Former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, has won the senatorial ticket of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), for Abia South senatorial district.
Senator Abaribe who dumped the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), earlier in the week after pulling from the governorship race, was elected APGA senatorial flag bearer unopposed, by a mammoth crowd of delegates at the Azikiwe Road Aba, on Saturday evening.
The Returning Officer, Chief Lucky Erondu, announced Abaribe’s emergence amid thunderous ovation by a crowd of supporters, delegates and party faithful.
He was the sole candidate for the seat.
In his acceptance speech, Senator Abaribe thanked the delegates for reposing confidence in him.
Promising not to disappoint his constituents, Abaribe vowed to sustain his fight for the enthronement of democracy, equity and justice.
He said he would help to return Abia State to APGA for total liberation from god-fatherism and despondency.
“This is the time to return the state to APGA. It’s a struggle to liberate the state and reposition the South East.
”South East needs to identify with APGA as its own and a platform to recover its lost grounds.”
With his emergence as APGA flag bearer, the third-term Senator will be clashing with Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, who holds the PDP ticket; and Blessing Nwagba of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 senatorial poll.
Meanwhile, wife of Ondo State Governor, Mrs. Betty Akeredolu, has faulted the alleged move by the APC in Imo to adopt a consensus candidate for the Imo East Senatorial District seat.
Speaking at the party secretariat in Owerri on Saturday, where delegates had converged for the primary, Akeredolu said she would not support the adoption of a consensus candidate.
Akeredolu, who described the imposition of candidates as “kangaroo election” wondered why the governor, who had promised a level playing ground would not allow delegates to vote.
“Today is supposed to be the Election Day and I have been here patiently with my delegates who arrived as early as 8:00a.m. This is almost 3:00p.m.
“As a forefront aspirant, who is in the race to win, I have asked the party chairman to show me the delegates list, but up till now I have not seen the list,” she said.
According to her, the governor can do anything with the state assembly seats but not national, saying “this is a very important legislative house you don’t joke with.”
She said most candidates of the party in the state after spending so much on campaigns, angrily stepped down on orders of the governor.
“We are all responsible Nigerians, upscale Nigerians. You can’t do that to me because I am an advocate.
“We must vote; If I lose, I lose gallantly. I will support my brother that wins, but as it stands now, I am not in support of consensus.
“It is not in my diary. Let us vote. This is shameful. How can we change the system If there’s no transparency,” she said.
But in a swift reaction, the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Cajetan Duke, urged the people and party faithful to disregard the allegations by Mrs Akeredolu.
Duke described the ongoing process for the election of the three senatorial candidates in the state as “free and fair”.
“Nobody has forced or coerced any aspirant to step down for another. The contest is free.
“All the party said to aspirants was that those who stand no chance of winning the election should step down.
“But if they think they have traversed the state campaigning and engaged the delegates in preparation for election victory, nobody will stop them to proceed. Not even the national or state chairman or the governor can stop them.
“When people begin to lose election, they begin to find one reason or the other to discredit the process. It is unfortunate that such allegations are coming from her Excellency,” Duke said.