As the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) begins its primaries to choose its candidates for the National Assembly elections, an intense power play, intrigues and upsets have forced two frontline governors to abandon their senatorial ambitions.

Barely 48 hours to the party’s senatorial primaries, governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan and his Enugu State counterpart, Sullivan Chime, lost in the power tussle in the state as they declared their withdrawal from the party’s senatorial primaries.

Gov. Uduaghan and Chime

Gov. Uduaghan and Chime

While Uduaghan intended to unseat Senator James Manager in the tussle for Delta South Senatorial District, Chime was up against the deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, in the race for Enugu West Senatorial District.

While the House of Representatives primaries of the party hold today, the senatorial primaries are scheduled for tomorrow.

Explaining why he withdrew from the Delta South Senatorial race, Uduaghan beaming with smiles said he resolved to withdraw from the race in the interest of peace and tranquillity, noting that he considered the fragile peace currently in the state.

The announcement which took Deltans by surprise came against reports that some youth groups allegedly from the Ijaw ethnic nationality, had purportedly threatened to make the state ungovernable.

Sources from the state said that the alleged youth had also written several letters to the governor, warning him to drop his senatorial ambition.

However, the governor said, “I decided to withdraw from the race having received several security reports indicating danger and trouble for the state. I do not want a repeat of Ijaw and Itsekiri crisis; I do hope the peace will be sustained.”

On his part, the Enugu State governor who has been at loggerheads with Sen Ekweremadu withdrew from the contest saying he did so in the interest of the party.

The chief press secretary to the governor, Barr Chukwudi Achife, who confirmed this development in a telephone interview said, the governor jettisoned his ambition to dislodge the current senator representing the Enugu West Senatorial District, Ike Ekweremadu “in the interest of the party”.

According to Achife, the governor in taking the decision not to run said that the “interest of the party overrides the interest of any politician or group.”

In a related development, the political landscape in Enugu had been overheated in the past few weeks following Chime’s earlier decision to contest the senatorial seat of Enugu West Senatorial Zone.

This development had led to the factionalisation of the state chapter of the PDP into the Chime and Ekweremadu camps with each camp employing both conventional and unconventional means to stay on top of the struggle for supremacy.

LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that Governor Chime agreed to step down for Sen Ekweremadu after he was assured by the national leadership of the party that he would be allowed to produce his successor.

Governor Chime had earlier announced Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as his successor, a development which rankled Sen Ayogu Eze, who currently represents Enugu North Senatorial Zone at the Senate.

Senator Eze is also angling to succeed Governor Chime but following Governor Chime’s decision to pull out of the race on the ground that he would be allowed to produce his successor, it is doubtful whether Senator Eze would make it at the governorship primaries.

It would be recalled that the camp loyal to Sen Ekweremadu had produced all the delegates during the November 1 ward congress held in the state.

Besides Uduaghan and Chime, other governors angling for senatorial seats are Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Babangida Aliyu (Niger) Jonah Jang (Plateau), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) and Theodore Orji (Abia).

Adamawa PDP Primaries Hold In Abuja

The PDP has relocated the conduct of Adamawa State primaries to Abuja in a move that intends to decimate the influence of the state governor, James Nggilari, on the outcome of the primaries.

The primaries will however hold tomorrow, December 7.

A statement by national publicity secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, said “the NWC announced that all primaries for Adamawa State will now be conducted in Abuja beginning from Sunday, December 7, 2014.”

While the party did not disclose why it relocated the venue of the primaries, it was learnt that the decision was to check a repeat of the scenario that played out during the House of Assembly primaries in the state where the governor was accused of interfering with the process.

Controversy had trailed the primaries of the Adamawa State House of Assembly as the electoral panel accused forces loyal to the governor of making them sign results from primaries under duress.

The panel led by Amb Tim Ihemadu in a petition to the leadership of the party alleged that they were “constantly threatened, abused, harassed and even physically molested by thugs.”

