APC declares Edo governorship primary inconclusive, announces date for fresh poll

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) says its governorship primary election in Edo State was “not completed.”

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The ruling party said a new primary will be held on Thursday to determine its flagbearer for the September 2024 governorship election in the state.

Felix Morka, national publicity secretary, APC, issued a statement late on Tuesday to announce the party’s position on the contentious primary.

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“At its emergency meeting held today, Tuesday, February 20, 2024, to consider the report on the Edo state governorship primary election, the national working committee (NWC) deliberated on the report and resolved that the Edo state governorship primary election has not been completed, and has now fixed Thursday, February 22, 2024, for the completion of the primary election process,” the statement reads.

THE EDO APC GUBER PRIMARY

On Saturday, Hope Uzodimma, governor of Imo and chairman of the Edo primary election committee, declared Dennis Idahosa, a member of the House of Representatives, as the winner of the contest.

Uzodinma said 43-year-old Idahosa polled 40,483 votes to defeat other governorship hopefuls in the race.

Following Uzodimma’s declaration of Idahosa as the winner, the returning officers in the various LGAs in the state announced Sunday Dekeri as the victor of the primary.

Ojo Babatunde, spokesperson of the returning officers, said Dekeri, a lawmaker representing Etsako federal constituency in the House of Representatives, polled 25,384 votes to defeat Idahosa.

CONTROVERSY ENSUES

Less than 24 hours after the election, a group known as the All Progressives Congress (APC) Stakeholders Forum alleged that Idahosa was declared the winner before the conclusion of the exercise.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja, Emmanuel Godwin, coordinator of the group, said: “We have been inundated with news that a particular candidate was announced yesterday by His Excellency, Hope Uzodinma who incidentally is the chairman of the primary election committee, Edo State.

“It is unfortunate that Hope Uzodimma who is not the returning officer in whatever capacity, assumed the position and went ahead to announce Dennis Idahosa when the returning officers were still collating the results.

“We wish to therefore state categorically that the purported announcement is null and void and should be disregarded in its entirety. Governor Uzodimma lacks the power to usurp the duties and responsibilities of local government returning officers in the Edo State primaries.”

On Monday, the controversy over the primary took a fresh twist as Monday Okpebholo, senator representing Edo Central and a governorship aspirant, claimed that he won the election with over 6,000 votes.

WITHDRAWAL OF ASPIRANTS

Prior to the election, not a few aspirants had announced their withdrawal from the race.

Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a former candidate in the last election, was the first to pull out, saying his decision, although painful, was in the interest of peace and unity of the party.

On election day, Lucky Imasuen and Ernest Afolabi withdrew from the contest, citing the party’s decision to zone the ticket for the central senatorial district of the state.

The ruling party had screened and cleared Idahosa and 11 other governorship hopefuls to contest in the primary.

 

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