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Senate 2019: Projections favour APC’s Uduaghan in Delta South

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Uduaghan plans for Delta South in the senate

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the 2019 general elections will kick off with the Presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday, 16th February 2019. As it stands in Delta South Senatorial District, the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate representing the district, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan is the most favoured to win the seat at the expense of his opponents.

A lot of factors are currently working in his favour, chief among them being the popularity he earned while in the saddle as the governor of Delta State. Emmanuel Uduaghan who is the immediate-past executive governor of the state has so far garnered over 50 endorsements from eminent political groups in and around the senatorial district. This is unprecedented in Delta South and probably one of the biggest electoral boosts for the politician, stemming from his sterling qualities and achievements while in office as the governor. Investigations show that ifone counts every infrastructure dotted all over the state, a greater percentage of them would definitely bear his fingerprint of approval.

The people of Delta South Senatorial District are also disenchanted with Uduaghan’s closest rival who incidentally is the incumbent senator representing the zone.  By May 2019 Senator James Manager would have spent 16 years in the red chamber. Those spoken to said they were tired of his representation, and that they have not absolutely felt much impact of the senator, who would have served out four terms as a senator but is nevertheless vying for the position once again on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Uduaghan’s vision and plans for Delta South which indirectly touch the Niger Delta region seem to have endeared him the more to the electorates. Aside from him, no other aspirant has been able to tell the people their plans, just as he continues to run issue-based campaign, laying out achievable programmes for the people of Delta South. In his words, he is on the race to offer his people quality and effective representation that will put smile on their faces if given the mandate in 2019.

While adopting Dr Uduaghan as its preferred choice for the senate seat, one of the groups, the National Association of Itsekiri Graduates (NAIG) had asserted: “Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan with his wealth of experience as the immediate-past governor of Delta State will bring his experience to bear on his job as the senator representing Delta South Senatorial District.

“He is the most respected of all the candidates, he is a planner and strategist, he is development-oriented and that is what Delta South Senatorial District wants; besides that he cares for the downtrodden.”

Ijaw Liberation Movement (ILM) had supported the claim. According to the group, “We followed Dr. Uduaghan’s painstaking effort to develop our area, nay the whole state, while he was governor of Delta State. We are also aware that he stepped down for our son to continue a few years ago, so he is the most suitable person for the job now.”

Dr. Uduaghan is Itsekiri, and for the 2019 elections, that is a plus. Since 1999, no Itsekiri has occupied that position. In the interest of equity and fair play, his ethnic stock places him better in the hearts of the people of the three major ethnic groups making up Delta South which include Ijaw, Itsekiri and Isoko. The last time an Itsekiri man occupied the senate seat was in 1979; that is about 40 years ago. From 1979 till the current dispensation, five senators have represented Delta South Senatorial District. Out of these five, two were from Isoko (Senator Stella Omu and Senator Francis Okpozo of blessed memory) and another two were from the Ijaw tribe (Chief E.K Clark and Senator James Manager, the incumbent). The first and only senator who was from the Itsekiri stock was Chief Franklin O. M  Atake in 1979.

More welcoming is the fact the political groups which pledge support for his electoral bid are spread across the three ethnic groups. Prominent among them are Ijaw Liberation Movement (ILM), Isoko Political Revolutionary Force, (IPRF) and Itsekiri Youths Vanguard.

What’s more the magnanimity displayed by Uduaghan when he withdrew from the race for Senator James Manager to continue in 2015 in order to ensure that peace reigned in the state was applauded by all and sundry who now believe the time has come for him to give a shot at the position with their full backing.

So as Nigerians look forward to the elections coming up in the next few weeks, the Delta South Senatorial District electorates are ready to roll out their drums to welcome the most perfect and fruitful senate representation in Dr. Uduaghan.

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POLITICS

Kogi 2019: Stakeholders, PDP drag Victor Adoji into guber race

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Barring any last-minute changes, top banker Dr. Victor Adoji, is expected to declare his intention to contest the November 16th governorship election in the state under the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, platform.

Adoji, the candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, for the senate seat of Kogi East Constituency, in the just concluded National Assembly elections, has been adjudged as the best chance of the PDP in the quest to wrestle power from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state.

Those who hold the position say Adoji’s campaign structure during the last election was one which can partner with the formidable PDP platform in the state to win the election against the incumbent, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Adoji had returned to the PDP family on the 21st of April 2019 with his teeming supporters, few weeks after he was robbed of the senatorial victory.

Asked whether he (Adoji) can overcome other big players in the party primaries including Senator Dino Melaye and Rear Admiral Jibrin, the stakeholders insisted that his engagement style will easily win him the PDP ticket and as well see him defeat others at the election in November.

The stakeholders say that Dr. Adoji despite being in a relatively unknown party introduced innovative and pace-setting political strategies and innovation that swept the electorate off their feet across Kogi East Senatorial zone. This they say, can grab the seat for the party if properly deployed across the state.

During the just concluded senatorial election, Adoji is said to have met all stakeholders that needed to be met. These included youth groups, farmers, teachers, traders, widows, persons with disabilities, road transport workers, okada association, CAN, bishops, imams, students, traditional rulers, the Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa communities, women groups and many associations.

He also attended 418 town hall meetings, 702 closed door meetings and 87 private meetings. The Adoji campaign train is also recorded to have sent the most innovative bulk SMS, done Robocalls, made personal calls and put up blimps and banner ​​boards (first of its kind in Kogi State) as well as run the best issue-based campaign built on a social contract with the people.

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Kogi guber 2019: Fresh crisis rocks PDP as Ibrahim Idris imposes son as candidate

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A major crisis is brewing in the Kogi State chapter of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), as concerned members are mobilizing to protest the moves by ex-governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, to impose his son, Abubakar, as the party’s candidate in the state’s governorship election slated for November.

