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As Otedola waits in the wings, two oil dons win big on primary night


As Otedola waits in the wings, two oil dons win big on primary night

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has postponed its Lagos governorship primary. No new date has been announced and it appears that the main opposition party is playing a waiting game, hoping to see what happens first in the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary before it chooses its own candidate.

Whenever the PDP decides to conduct its primaries, the favorite for the ticket will be Femi Otedola, a billionaire oil businessman who is chairman of Forte Oil. It emerged last month that the Lagos PDP – which faces an existential crisis following the defection of its state chairman to the APC – had offered its party ticket to Otedola. The candidate of the party in 2015, Jimi Agbaje, is however expected to give Otedola a run for his money.

The class of the oil dons

While Lagosians wait for the two main parties to conduct their governorship primaries in the state, elections held on Sunday in several states across the country to determine the flagbearers of the two leading parties. In Oyo and Rivers state, the night ended on a high note for two oil businessmen – Seyi Makinde in Oyo, and Tonye Cole in Rivers.

Seyi Makinde

Makinde won a landslide victory in the PDP primary conducted on Sunday at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium in Ibadan. He earned more than 95% of the votes cast in the election, polling 2772 votes, compared to his closest challenger Ayo Adeseun, who managed just 21 votes.

Makinde is the Group Managing Director of Makon Group Limited; an indigenous oil and gas company in Nigeria. His company provides engineering and technical services in the oil, gas, LNG and petrochemical industries.

In 2015, Makinde came fifth in the Oyo governorship elections behind Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of the APC; former governors Rashidi Ladoja and Adebayo Alao-Akala of the Accord Party and Labour Party respectively; and Teslim Folarin of the PDP.

With his victory, the PDP is placing a bet that Makinde, who has lost elections three times since 2007 when he first ran for the Oyo South senate seat, is the right man to take the party back to the Oyo Government House. Makinde will face Adebayo Adelabu who won the APC primary in the general elections.

Tonye Cole

Cole emerged as the winner of the APC primary conducted by the faction loyal to transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi. The Amaechi faction’s indirect governorship primary saw Cole polling 3329 votes compared to 491 votes by Dawari George.

In the primary conducted by the other faction, Sen. Magnus Abe emerged as winner. Amaechi’s faction is however the one recognised by the national leadership of the party, so it is unlikely that Cole will be dropped for Abe.

Until last month, Cole was the CEO of the Sahara Group. an energy and infrastructure conglomerate with operations in over 30 countries. Cole will face Rivers Gov. Nyesom Wike of the PDP at the general elections.

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