Senator Magnus Abe has emerged the 2023 governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Rivers State.

A primary election that produced Abe was conducted in Port Harcourt and supervised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

INEC’s senior officer, Pastor Emmanuel Isong and other monitors from the Department of State Security (DSS) as well as the Nigeria Police force were on ground throughout the exercise described by observers as the fairest primary poll ever held in the state.

Princess Patricia Ogbonna, a retired Permanent Secretary from the Rivers Civil Service, was also elected as the running mate to Abe.

The Chairman of SDP Substitution Electoral Committee, Alhaji Muhammed Ibrahim, declared Abe, who scored 30 votes, the winner of the election and advised members of the party to get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

He said: “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”.

A former member of the House of Representatives and a leader of Rivers state chapter of SDP, Elder Chidi Wihioka, commended INEC for its efforts in ensuring free, fair and credible elections.

He said the Osun state governorship experience was an indication that people could cast their votes with confidence.

He said: “I was INEC Electoral Commissioner some years ago. I can tell you that INEC is doing a good work 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”.

A former Commissioner for Power in the administration of former Governor Rotimi Amaechi and now member of Federal Character Commission, Augustine Wokocha thanked the delegates and promised that Rivers people would witness a new era in the government of Magnus Abe.

He said: “Abe is a model. SDP will now become a state party. With Abe as a governor in 2023, Rivers state will be free from despots. As you can see, the process was very transparent and free. Abe has a solid structure from the state to local government and even the ward levels. He is a man that is loved by the people”.

The Rivers 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 saying: “I am very confident that with Abe as our candidate, Rivers state belongs to SDP”.