Abubakar Idris, declared his intention to run for the office once occupied by his father  last year but it is the manner in which the party leadership in the state is being forced into adopting the ex-governor’s son that is setting the stage for a major confrontation.

PDP members in the state, still smarting from the mismanagement of the nomination process in the 2019 general elections across the state are raising alarm, warning that any attempt to impose another candidate in the coming governorship election would backfire.

Party stalwarts who spoke with our reporter on condition that they are not named accused the ex-governor of killing the PDP in Kogi State, while in office, pointing out that all the poor foundation he laid contributed to the party’s poor outing in 2015.

Some of them stated that towards the end of his second tenure, Idris popularly called ‘Ibro’ was seen extorting money from those vying to succeed him with a promise of allotting them the governorship slot, adding that he has already started playing the same game now, promising the deputy governor’s slot to those who can pay.

“Ibro as usual, has turned the deputy governorship slot into a money-making machine. The same way he did in 2010 over the governorship slot. Politicians are currently trooping in and out of his Abuja residence in their bid to lobby for the number two post. Ibro on the other hand is said to be smiling to the bank on daily basis as those he has approached for the slot are responding with bank alert,” one party stalwart, said.

The stalwarts revealed that one of the ex-governor’s plan to foist his son on the party is in the exorbitant nomination fee, which they said is already driving many good potential candidates out of the PDP into other parties.

“In the last two weeks, they have asked aspirants to pay the sum of N75 million as nomination form fee without giving any genuine reasons why aspirants are being asked to pay such ridiculous amount,” one aggrieved member told us.

According to them, the strategy is similar to the one used during the NASS/presidential election when high nomination fees were used to push our potentially good candidates in favour of Senator Attai Aidoko was later fielded.

They, however, warned that if Ibro is not checked by the national leadership of the party,  the party will fail woefully in its mandate to produce the next governor of the state, and that the error will also mark the exit of the party from the state polity.

The party stalwarts lamented that fact that a man whose records during his nine years in office can only be described as disastrous, would be allowed to dicate who would be the party’s flagbearer in the upcoming election.

How could Ibro’s son, they queried, with neither the competence, experience, a genuine manifesto, or broad appeal amongst party faithful, be expected to deliver electoral victory in November.

The ex-governor was equally accused of losing touch with reality in Kogi, pointing out that his recent interview, where he said that he had no idea of the prevailing hardship in the state, as evidence that neither he nor his son had anything good to offer.

They queried how any dynasty built by a man who is oblivious of the misery that poor leadership is producing in the state can be good for Kogites, pointing out that it was better for the PDP to realise the error of allowing am like Ibro to select a governorship candidate for the party, in order to save it from obvious defeat in November.

The party men said the way out of the defeat staring PDP in in the face was to allow the party run the selection process according to laid-down rules and regulations, rather than allow an ex-governor, who failed in his time, to impose his son.

Ibro’s tenure, ut was further pointed out, enjoyed one of the economically healthiest moments of the country, with  the price of oil relatively high, internally-generated revenue in the state receiving  as much as 150 per cent boost, but that Kogi under his watch failed miserably to record any meaningful development.

He was also accused of siphoning Kogi’s funds to build businesses for himself, family and cronies, and that his hotels spread across Abuja, Lagos and Dubai are mostly the proceeds from crime committed against the state.

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Gbajabiamila not convicted of any crime, says campaign spokesman

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Femi Gbajabiamila, majority leader of the house of representatives, was never convicted of any crime in the US, his campaign organisation has said.

A court in the federal capital territory (FCT) had asked Gbajabiamila to appear before it on Monday, the eve of the speakership contest, over a suit filed by Action Peoples Party (APP).

The party had asked the court to disqualify Gbajabiamila from the race on the grounds that he was convicted in a $25,000 fraud case.

But addressing a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, the campaign organisation led by Abdulmumin Jibrin, a lawmaker from Kano, said the speakership aspirant has also not been accused of any corruption in any country.

Jibrin described as “outright lies” claims that Gbajabiamila was once convicted in Georgia, US.

According to the lawmaker, the accusations were meant to distract Gbajabiamila from the race to become speaker of the house of representatives.

“Femi Gbajabiamila has never been convicted for any crime in the US, Nigeria or anywhere,” he said.

“He has never been accused of corruption and has no corruption case. He never committed perjury in Nigeria or any country of the world.

“He has provided clarifications and set records straight. The allegations have been tested and struck out in court. It has been stated that he is a full member of the Bar of Georgia.”

Jibrin also displayed what he said was a letter confirming Gbajabiamila’s membership of the Bar of Georgia as well as the copy of the Nigerian court judgement striking out the case.

“We further wish to state that Femi has not been served any court summons or notified by the clerk of the national assembly. The judiciary must not allow itself to be mixed in this … campaign of calumny,” he said.

The lawmaker added that the campaign organisation has so far secured the support of 60 members of lawmakers who are not in the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He said members of other opposition parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have also pledged their support for the APC consensus candidate.

He said: “Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and Hon. Ahmed Wase will be on the floor of the house to be elected speaker and deputy speaker respectively.

“We wish to reiterate that Hon. Femi will run an all inclusive house. So far, we have secured the endorsement of parts of the PDP caucus and other opposition parties consisting of about 60 members.

“Hon. Femi has had a distinguished career both in the parliament and beyond. He is a loyal Nigerian and party man. He is honest, hardworking, team player and humble.

“He has worked tirelessly to support his friends but some of them including me let him down in 2015. I have since repented and I am also calling on all others to repent as well.”

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