Primaries: 20 Senators, 252 Reps May Not Return In 2019

About 20 senators and 252 members of the House of Representatives may not return to the National Assembly in 2019, investigations.

Majority of the affected lawmakers are members of the ruling All Progressives Congress and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, who lost the ticket to return to NASS at the recently concluded primary elections by the various political parties.

Findings also showed some of the affected lawmakers withdrew from the race to pursue governorship tickets in their states while some pulled out of the race for personal reasons.

While some of the primaries are still marred in controversies, some of the lawmakers are still hopeful of getting a ticket through negotiations.

Those who have lost senatorial tickets include the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi (Niger State), David Umaru (Niger State), Fatimah Raji-Rasaki (Ekiti State), Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos State) and Ibrahim Kurfi (Katsina State).

Also, senators who lost their governorship bid are Baba Kaka Garbai (Borno State), Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara State), Abubakar Kyari (Borno State), Shaaba Lafiagi (Kwara State) and Sam Anyanwu (Imo State). While those who won governorship tickets in their states were Sunny Ogbuoji (Ebonyi State), John Enoh (Cross River State) and Jeremiah Useni (Plateau State).

Those who withdrew from the race for the legislative chamber were Senator Adesoji Akanbi (Oyo State); Senator Ben Murray-Bruce (Bayelsa State); three-term Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe State) and Senators Gbolahan Dada (Ogun State) and David Mark (Benue State).

There are also senators whose fate is hanging in the balance as controversies are still trailing their candidacy and some have become a subject of litigation. In this category are Senators Shehu Sani (Kaduna State), Lanre Tejuoso (Ogun State) and Magnus Abe (Rivers State).

Senator Jonah Jang from Plateau State lost his presidential bid while another senator from Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, is currently serving a jail term for corruption.

Speaking with one of our correspondents, Tejuoso said he would only abide by the product of a due process as far as primaries and tickets were concerned in Ogun APC.

Asked if he was comfortable with the process, he said, “What does the Constitution say? Who is supposed to conduct and supervise primaries? Whatever is legal and whatever is in the constitution of the party is what we will support.”

Also, when contacted, Sani declined to speak on the controversy surrounding APC’s Kaduna Central ticket, while Anyanwu described the primary in the state as a charade. Marafa, on the other hand, had briefed journalists on Thursday in Abuja on his readiness to form an alliance with another party for the polls.

Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, the 252 members that couldn’t get a ticket represent 70 per cent of the total number of 360 lawmakers in the House.

Findings also showed that a few of them would not return on account of seeking for other political offices, like the senate. There were also those who didn’t bother buying forms. However, majority of the members failed to scale through the primaries.

It was, however, gathered that the leadership of the House had been under pressure to intervene on behalf of many of the members.

Some of those who may not return include the Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr. Yussuff Lasun, who contested the governorship primary election in Osun State but lost at the primary. Thus, he didn’t contest the House of Representatives primary of the APC.

Others are the Deputy Minority Whip of the House, Mrs Binta Bello; a member of the PDP from Gombe State, Mr. Orker Jev; a PDP member from Benue State, Mr Zakari Mohammed; Mrs Betty Apiafi, and Ms Evelyn Oboro, all of whom won senatorial tickets in their states. Mr. Razak Atunwa, on the other hand, won the governorship ticket in Kwara State.

Furthermore, the Deputy House Majority Whip, Mr. Pally Iriase, did not contest the Edo State APC primary to return in 2019, while majority of members, who either lost or withdrew from the primary, included seven out of the 18 APC members in Lagos State, who are already out.

Among the other popular lawmakers who lost was Ms. Nnenna Ukeje (Abia State), who lost to Chief Chima Anyanso by 12 votes. She had since congratulated the winner.

In Kano State, several of the lawmakers also lost, but, the Chief Whip, Mr Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, won a return ticket. Other losers include Mr Dickson Tarkighir (APC, Benue); Mr. Hassan Saleh (PDP, Benue); Mr Sunday Karimi (PDP, Kogi); Mr Emmanuel Udende (APC, Benue); and Mr Emeka Ujam (Enugu State).

When contacted, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Abdulrazak Namdas, denied that the non-returning members were up to 252.

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