Winners have emerged as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) conducts its governorship primaries across various states ahead of the general elections in 2023.
Some of the states where delegates trooped to the venue of the exercise included Oyo, Ogun, Benue, Kaduna, Taraba, Bauchi, and Abia, among others.
In some cases, the exercises were monitored by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other stakeholders while security operatives were deployed to ensure the primaries go smoothly.
The PDP governorship primaries, initially scheduled to be conducted on May 21, eventually held on Wednesday – three days to the contest for the party’s presidential ticket.
While the PDP presidential primary is expected to take place on Saturday through Sunday, winners have since emerged in the primaries for the seats in the State Houses of Assembly, House of Representative, and Senate.
Among the winners in Wednesday’s primaries was Governor Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State, who is seeking to extend his tenure in office by another term.
An elated Fintiri who won 663 of a total of 668 votes with five others declared void, appreciated delegates, party leaders, and elders for what he described as “a defining moment for our great party in Adamawa State”.
“We demonstrated our anger at the way we were governed by the party in power in the state at that time; we made a collective resolution to take back our state from the All Progressives Congress (APC) whose performance in governance was far below any acceptable rating,” he said in his acceptance speech.
“That resolution was what made you entrust the flag of our great party to me as your candidate for the 2019 general elections in the state. I carried the flag with pride and led us to victory in the 2019 election.”
The governor remarked that the PDP disregarded his affluence in casting their votes as it showed the party’s commitment to a free and fair electoral process.
“The decision you took could only happen in PDP – a party with deep democratic roots. It is only in PDP that such a decision could be made in an open election where anyone of my political background could emerge as the party’s flagbearer.”
Also declared winner was Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State who swept to victory in the contest held at the Lekan Salami Stadium in the Adamasingba area of Ibadan, the state capital.
The incumbent polled a total of 1,040 votes from Oyo delegates to defeat his sole opponent, Mr Hazeem Gbolarunmi, who had only two votes, with six other votes recorded as void.
Having polled the highest number of votes, the Returning Officer, Ben Obi, who was represented by Abdullahi MaiBasia, announced Governor Makinde as the winner of the primary to a jubilant crowd at the stadium.
In neighbouring Ogun State, a political analyst and governorship aspirant, Segun Sowunmi, emerged as the winner of a parallel primary of the PDP.
The exercise held at the Iwe Irohin House in the OPIC axis of Abeokuta, the state capital where hundreds of delegates cast their votes.
Sowunmi, a former spokesman for the PDP presidential campaign, polled 554 votes to defeat his fellow aspirants Jimi Lawal and Ladi Adebutu who scored 30 and 15 votes respectively.
He was returned as the announced winner of the primary by the Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Abayomi Daniel.
In his acceptance speech, Sowunmi thanked the party’s leadership and delegates for their support and asked other contenders to join him in the struggle to ensure victory for the party in 2023.
Up North, the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Titus Uba, emerged as the PDP candidate following his victory in the governorship primary held at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi, the state capital.
Uba polled 731 votes to defeat his closest rival and the incumbent deputy governor of Benue, Benson Abounu, who scored 81 votes.
Reacting to his victory, the speaker thanked the delegates and party leadership for trusting him with their mandate and called for unity among the party fateful to win the governorship election in 2023.
The deputy governor, on his part, said he accepted the outcome of the primary. He, however, stated that he was swimming against the tide but one day, someone like him would have the opportunity to be governor of Benue State.
Elsewhere, the committee which presided over the governorship primary in Abia returned Professor Eleazar Ikonne as the winner of the contest.
The coast is now clear for Professor Ikonne, a former Vice-Chancellor of Abia State University, to contest the forthcoming governorship election on the platform of the PDP.