- Category: Politics
- Published on Tuesday, 11 January 2011 08:53
- Written by The Nation
- Hits: 2155
BARRING last-minute manoeuvres, no fewer than 50 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators will wave a final bye to the Senate in April. Of the lot, 45 have lost in the primaries to return to the Upper Chamber. Six are vying for governorship tickets, with the results being awaited last night.
The senators seeking to be governor are: Nicholas Ugbane, Mohammed Bello, Joel Danlami, Mohammed Ahmed, Gbemisola Saraki and Garba Lado.
But, there is anxiety over the development, with some of the 45 losers threatening protest votes at Thursday’s presidential primary election in Abuja .
The development has opened a fresh battle for votes between President Goodluck Jonathan’s and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s camps.
Most of the senators lost their re-election tickets because of alleged strained relationship between them and their governors.
It was also learnt that some of the senators bowed out because of the zoning formula in their states, which allows rotation of power in their districts.
But a few of the senators were edged out for alleged non-performance.
The breakdown of those who lost is as follows: Anambra(three); Imo(three); Ebonyi(three); Adamawa(three); Jigawa(three); Ogun(three); Akwa Ibom(three); Plateau(two); Kaduna(two); Kebbi(two); Bayelsa(one); Cross River(one); and Sokoto(one). Others are Bauchi(one); Gombe(two);Kogi(one); Osun(one);FCT(one); Ondo(one);Benue( two);Nasarawa(one); Rivers(one) and Kwara(three).
A Senator, said last night: “We saw the defeat coming because the governors have hijacked the party structure. They dictate who becomes what. These governors see us as threats and they have decided to clip our wings.
“What they did during the primary elections was to install their stooges as candidates. And I know that they will do their best to ensure that these elements win the April poll.
“Look at the ridiculous scenarios in Ogun and Ebonyi states where the governors have become the Lords of the Manor. Why was none of the three senators in a state not found to be suitable to go back?
“In Adamawa State , Senator Grace Bent was almost attacked for no justifiable reasons. Yet, she is a committed member of the Senate. Once you resist servitude in Nigerian politics, you cannot make it.
“It is unfortunate that even some performing Senators lost at the primary elections. In Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Smart Adeyemi is battling for the return ticket against forces led by Governor Ibrahim Idris and the party structure. His offence is that he is too critical of the governor’s policies.
Another Senator said: “It is sad that the next Senate might start afresh with inexperienced senators. This was why we wanted to amend the 2010 Electoral Act to make senators and members of the House of Representatives members of the National Executive Committee of the parties. But the public outcry forced us to drop the idea.
“Now, we are at the mercy of the party, which has already determined our fate. Who do you cry to now?”
Overwhelmed by defeat, a Senator simply said: “President Goodluck Jonathan did not stand by his declaration that he would want 50 to 60 per cent of us back. If he had given us support like he did to the governors, the situation will not be as worst as it is now.
“Surely, some of us cannot rule out protest votes at the presidential primary election. It is really unfortunate.”
The senators are considering the next line of action.
One said “The casualty rate might be higher than 50 because some states have not conducted their primaries. We are also not sure of how many senators from the ANPP, ACN or other parties will not get re-election tickets. But it is a shame that out of about 84 PDP Senators, about 50 will not come back.
“What is the guarrantee that any of the six senators who are contesting the governorship primaries will make it?
“Now, all the money and the experience garnered by these senators have gone down the drain. That is why our democracy is not growing at a faster pace. We tend to build from the scratch.
“Some of us who lost might meet soon on the next step. In fact, the Atiku Campaign Organisation has started reaching out to some of us.”
The fate of some senators in at least three states remains unclear. The states are: Kogi, Enugu and Oyo. They are yet to have their primaries. The exercise is stalemated in Kogi.