……. ‘Kills’ senatorial ambition of Chime, Suswan, Imoke and Uduaghan
In a bid to ensure victory for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at all levels during the 2015 General Elections, the President Jonathan with the leadership of the party have conceded automatic tickets to 40 out of 72 PDP Senators to return to the Red Chamber.
According to the President, it pays the nation to have built a stronger legislature than starting afresh all the time. But governors interested in picking their successors might not be given senatorial ticket urging them to allow experienced Senators to return to the House in 2015. With this latest development, some governors may lose out of the senatorial politics.
The governors are Sullivan Chime (Enugu West already conceded to Ekweremadu); Suswam (Benue North-East where Gemade may be retained); Liyel Imoke now to accept Victor Ndoma-Egba for Cross River Central instead of a new candidate); and Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta South now conceded to the incumbent, James Manager).
According to a Senator from the South-East, the session at the Presidential Villa was a frank session with all the sides allowed to air their views.
The source said: “Led by the President of the Senate, Chief David Mark, about 60 of us attended the meeting at the Villa. The President was there with the National Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Muazu, and his Special Adviser on Political Affairs, Prof. Rufai Alkali.
“Every Senator was allowed to speak his or mind on the political developments in the state, the ward congresses and the challenges of re-election.
“We told the party that to emulate the practice in the US and other developed democracies where experience counts.
“Senators also asked the party not to allow too many outgoing and former governors because only a few of them are resourceful. They always come to the session to drink tea.
“After each Senator’s submission, the President of the Senate, Chief David Mark justified why experienced Senators should be retained.”
The source quoted Mark as saying: “The Senate has been very supportive and it has shown maturity on challenging issues facing the nation.
“You and the party should allow us to have our tickets back because we have not betrayed the party.”
The President said: “Left to me, it pays the nation for us to build the institution of legislature. The more they come back to the Senate, the better they are.
“I know it is not possible for all of you to come back, but if we have a reasonable percentage returning to the Senate, it is better for our democracy.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “There and then, we harmonized the list of experienced Senators who should be allowed to return.
“But with a caveat that the PDP leadership will engage governors to show understanding and allow those given automatic concessions to have their way. The party was directed to remind all aspirants that any ticket or slot is its prerogative.
“We also reached a consensus that governors interested in imposing their successors should forget senatorial tickets “To avoid rancour, there may not be senatorial primaries where concessions had been granted.
“The PDP leadership was mandated to go and consider the modalities of giving these Senators their return tickets. But certainly with the concession, the party has sent a subtle message to other aspirants.
Based on the harmonized list, those who may return are as follows:
The President of the Senate, Chief David Mark; Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu; Ahmed Makarfi, Nenadi Esther Usman, Smart Adeyemi, Atai Idoko-Ali, Barnabas Gemade, Barth Nnaji, Pius Akinyelure, Boluwaji Kunlere, Philip Aduda, Enyinnaya Abaribe and Uche Chukwumerije.
The list includes the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba; Bassey Otu, Benedict Ayade, Zainab Kure, Simon Ajibola, Adeseun Ayoade Ademola, Agboola Hosea Ayoola, Emmanuel Bwacha, Umar Abubakar Tutari and Suleiman Adokwe.
Also enjoying concession are Maccido Muhammad Ahmed, Abdullahi Danladi, Hassan Abdulmumin, Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, James Manager, Emmanuel Pualker, Heineken Lokpobri, Tukur Bello, Hassan Barata, Lidani Joshua, Alkali Saidu Ahmed, Andy Uba, Margery Okadigbo, Magnus Odion Ugbesia, Garba Gamawa Babayo and Adamu Gumba.
The session was, however, not without drama on how the party will handle some states like Benue, Akwa Ibom and Anambra states.
The source added: “When Senator Aloysius Etuk stood up from Akwa Ibom on his fate, there was a pin-drop silence and the party’s National Chairman was careful in saying: ‘We are looking into it.”
As for Senator Nurudeen Abatemi Usman, the party chairman also said: “We have not yet consider this district.”
Concerning the rivalry between Governor Gabriel Suswam and Chief Barnabas Gemade on Benue North-East, Muazu simply said: “We are looking into it to resolve all issues amicably.” But everyone agreed that Gemade should get the slot as a former National Chairman of the PDP.
Regarding the cold war between Senator Margery Okadigbo and ex-Minister of Aviation, Ms Stella Oduah, for Anambra North, it was directed that Okadigbo be allowed to retain her seat having just spent two years in the Upper Chamber.”