Barely 24 hours after announcing his membership of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), a former chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and one of the foremost supporters of the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Senator Magnus Abe, has emerged as the governorship candidate of the SDP in Rivers State.
Abe was elected during a primary conducted in Port Harcourt on Saturday and supervised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) senior officer, Pastor Emmanuel Isong.
Also at the primary were representatives from the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Police Force.
Chairman of SDP substitution electoral committee, Alhaji Muhammed Ibrahim, declared Abe winner of the election unopposed, having polled 30 votes.
The emergence of Abe has put paid to speculation as to whether he will make good his promise of being on the ballot for the 2023 election.
While describing Abe as a credible candidate, Ibrahim advised members of the party to go and get their permanent voters card.
“Today, we have elected a credible candidate for the governorship election in Rivers State. Let me thank all of you for conducting yourselves peacefully and for electing a very popular candidate in the person of distinguished Senator Magnus Abe as the governorship candidate of the party for Rivers State.
“For those of you who are yet to register and collect your PVCs, please ensure that you do so before the expiration of the deadline as slated by INEC.
“I am very confident that with a quality candidate like Senator Magnus Abe, SDP will become the ruling party in Rivers state come 2023,” Ibrahim said.
In his solidarity message, the former member of the House of Representatives and a chieftain of the SDP in the state, Elder Chidi Wihioka, thanked INEC for its effort in ensuring that elections in Nigeria were free, fair and credible.
Wihioka noted that with what transpired in the Osun State governorship election recently, Nigerians could cast their votes and be confident that such votes would count.
“I was an INEC electoral commissioner some years ago. I can tell you that INEC is doing a good job right now.
“INEC has now given Nigerians a high hope that their votes will count going forward.
“Thuggery during elections will now become a thing of the past. With Magnus Abe as the governorship candidate of our great party, SDP, there is no doubt that we will have a nice outing in 2023,” he said.
The state chairman of SDP, Solsuema Osaro, expressed confidence that the candidature of Abe would make SDP a party to beat in the state in 2023.
“I am very confident that with Abe as our candidate, Rivers State belongs to SDP,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Princess Patricia Ogbonna, a retired permanent secretary in the Rivers State civil service was nominated as the running mate to Abe.