A renowned oil merchant, Mr Uche Ogah, on Wednesday emerged the winner of a keenly contested governorship primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia.
Ogah, who hails from Abia North Senatorial District, polled 86,875 votes to defeat six other aspirants, including the former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Chief Martins Azubuike, who took a distant second position with 10,889 votes.
106,160 votes were cast during the Tuesday’s primaries in the 184 wards.
Abuja-based legal practitioner, Chief Friday Nwosu, polled 3,529 votes to occupy the third position, while former Dep. Gov. Chris Akomas, scored 2,143 votes to place fourth.
Former Nigeria’s Consular-General to South Africa, Amb. Okey Emuchey, came fifth with 1,270 votes and was followed by a former Commissioner for Lands in the state, Mr Paul Ikonne, who polled 999 votes.
The leader of Dr. Emmanuel Ndukwe-led APC, Chief Ikechi Emenike, scored 455 votes to place last.
The faction held its parallel direct primaries across the local government areas on Monday and declared Emenike the winner, having polled 274,133 votes to defeat Ogah, Akomas, Nwosu, Azubuike, Emuchey and Ikonne.
The Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Mr David Iyoha, announced the results at the APC state secretariat in Umuahia at about 3.45 a.m, on Wednesday.
Iyoha declared Ogah winner for fulfilling the party’s requirements.
The exercise, which was generally peaceful and orderly across the state, witnessed a large turnout of party members.
Some aspirants on the platform of the party, including former Speaker of the state assembly, Chief Stanley Ohajuruka, commended the national leadership of the party for directing the adoption of direct primaries in Abia.
Ogah, a former governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia, dumped the party for APC, in the aftermath of the 2015 governorship poll in the state.
Ogah lost the party’s ticket to Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, who hails from Abia South Senatorial District, but was later issued a Certificate of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission, following the judgment of an Abuja High Court, which declared him the rightful PDP’s candidate.
The judgment was later upturned by the Supreme Court in favour of Ikpeazu, hence his defection to APC.
With Ogah’s emergence, Abia APC now has two governorship candidates.