Crash of the titans: How aspirations of political heavyweights bit the dust at party primaries

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The just concluded party primary elections of the major political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) produced surprises, as some political Lilliputians trounced many political giants, reducing them to featherweights.

Adamawa

Political pundits would have found it herculean believing that Senator Aishatu Binani could defeat a former presidential aspirant, and ex-Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, and also former Governor Umaru Jubrilla Bindo to pick the APC governorship ticket of the state.

With this victory, Senator Binani, representing Adamawa Central has become the first woman to win the governorship nomination of a major political party in the state. Others in the contest were a serving member of the House of Representatives, Abdulrazak Namdas, Wafari Theman and Umar Mustapha Utumba.

Binani scored 430 votes to defeat her closest rival, Ribadu, who got 288 votes, while the former Governor Bindo had 103 votes to clinch the third position.

Katsina

Out of the nine aspirants who contested the recent Katsina State APC governorship primaries, the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Muhammad Mustapha Inuwa, apparently stood out as the most likely contender to emerge winner.

With an intimidating politics background – founding member and pioneer state chairman of the party under whose tenure Governor Aminu Bello Masari was first elected in 2015; Chairman, Masari re-election Campaign Council in 2019, SSG for almost eight years – among other positions, Inuwa crashed at the polls. He lost the bid to the immediate past Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) Director-General, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, a political neophyte.  Radda polled a total 506 votes of delegates from across the 34 local government areas, while Inuwa tagged behind with 442 votes. Not even the incumbent deputy governor, Mannir Yakubu, with his paltry 65 votes, could match Radda.

Akwa Ibom

 

Amid intrigues and power play, Mr. Akan Udofia won the governorship primary of the APC in Akwa Ibom State. Udofia, who recently defected from PDP to the APC to pursue his governorship ambition, was declared the APC flag bearer. He polled 1,227 votes to beat seven other contestants, including the immediate past Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang, who scored 34 votes. Others were Professor Chris Ekong, 21; Uduak Udoh, seven; Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, two; Richard Anana, two; Larry Esin, one and Augustine Utuk, zero.

Lagos

Former Lagos deputy governor, Dr. Idiat Adebule, defeated former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and former Lagos State Commissioner for Transport, Kayode Opeifa to clinch the Lagos West Senatorial District ticket.

Dr. Adebule polled 424 votes to defeat Obanikoro, her closest challenger, who scored 119, and Opeifa, who recorded four votes. Ten votes were voided.

 

Imo

Imo witnessed a lot of upsets. A 73 – year old new entrant, Aloy Igwe defeated Kingsley Onyegbule, the anointed aspirant of Jerry Alagboso, to clinch the ticket for Orsu/Orlu/Oru East Federal Constituency on the platform of PDP. Also, another new entrant, Chibuzo Agulanna of the PDP defeated Bede Ekeh, two-time House member, representing Ngor Okpala/Aboh Mbaise Constituency.

Similarly, Osmond Ukanacho, also of PDP defeated a two time serving House of Representatives member, Henry Nwawuba for Ikeduru/ Mbaitoli Federal Constituency.  Although Uche Onyeagucha has been at the lower chamber of the National Assembly representing Owerri, this time, he squared up with the incumbent senator for Imo East, Ezenwa Onyewuchi and defeated him to clinch the ticket in PDP.

Kwara

 

The senatorial battle for Kwara Central saw Alhaji Salihu Mustapha defeating the incumbent, Dr. Yahya Oloriegbe. Also, nearly half of the current House of Assembly members failed to be re-elected to return to the House.

Edo

In Edo State, the just concluded APC primary election for Edo South Senatorial District produced an upset with a David defeating a Goliath. Former South-South APC Youth Leader and businessman, Valentine Asuen, floored former deputy governor of the state, Lucky Imasuen.

Asuen scored 216 votes against Imasuen’s 158 votes to emerge victorious as Edo South Senatorial flag bearer. Similarly, in the Governor Obaseki-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), an underdog and former Majority Leader of the State House of Assembly, Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, also defeated incumbent Senator, Matthew Urhoghide to emerge flag bearer.

 

Rivers

In the case of the PDP, nobody in Rivers State knew Siminialayi Fubara, who emerged the governorship candidate. He is the choice of the state governor, Nyesom Wike, and invariably the party.  Felix Obuah, Austin Opara, Tele Ikuru and many others saw the defeat coming and then withdrew. 

Delta

The story of Mr. Ossai Nicholas Ossai losing his return ticket to the House of Representatives perhaps headlined the just concluded party primaries in Delta State. He is a third term federal lawmaker representing Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal Constituency of Delta State on the platform of PDP.  The veteran politician cum pastor lost to a political neophyte, Nnamdi Ezechi at the primary conducted on Sunday, May 22. Ossai scored 24 votes, while Ezechi polled 44 votes to win the ticket.

