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Atiku considers Soludo, Adesina, Peter Obi, Ekweremadu as running mate

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The Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has begun earnest search for his running mate as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deadline for the submission of names of parties’ candidate expires on Monday.

By the 1999 Constitution as amended and the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, no candidature is complete without a running mate. Sources within the Atiku camp said at least three technocrats and two politicians have been penciled down for the position.

The technocrats are, former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Charles Soludo; former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina; and former Managing Director of Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), Chike Obi.

The politicians being considered for the number two position are, former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, and the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

According to a source, the candidate and the PDP hierarchy are still undecided on the zone the position should be allotted, but said the scope had been narrowed down to the South-west and the South-east.

“We would have to weigh the electoral value of both zones and decide where we would allot it,” the source said, explaining that there was the need to maintain a balance between the existing political configuration, which requires the party to challenge the dominance of the APC in the high voting South-west by picking a running mate that would challenge the electoral advantage of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; and the need to retain the loyalty of the South-east that had remained a PDP stronghold.

Both zones were believed to have helped Atiku to neutralise the Northern zones’ delegates’ votes that went to Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal during the presidential primary on Saturday.

Apart from zoning, Atiku is also said to be considering age and knowledge of the economy and economics as two major criterions for the selection of the running mate.

According to a source, the presidential candidate thinks his running mate has to be a much younger person as a strategy to appeal to the army of youths, which is already up in arms against the old brigade.

Atiku is, however, said to be insisting that such a young man must also have deep knowledge of the economy as his focus is on the revival of the economy to create jobs for the teaming unemployed population.

“His challenge, therefore, is how to strike the balance between getting a youthful running mate and an economy savvy candidate. Both must be rolled into one,” a source said.

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POLITICS

Emeka Ihedioha wins Imo governorship election

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Former Deputy Speaker and governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Emeka Ihedioha has been declared the winner of the keenly contested Imo State governorship election by the State Returning Officer, Prof. Francis Otunta.

Ihedioha polled a total number of 273404 to defeat his closest rival and candidate of the Action Alliance (AA), Uche Nwosu.

The candidates of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and All Progressives Congress (APC), Ifeanyi Araraume and Hope Uzodinma scored 114676 and 96458 votes respectively.

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Delta Elections: We’re optimistic that APC will win – Uduaghan

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Former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and APC Delta South Senatorial Candidate in the February 23 elections, says he cannot give verdict for the ongoing governorship and State Assembly elections in Delta State.

Uduaghan who spoke after casting his vote at Abigborodo, Warri North LGA, however expressed optimism that his party would carry the day at the end of voting and collation of vote cast.

Speaking, he said, “About two days, they (INEC officials) started sending out the materials to the various local government councils and by yesterday, the materials would have been at the RAC (Registration Area Centres) and Abigborodo is a centre.

“But I think my party in Warri North protested. Based on our security experience, if you take the materials a day before the voting to any of the riverine areas, it is a very risky business because people can go there at night and vandalise them. So, I think the party protested and INEC evaluated. So, it was this morning that they (INEC officials) left Koko but it was much earlier than the last time.

“I will not be surprised in the case of Sapele because you know that in the last exercise, there were some skirmishes and people died. So, I think the security is tighter in these elections because of what happened in the previous elections.

“The security agencies usually evaluate what is on ground based on information and, of course, intelligence report. So, maybe the security arrangement, this time, was because of previous experience, currently information and intelligence report, which I don’t know.

“We are optimistic. Let us get the results first; let me get the reports first because I don’t know what is happening in other areas. I don’t know whether people are behaving, misbehaving or there is a security challenge. So, it is difficult for me to just give a verdict.”.

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Oyo guber: Gov. Ajimobi loses polling unit to PDP

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Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State on Saturday lost his polling unit to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in today’s gubernatorial election.

He was accompanied to the poling unit close to his Oluyole residence, by his wife, Florence.

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