Chief Ikechi Emenike was on Monday returned as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia state in the primary election which was held in all the 184 wards in the 17 local governments across the state.
The chief returning officer, Professor Okezie Abarukwu, who announced the results at a media conference in Umuahia said that Emenike polled who polled 274,133 votes to defeat six other aspirants, including Chris, Akoma, Friday Nwosu, Martin Azubuike, Uche Ogah, Okey Emuchay and Paul ikonne.
Parallel governorship election was expected to be held in Abia APC which has two factions.
But while the faction led by Dr Emmanuel Ndukwe concluded their primary poll the other faction headed by Hon Donatus Nwankpa were yet to get their acts together as at press time.
The Nwankpa faction was embroiled in disputes over the authentic party register to use as well as the inability of the five aspirants from Ukwa/Ngwa zone to arrive at a consensus on who among them should be presented to face the aspirants from other zones.
The primary election was originally scheduled for Saturday, September 29, 2018 and was shifted to Sunday only for the national secretariat to announce late on Sunday that the exercise would take place on Monday, October 1.
By the time the postponement got to Abia the primary election by the Ndukwe led faction was already in full swing with huge turnout of party faithful in all the local governments.
Meanwhile the Ndukwe led APC which is recognized by the court as the authentic Abia chapter has fully endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari as APC presidential candidate in the 2019 general election.
Announcing the result of the presidential primary held on Friday, September 28, 2018, the chief returning officer Engr Chris Okpechi said that Mr. President received a total of 272, 259 yes votes in affirmation of his candidacy.
He said that party members participated in the primary election in all the 184 electoral wards across the 17 local governments of Abia, adding that the exercise was hitch free.
Unlike Nwankpa led APC which did not hold any presidential primary but went ahead to announce that Buhari received a total of 455,656 votes in all the local governments, Ndukwe faction of APC fully mobilized their members to participate in the exercise and was able to produce factual figures..
Mr. President was the only aspirant in the presidential primary as no other aspirant picked the nomination form to challenge him for the presidential ticket of APC in the forthcoming 2019 general election.
It was a new experience of internal democracy for card carrying party members as they participated in the direct primary, savouring the opportunity offered them to have a say in the choice of who would become the flag bearer of the party in the presidential race.
In all the wards visited it was observed that the direct primary poll was conducted peacefully with party members seen in long queues to cast their votes.
The usual chaotic scenes that characterize party primaries was totally absent as accreditation of party members to confirm the authenticity of their members was diligently carried out by officials using the party registers to crosscheck every membership card presented by the bearers.
At Umukabia Central School where party members in Nkwoegwu Ward held their primary, the leader of Abia APC, Chief Ikechi Emenike, led other party members to endorse Mr. President as the presidential flag bearer of APC in 2019.
He commended his fellow party members for their peaceful conduct and enthusiasm to participate in the primary.
He said that the overwhelming turnout of party members was a confirmation that the people of Abia were in support of his policies especially his war against corruption, adding that Mr. President would get the same overwhelming backing in the 2019 poll.
Dr Ndukwe also expressed satisfaction at the outcome of both the presidential and governorship primaries, noting that it has shown that internal democracy has taking firm root in APC.
He said that he has no doubt that Mr. President would emerge victorious in the presidential poll while Chief Emenike would clinch the Abia governorship seat and set Abia on a proper course for development.
With Emenike already a candidate of one of the two factions the other faction is expected to announce its own candidate on Tuesday or Wednesday as it once again failed to conduct its primary election.
Chief David Iyoah, who is the chairman of the election committee, said that the primary poll for Nwankpa faction would come up on Tuesday