By Jonathan Ugbal and Itiunbe Atunka
A geologist, Mr. Augustine ‘Adah Bendebel’ Ishamali yesterday night emerged the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the bye-election to replace late state lawmaker, Mr. Stephen Ukpukpen.
Following disagreements which saw the primaries moved from its original venue to the Divisional Police Headquarters, the congress which began before that of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ended near midnight with Mr. Ishamali emerging as the consensus candidate.
At the police station, party sources say a compromise was reached and he was declared the consensus candidate similar to that which produced the PDP’s candidate, Abbey Ukpukpen who was nominated via a unanimous voice vote following a motion to that effect.
He is said to be sponsored by a gubernatorial aspirant, Mr. Venatius Ikem and wriggled through to beat the incumbent chapter chairman of the party, Mr. Moses Utsu who is said to have been sponsored by another gubernatorial aspirant, Mr. Paul Adah.
Ishamali hails from Bebuabong community (not Abonkib as earlier reported) in Obudu Urban ward 1; a scenario which PDP members say favors their permutations as Mr. Utsu (who hails from Bedia community; same with the late lawmaker and his widow, Abbey Ukpukpen who is the candidate of the PDP) would have proved a much tougher fight as the Angiaba/Begiaka ward is said to have called for them to complete their tenure.
Ishamali, a graduate of Geology from the University of Calabar served as the offshore production supervisor for Expro Tech, an oil firm until his resignation to contest. He previously worked for Global Dimension Nigeria limited; a firm which rendered services to Addax petroleum. Also, he is an alumni of the federal science college in Abakpa, Ogoja.
His emergence means the party met with the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission which directed that all primaries must be conducted on or before July 25, 2018.
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