The Governors of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi, Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa and Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade have been returned unopposed as the sole gubernatorial candidate during the primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, got a landslide endorsement by 3,345 delegates who voted for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) guber candidate for 2019 elections.
Though Wike is the sole candidate of the party in next year’s elections, the guber delegate primaries held at the man bowl of the Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre, Port Harcourt, however, confirmed him as the most popular candidate by the party in Rivers State.
Out of the 3,490 delegates that were accredited for the elections, only nine votes were voided, while 3,354 voted for the second term bid of the governor.
In his acceptance speech, Wike said the endorsement was an indication that the people had great confidence in what his administration has so far achieved.
He pledged not to abuse the confidence reposed in him as he promised for greater future for Rivers State and its citizens.
Wike declared that, “I will be ready from day one to work with everybody and with my soul to make Rivers State better than the past”.
The governor reminded the people that his experience there three and half years prepares him better than any candidate for the office of the governor, “I ‘am not coming to learn from the job. I am not new in governance”.
As far as he’s concerned, the business of transforming the state was ongoing, as the NEW Vision would be more consolidated if given the opportunity for a second tenure.
Meanwhile, the governor has adopted his deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo as a running mate for 2019.
Wike told thousand of PDP delegates who participated in the state guber primaries that, “having consulted widely I am still running with my deputy governor”.
In 2015, Wike broke the gender jinx, when he for the first time took a woman as a running mate.
Harry-Banigo, thereafter, became the first female deputy governor of the state.
Consequently, some PDP stalwart have hailed the, decision by the PDP in Rivers State to adopt Wike for a second term.
Member representing Opobo/Nkoro State Constituency, Hon. Adonye Diri told newsmen that Wike was the best option for Rivers State considering the numerous projects he has done all over the State.
“There is no person challenging him because he has shown us that he is capable. So, we are asking him to go again”, Diri remarked.
Former CTC Chairman of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, Sir Boma Brown was of the view that Wike was the only candidate that can withstand the opposition in the State.
“Even under pressure Wike has been able to deliver projects. If you look at the governors in opposition Wike stands out. He is our best bet for now”, Brown said.
Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area, and former Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Hon. Samuel Nwanosike said Wike was not tribalistic.
“There is no part you will go in Rivers State you will not see project sited or completed”, Nwanosike said.
“In Rivers State we have passed the issue of ethnicity or upland or riverine. We need somebody that can harness the resources for the good of everybody”.
In Ebonyi, the primaries, which took place at the Pa Ngele Oruta township stadium, was conducted amid tight security.
Umahi was declared winner following the absence of any other contestant which meant he contested unchallenged.
The chairman of the electoral panel, Senator Joy Emordi said that Governor Umahi polled a total of 1988 votes.
She said despite that Umahi was a sole aspirant for the position, a situation that would have necessitated voice votes, the decision to go into normal election was based on the party’s internal democracy to enable the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to monitor the proceedings.
Emordi described the exercise as very orderly, peaceful and organized and commended Governor Umahi for his developmental strides and expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the congress.
Speaking shortly after he was declared the winner of the PDP primary election, Umahi said he was humbled by the show of solidarity and commitment of the members of PDP and Ebonyi people in general which he said had enabled him to achieve monumental developments in the state within three years in office.
Umahi said the party flag given to him to run on its platform for the next four years as governor was a call to serve and do more work, adding that his second term will a period to do more work and consolidate on already achieved development.
He thanked the leadership of the party at all levels for providing a level playing field for all aspirants to contest in all the positions.
Umahi further stated that he is retaining his deputy governor, Barr. Eric Kelechi Igwe as his running mate in the 2019 general election.
“We are not ungrateful that the party, PDP, in the state allowed us to run alone. In other states, sitting governors are not allowed to run unchallenged but for us here, you allowed me to run alone. Indeed, I am grateful to PDP,” he stated.
The Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa also emerged as the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), promising that his second tenure would be better.
Chairman of the PDP gubernatorial primary elections in Delta State, Mrs Uzo Nwandu declared Okowa winner of the primaries held, yesterday in Asaba, stating that out of the 3, 278 accredited delegates from different local government areas of the state, 26 invalid votes were counted, while 3, 252 votes went to Okowa.
It could be recalled that Okowa was the only member of the PDP who picked the gubernatorial form and was successfully screened in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to participate in the primary election.
“During the 2015 elections you will recall that promises were made and we have continued to do the best that we can despite the very challenging times to ensure that we met with the promises but one good thing that Deltans have done is that they have continued to pray for us and partner with us in governance and I must say that I am very grateful to all Deltans particularly our leaders, our youths and our women; I thank you all for all that you have done to ensure that we have a peaceful state because without peace, we cannot develop.”
Okowa, who at the occasion announced that his Deputy, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro would be his running mate for the second term, continued, “the PDP in Delta is a family and we are very proud of this family and because we realize that we are a family, PDP has insisted that there will be equitable process where there is justice and fairness; because we are one family the PDP endorsed my candidacy in 2014 and I went through by the special grace of God during the elections and we won; today in your belief for equity, justice and fairness, the party has returned me unopposed as its candidate; I am very grateful and I thank you for being a party that reasons that we can only be a family when there is equity and fairness.”
The governor added, “I want to assure you that we will continue to remain strong under the leadership of our leader, Chief James Ibori; this party will remain focused, this party will be about Delta, we shall continue to ensure that we are strengthened enough to be recognized very strongly in national politics; there is no need to be afraid, there is no need to shake, when something happened in some states, people send text messages but, we have come as always in the name of God and because God is with us, there is nobody that can be against us.
“We are strong and we will continue to remain strong, we will go forth into the elections and we will win landslide; I am proud because I have each and every one of you, our God that was with us in 2015 is with us, so there is no cause for alarm, we must go out there to talk to the people, we must go as one united family, we must go carrying everyone along and I believe that this is the principle of our party, and even when we go into the congresses on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to elect candidates for the Senate, House of Representatives, and House of Assembly, let us go through these elections with brotherly and sisterly love, let us conduct it in peace,” he admonished.
Okowa, who was elated at the peaceful conduct of the primary elections emphasized, “I have spoken with our party chairman and I know that there will be a free and fair primaries and the results will also be free and fair and by the grace of God, I appeal to each and every one of us even when you lose in the ballot you have not lost everything because you belong to one united family.”
Former Governor of the state, Chief James Ibori, who addressed the delegates before the commencement of voting, charged Deltans to queue behind Okowa in the 2019 polls.
Former Deputy Governor, Chief Benjamin Elue, Senator Stella Omu, PDP Chairman in the state, Barrister Kingsley Esiso, among others, who spoke at the event, expressed confidence that the PDP would emerge victorious in the 2019 general elections as the state remains the stronghold of the party.
Also, Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade, yesterday, emerged the governorship candidate of PDP for the 2019 elections through affirmation by delegates at the party’s primary election.
Ayade was announced as the candidate by the PDP panel Chairman, Mr Olorogun Tebite, who conducted the primaries.
Tebite said that Ayade was the only aspirant of the party in the state and explained that the delegates had to vote in order to complete due process in line with the electoral law.
He commended the delegates for their orderly behaviour during the primaries.
Responding after his election, Ayade thanked delegates from across the 18 local government areas and said that his endorsement was an evidence of his good works in the state.
“If given the second term mandate I would do more in the areas of industrialization and job creation. “I urge you all to vote PDP in 2019 election at all levels to ensure continuity in governance,” he said.
Kevin Nengia with Agency Reports
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