Nasarawa

The emergence of the present National Chairman of the APC Abdullahi Adamu, who is from Nasarawa, changed some of the political calculations in the state.

APC stakeholders and caucuses who were seen to be the strong heavyweights of the party could not scale through the primary elections of the party in the House of Representatives, Senate and state House of Assembly, as a result of carefully calculated decisions taking by the party, which did not favour them.

The latest is the defeat of the present serving senator, Godya Akwashiki, who is the Senate Committee Chairman on Labour and Productivity, by a lightweight politician, Halilu Evuluanza for Nasarawa North Senatorial District.  In the same vein, Hon. Ahmed Wadada backed out of the contest in Nasarawa West for fear of losing the primary to an unpopular politician.

For the Nasarawa South Senatorial District, APC heavyweight, seating House of Representative member, Hon. Abubakar Sarki Dahiru and also a one time House of Representatives member, who recently defected to APC from the PDP, Hon. Joseph Kigbu both lost to a featherweight politician, Muhammed Almakura, the nephew of the former governor, Tanko Almakura. While in the Nasarawa West, Hon. Jonathan Gaza, a seating House member in the Nasarawa withdrew from the contest, which gave room for Auta Koro, an unpopular politician to win the primaries as the only aspirant.

In the state House of Assembly, a lot of drama unfolded as the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Tanko Tunga was knocked out of the primaries by a journalist, Hudu A Hudu, who resigned few weeks to the primary election in Awe North LGA, while in the Nasarawa Eggon Constituency, the most ranking member of the state House of Assembly Hon. Muhammed Agah Muluku lost to a lightweight politician, who recently defected to APC, Hon. Jacob Ajegana.

Kebbi

In Kebbi State, some big politicians lost out to new faces in their part primaries. The Senate Leader, Dr. Abdullahi Yahyah got zero votes and lost to NUT National President, Dr. Nasir Idris for the APC governorship primary.

General Aminu Bande defeated former Minister of Sports, Alhaji Samaila Sambawa, Ibrahim Manga, Alhaji Buhari Bala and Alhaji Haruna Ibrahim to clinch PDP gubernatorial ticket.

 

Anambra

In Anambra, the member representing Anaocha/Njikoka/Dunukofia Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Chief Dozie Nwankwo, defeated the former National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Senator Victor Umeh, to clinch the party’s ticket for Anambra Central Senatorial District. Nwankwo got 162 votes, while Umeh, a former senator for the zone, gathered 152 votes.  Uzu Okagbue, former aide to ex-Governor Willie Obiano, got11 votes.

Nwankwo, in a chat with journalists shortly after he was announced the winner, said that he never believed that he could defeat Senator Umeh in the contest.

Abia

In Abia State, the main battles were in the APC and PDP, where some prominent politicians in both parties were schemed out of the primaries.

 

In the PDP, the former Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe and the deputy governor of the state, Ude Oko Chukwu were in the race. But when it became clear to them that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu -backed less known political figure, Professor Uche Ikonne would defeat them at the primaries, they withdrew. Abaribe later joined the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), to contest the Abia South Senatorial seat against Ikpeazu. The same card played out in APC. When Dr. Alex Otti noticed that the national body of the party skewed the primaries to favour Chief Ikechi Emenike, he withdrew and joined Labour Party from where he intends to contest the 2023 governorship election.

Ekiti

In Ekiti State the just concluded state Assembly, House of Representatives and Senatorial District primary elections of the APC were full of surprises.  Some of the aspirants who were believed to have had the backing of the governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and other political heavyweights in the state lost their bids to their co- contestants in the primary elections.

In Ekiti South West Constituency 1, Mrs. Yemisi Ayokunle, the chairman, House Committee on Information in the state Assembly lost a return ticket, as Mr. Tony Adaramodu, a less fanciful politician defeated her.

A serving House of Representatives member, Ibrahim Olanrewaju representing Ekiti North Federal Constituency 2, was trounced by a businessman and oil dealer, Mr. Akinlayo Kolawole, while the Senior Special Assistant on Strategic Communications to Governor Fayemi, Mr. Akin Rotimi, won the ticket for Ekiti North Federal Constituency 1, defeating a serving federal lawmaker, Hon Peter Owolabi.

Also, a serving federal lawmaker, Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi, representing Ekiti North Senatorial District, lost a return ticket to Mr. Cyril Fasuyi, the director general of Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji (BAO) Campaign Organisation.

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