By Tunde Oyekola
A three term Senator, Simeon Sule Ajibola has emerged winner of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship primary in Kwara State.
Governor Gabriel Suswan of Benue State, who is Chairman of the Electoral panel, declared Ajibola winner at about 4.45 am on Friday having scored 144 votes to defeat 11 other contestants.
In a keenly contested primary, Barrister Mohammed Dele Belgore (SAN) polled 132 votes, Senator Gbemisola Saraki scored 113 and the former Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly matters scored 107 votes to take fourth position.
Professor Shuaib Oba Abdulraheem, former Chairman, Federal Character Commission and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, scored 58 votes while former Minister of Transport and two-term Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon Bio Ibrahim scored 45 votes.
Alhaji Hakeem Lawal, the scion of former governor of the state, late Admiral Mohammed Lawal 33 votes and an Industrialist and former Managing Director of the Nigeria Airways, Alhaji Jani Ibrahim polled 16 votes and Deacon John Dara scored 27 votes
Engr Sunday Babalola scored 3 votes; Arch Kale Belgore former Commissioner, Lands and Housing under Ex-Governor Bukola Sarak scored only one vote while Alhaji Abdulahi Sanusi had no vote.
Our Correspondent reports that a total of 680 delegates were accredited out of the total 709 accredited delegates for the Governorship primary 29 delegates were absent from the governorship primary while two votes were voided.
Our Correspondent reports that though there was tight security, the election was however conducted under a serene and peaceful atmosphere.
The Chairman of the Electoral Panel, Governor Suswan and his team had earlier held about 12 hours close door meeting with the 12 aspirants, party executive members and PDP Elders to fine tune modalities for conducting a credible primary.
The State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Salihu Garba personally took over the security of the venue to prevent break down of law and order.
Speaking after declaring Ajibola winner, Governor Suswan commended all the aspirants for the way they conducted themselves and displaying high sense of maturity.
He said that the outcome of the primary was a demonstration of internal democracy which PDP believed so much in as means of deepening the country fledgling democracy.
Suswan further expressed satisfaction that the election took place without rancour and called on all aspirants and stake holders to work together towards winning the 2015 general elections.
In his acceptance speech, Senator Ajibola expressed gratitude to all delegates and the party faithful for giving him their votes.
He declared: “We are all winners in this election as there is no victor, no vanquished in this Governorship Primary and indeed in all primaries of PDP in Kwara.
“I urge that we should all work together to make to ensure that today’s victory translate into winning Kwara for PDP in 2015.”
Ajibola therefore enjoined his co-aspirants and PDP to make his emergence as the party’s flag bearer to be the end of slavery in Kwara.
The flag bearer extended hands of fellowship to his co- contestants, promising to deliver the Government to PDP in 2015.
One of the aspirants, Deacon John Dara congratulated Ajibola for his victory and lauded the outcome of the primary.
All other aspirants also joined Dara in commending organisers of the primary, state and national bodies of PDP for providing level plain ground and conducting the election in free, fair and transparent manner.
The aspirants further commended PDP for ensuring that the primary has at last made the party wax stronger and united to face the challenges of winning the 2015 election.
The aspirants expressed satisfaction on the outcome of the primary.