From the build up to the the All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship primaries in Rivers State, there indications that the exercise will not run smoothly Willie Etim, and Blessing Ibunge writes that APC concluded it primaries Sunday night with the emerge of parallel party governorship candidates for the 2019 general governorship election.
While Arc Tonye Cole was declared the governorship flag bearer of the party in the state by the Ojukaye Flag-Amachree faction of the APC in the indirect primaries, Senator Magnus Abe was simultaneously declared winner by the Peter Odike led APC faction direct primaries.
At the Ojukaye’s faction venue there was jubilation Sunday night, as Tonye Cole emerged the flag bearer of the party for the 2019 governorship election.
Cole, who is a businessman and a native of the Riverine part of the state, was declared winner of the governorship primaries of APC, in Rivers State.
The primary which started at about 4:49pm Sunday evening ended at about 12:02am the following morning (Monday). Our correspondent observed that the indirect process was peaceful and transparent with massive turnout of delegates from the 23 LGAs of the state.
Arc Cole pulled a total number of 3329 votes to acquire the governorship ticket of his party for the 2019 election in the state.
He defeated the frontline aspirant of the party Sen. Magnus Abe who scored just one vote at the election, Dumo Lulu-Briggs scored 38, and Dr. Dawari George 491 votes.
The result was declared by the Rivers APC governorship Primaries committee led Gen Jaafaru Lawal Isa, at a field in Igbokwu street in Port Harcourt, before representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the state
The Chairman of the Rivers APC governorship Primaries committee, a former military Governor, Gen. Jaafaru Lawal Isa, (rtd), had while addressing the delegates urged them to be well behaved to be able to have a peaceful process.
He had said: “I am here with other seven members of the committee sent to Rivers State for this process by the national body.
“The process is aimed at showing that our party will continue to lead in transparency in the electioneering process to win the next year’s election.
“I urge the delegates to behave themselves properly, cast their votes and go back peacefully.”
Also at the Peter Odike faction’s direct primaries Sen. Magnus Ngei Abe emerged the flag bearer of APC for the 2019 Rivers State governorship primary.
Abe’s faction who insisted on direct primaries, declared result same Sunday night after collation of results from all the wards in the 23 LGA where the primaries held.
At the end of collation, Abe scored 144, 929 votes to beat Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs polling 3,444, Arch. Tonye Dele Cole who polled 882 and Hon. Dawari George who had 1, 606 votes from deluges.
The result was announced by the Chief returning officer of the party, Dr. Chigbo Sam Eligwe, at the APC factional party secretariat, Aba Road, Port Harcourt.
The primaries were also peaceful in the wards in the local government areas visited by our correspondent.
In Ward 3 Rumuakunde in Emohua local government, Hon. Ted Oteh, the leader of the Abe faction of the APC in Emohua local government area, said that the election was peaceful, credible, free, fair, and transparent.
Hon. Oteh said that the APC faction loyal to Senator Abe had carried out direct primaries as recommended by the National Executive Council, NEC, which he said was superior to the National Working Committee, NWC that insisted on indirect primaries.
He revealed that out of the 290 persons that voted in the process, Senator Abe polled 265 to beat Dump Lulu-Briggs, Tonye Dele Cole, and Dawari George who altogether gathered 25 votes.
It would be recalled that one of the aspirants Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs boycotted the primaries.
Lulu-Briggs, a governorship aspirant on the platform of APC in the stated had lamented alleged irregularities in the planned process and called for the postponement of the primary.
Lulu-Briggs said that in order to correct the alleged gross anomalies which he claimed had marred the process, requested that the exercise postponeded to another day, alleging that the current process has been skewed in favour of Arch. Tonye Cole, the preferred aspirant of the leader of the party in Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
Few hours to the All Progressives Congress, APC governorship primary in Rivers State, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, a governorship aspirant on the platform of APC in the stated has lamented alleged irregularities in the planned process and called for the postponement of the primary.
Lulu-Briggs said that in order to correct the alleged gross anomalies that have marred the process, the primary should be postponed to another day, alleging that the current process has been skewed in favour of Arch. Tonye Cole, the preferred aspirant of the leader of the party in Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
The governorship aspirant who spoke in Port Harcourt in Sunday morning, alleged that the indirect primaries has been doctored, accused the Minister of Transportation for publicly campaigning for Cole notwithstanding other party members in the run.
He alleged that certain persons were handpicked from various wards as delegates to the primary without due process, adding that is a breath of party’s constitutional and guidelines for primaries.
Meanwhile in their separate victory speeches, Sen Abe and Cole promised to represent their party well at the general governorship election coming up in 2019.
Cole has pledged to achieve “genuine reconciliation and a sense of purpose to many who have been deeply aggrieved by bitter politics, deadly rivalries, winner takes all mentality and a me first psychology to life.
“We will embark on a reconciliation exercise with members of our APC family who in the process of electing flag bearers may have lost out and feel aggrieved by the process. They will be made welcome in the task or rebuilding Rivers State for the better.
“We will look to embrace those from other political leanings that are willing to put the rebuilding of the pride and honour of the State before their personal and political ambitions and welcome them into the family”, he added.