The hopes of Magnus Abe, Usani Uguru and Pat Utomi to become Governors of Rivers, Cross River and Delta States on the platform of the ruling Progressives Congress, APC have been dashed as Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC closed substitution of candidates for Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections Saturday.
Abe, Uguru and Utomi emerged Governorship candidates for Rivers, Cross River, Ogun and Delta States via parallel primary elections conducted by different factions of APC but the party has submitted the names of their rivals to INEC.
Similarly, pending the outcome of ongoing legal fireworks,APC candidates for Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections in Zamfara rejected by INEC for failure of the party to comply with the time table for conducting primary elections have their ambitions terminated.
According to the time table and schedule of activities for the conduct of the 2019 general elections released earlier this year by INEC, Saturday, December 1, was the final day for the withdrawal/ substitution of Governorship and State Houses of Assembly candidates.
Business Day gathered that at the end of the substitution window, none of these candidates has been substituted for those APC had earlier submitted to INEC.
The results of primaries from these States showed that in Rivers, parallel exercises were conducted in which Abe, Senator representing Rivers South East Constituency emerged as Governorship Candidate with Tonye Cole of Rotimi Amaechi faction but the Adams Oshiomhole led National Working Committee of APC submitted the name of Cole to the umpire body.
In Cross River too, parallel exercises were held and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Uguru and John Enoh, Senator for Cross River Central emerged as Governorship candidates but APC recognized and forwarded the name of Enoh to INEC.
Also, in Ogun State, Governor Ibikunle Amosun faction selected Adekunle Akinlade as Governorship candidate through a consensus primary election while Abiodum Dapo was elected through direct primaries and was considered by APC National Secretariat and his has been name sent to Electoral body.
In the same vein, Pat Utomi and Great Ogboru won the parallel Governorship primaries in Delta but APC picked Ogboru and forwarded his name to INEC as its Governorship candidate.
For Imo State, two Governorship primaries were conducted producing Hope Uzodinma, the Imo West Senator and Nwosu, Chief of Staff and Son – in – Law to Governor Rochas Okorocha, however, the leadership of APC upheld the exercise that brought Uzodinma and accordingly submitted his name to INEC.
Unlike Abe, Uguru and Utomi, Nwosu and Akinlade have dumped APC and joined other political parties to further pursue their Governorship ambitions.
Three Days to the final date for the replacement of candidates, Nwosu defected to the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP shortly after his father – in – law, Okorocha declared to support him if he joins another party to pursue his guber ambition, and it was gathered that DPP has forwarded the name of Nwosu to INEC as its Governorship candidate.
Okorocha had told newsmen penultimate to Nwosu purported defection that, “what happened in Imo was a clear case of injustice, where Uche Nwosu won the primary and was robbed of the ticket. This injustice must be addressed. However, in spite of the fact that my aides are leaving the party, I am still a member of APC and will not leave the party”.
According to him, “as a father of Imo state, I still remain in the best position to select the best among Emeka Ihedioha, Hope Uzodimma, Ifeanyi Araraume and Uche Nwosu who is the best among all of them. Nwosu believes in Imo state, he has investment in the state. Nwosu is my candidate. Any party that these young men want to go they are free and I want say it again that Nwosu is my candidate”.
On his part, Akinlade had less than a day to the Saturday deadline of substitution along side four members of the Ogun State House of Assembly defected from APC to the Allied Peoples Movement, APM and is already flying the party’s ticket for 2019 Osun governorship election.
Also, in Zamfara where a High Court had issued an order stopping INEC and APC from disqualifying candidates from contesting in the 2019 general elections, no candidate of the party has been featured for any election at the close of substitution of candidates.
James Kwen, Abuja