The panel added that they were held under house arrest from Saturday to Monday by the suspended PDP state chairman, suspended PDP state secretary and the state PDP organising secretary who forced them to sign already written results from all the local governments of the state.

They said, “the so-called election was conducted in an aspirant’s premises using a delegate list not known to the national secretariat of our party and supervised by a chairman and secretary under suspension by the party. This illegality should also be noted and addressed.

“The election Committee was completely isolated from the so-called process and the materials used where obtained under duress and by threats to our lives and safety from thugs and high government officials alike. The safety of the party committee posted to Adamawa State to be considered henceforth.”

However, the Adamawa State organising secretary of the party, Alh Abdullahi Adamu, who led the team that accompanied Amb Ihemadu to Abuja, said they accompanied the panel to Abuja because they suspected a plot to change the result from the state.

“We escorted the result sheets to the national secretariat to avoid any form of manipulation and the collating officers have certified that the results we came in with are authentic,” he said.

Nggilari, Cajoles 678 Party Delegates With Appointment As Aides

Faced with a tight race for the PDP ticket for the Adamawa governorship, the state governor, Bala Nggilari, met with delegates yesterday promising them incentives in a bid to have them elect him as the party’s flag-bearer in Monday’s primary election.

Some of the delegates who were part of the meeting described how Nggilari begged the delegates for votes with a pledge to go along with them throughout his tenure.

“The man has just announced that he is appointing all of us as special assistants on N50,000 salary, monthly. He said this will run for the entire tenure of four years,” one of the delegates alleged.

Another delegate said they are all being issued with a data form for entry into the government payroll. “We’re filling out the forms right now”.

If Mr Nggilari abides by his words to the delegates, the government will be lavishing N33.9 million every month on the 678 delegates, he said.

Nggilari who was impeached alongside the then governor, Murtala Nyako, had his impeachment reversed by a Federal High Court in Abuja in October.

He has since declared to vie for his party’s nomination for the governorship ticket against a pact earlier reached in September (though before his assumption of office) zoning the position to the Adamawa Central zone.

He is however facing stiff opposition from other aspirants including the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu and the former executive secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Ahmed Modibbo.

In his reaction, the chief press secretary to the governor, Mr Maxwell Duku confirmed the development, adding that the governor has promised all the delegates special assistant (SA) positions regardless of whether they will vote him or not. “Being party members, the governor deemed it fit to appoint them as SA’s regardless of whether they will vote him or not,” Duku said.

PDP Leadership Meets Yobe, Borno Stakeholders In Abuja

Similarly, the leadership of the PDP will meet with stakeholders of the party in Borno and Yobe states today in Abuja. Primaries for the National Assembly election will not hold in the states largely because of the security situation in the states.

The PDP said, “in preparations for the 2015 general elections, the national working committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has invited all major stakeholders in Borno and Yobe states to a crucial meeting at the national secretariat in Abuja on Saturday, December 6, 2014.

“While stakeholders from Borno State are to meet with the NWC at 12 noon, those from Yobe will meet with the party leadership at 2pm on the same day.”

The party leadership also announced that the Anambra National Assembly primaries earlier scheduled for today has been postponed. However, it did not announce a new date for the postponed primaries.

Primaries may not hold in Taraba, Borno, Yobe, Ogun, Oyo

While the primaries into the National Assembly are expected to hold in 32 states, it may not hold in Taraba, Yobe, Ogun, Oyo and Borno.

The party leadership was locked in the meeting yesterday evening as they tried to resolve and fix dates for the states before the national convention billed for December 10 and 11.

A reliable source told LEADERSHIP Weekend that the NWC met to sort out the grey areas in order to ensure that they fix dates and find a solution to the issues affecting the states.

The source said, “The party leadership has to resolve the issues in the states so that a new date can be fixed for primaries in those states preferably before the December 10 and 11 national convention of our party.”