”