Edo guber: Apapa’s LP faction unveils another candidate

The Deputy Governor of Edo State Philip Shaibu, has raised the alarm over a fresh plot to impeach him following his emergence as a factional candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the governorship election scheduled for September 21.

Shaibu, who disclosed this during a media parley with journalists from Edo State in Abuja yesterday, said the impeachment move was revealed to him by his team.

On his part, the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress in the forthcoming election, Senator Monday Okpebholo, has assured that his candidacy will deliver victory to the party when the election is held in September.

He also extended an olive branch to Senator Adams Oshiomhole, Dennis Idahosa and other party members who were opposed to his candidacy during the election, asking them to work with him for the success of the party in the governorship election.

Shaibu, who has had a running battle with his boss, Governor Godwin Obaseki, vowed to carry on with his preparations even if doing so would cause his impeachment by the state House of Assembly.

The returning officer in the PDP governorship primary and Governor of Zamfara State, Dauda Lawal, On Thursday announced Asue Ighodalo as the winner of the delegate election, having polled a total of 577 votes.

However, in the parallel primaries that took place at the Benin residence of the Deputy Governor, the returning officer, Bartholomew Moses, declared Shaibu the winner, saying he won “with over 300 votes.”

Shaibu, however, regarded himself as the authentic candidate, describing the primary election that produced Ighodalo, who is backed by Governor Obaseki, as nothing short of a social party attended by “people who wore aso ebi (ceremonial uniform) from all over the place.”

Shaibu, who defected to the PDP from the All Progressives Congress (APC) alongside Obaseki, in 2020, said his office has been subjected to all manner of degrading treatment by the governor, adding that he is the man to win the election for the PDP.

He said: “Even as we speak, my team has been calling me that, ‘Look at what these people are doing. They are saying they are going to impeach you; that you have gotten too far.’ They are threatening to impeach me.

“And I said, well, if fighting for my rights and all of us collectively fighting for my rights as in the constitution that triggers impeachment, so be it, because fighting for my rights and saying I must contest the election is my constitutional rights and cannot be taken by anybody.

“So if constitutional right is why they will now trigger impeachment, the courts are there; they will interpret it.”

Shaibu, who described Ighodalo as “my far elder brother,” however, urged the PDP to know that the lawyer-turned-politician does not have what it takes to win the poll.

“If the party wants to win the election, they will not go for Ighodalo. If the party wants to win the election, the people have spoken, and they have spoken very loud and clear.

“If people can stand bullets to say this is who we want, then the party should follow that direction,” he added.

The deputy governor said that he has appointed former APC Deputy Chairman, Edo State Chapter, Pastor Kenneth Asekomhe, to chair a committee to reach out to Ighodalo’s camp to forge a common front for the PDP in the election.

“He is the chairman of the committee that I have set up to reach out to the Ighodalo group for us to have a discussion to see how we will go, because it is only him that is not on board,” he said.

Shaibu also said he was working with the National Vice Chairman (South-South), Mr Dan Orbih.

“The leader of the legacy coalition is Dan Orbih. We are working together and that is why it is important that Ighodalo joins the legacy coalition, because the coalition is those that were in APC that moved to PDP to meet those that were already in PDP.

“Those that were in PDP that we met are the legacy. The coalition now is that we joined the old PDP moving together because we don’t want to hear new and old PDP, and that is why we call it a legacy coalition,” Shaibu stated.

On whether the Independent National Electoral Commission monitored the primary election that produced him, Shaibu answered in the affirmative without going into details.

“INEC and the party were there, but I will not disclose a lot. If we don’t go to court, fine. But if we do go to court, all this information will be unveiled,” he said.

My candidacy will deliver Edo to APC, Okpebholo assures party

The All Progressives Congress (APC) flag bearer in Edo State governorship election, Senator Monday Okpebholo, yesterday extended an olive branch to other aspirants, their supporters and party members in the state.

He called for unity among the leadership and members of the party ahead of the September 21, 2024 governorship election.

In his acceptance speech made available to newsmen in Abuja yesterday, Okpebholo paid special tributes to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, APC National Chairman Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Edo State APC leader Senator Adams Oshiomhole and the people of the state for standing on the side of equity and justice.

Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State, who was the Chairman of the election committee, on Friday declared Okpebholo the winner of the Thursday rerun governorship primaries of the party.

Okpebholo polled 12,433 votes to defeat other aspirants who contested the primary election.

Accepting his victory, the APC flag bearer said his candidacy would reclaim Edo State for the party and reunite it with the Government at the federal level.

He acknowledged President Tinubu’s insistence on equity, fairness and justice, as well as the roles by his fellow senators, especially the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, which created a level-playing field for him to emerge as the candidate of the party.

Commending Senator Adams Oshiomole, the leader of the party in the state despite the initial their differences, Okpebholo insisted that the former governor remains his leader, adding that he will play a critical role in securing victory for APC in Edo State.

He said: “Primaries have been won and lost. It is time to begin the real process of saving Edo State from the hands of clueless leaders who have failed to meet the expectations of the people.

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s role in ensuring a level-playing field is something I treasure. I want to also appreciate the national chairman of the APC and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC) for standing with the people of Edo State.

“My colleagues in the Senate, especially the President of the Senate Godswill Akpabio, other aspirants who stepped down for me, APC leaders in Edo State, Edo people who joined in the clamour for a free and fair process, I appreciate you all.

“To my leader, Adams Oshiomhole, I appreciate your guidance over the years. Despite the differences, you remain my leader and I know that you’ll lead the way that will earn us victory in September.

“In the coming days, we will speak more on developments and carry our people along on a list of things we intend to do that will rescue Edo State from the present quagmire. We deserve better and we will get a better deal.

“Today, the APC family in Edo State has made a bold statement by choosing God over mammon, development over inanities and love over hate. It has been clear to every discerning mind that Edo State has gone on the wrong path of development with the elitist style of governance with little regard for reality.

“The journey to resetting our dear state by strengthening her HEARTBEAT and actionable development begins now by your reposing confidence in me as the flag bearer of our great party, the APC. I shall leverage on the collective strength of all of us and the passion for a greater Edo.

“I am humbly requesting all my brothers and sisters who contested the primaries with me to put the contest behind and join me in the onerous task of making Edo State heart beat again with development across the broad spectrum of human endeavour.

“This journey of meaningful development has no respect for tribal and ethnic inclinations or religious calculations. It is building Edo by Edo people. I will immediately embark on visitation to our political leaders and my co-contestants for unity of purpose.

“We are all in it together and by God’s grace, our great party, the APC, will return to Osadebe Avenue come November this year.

“I have with due reverence to God and great respect to humanity accepted my nomination as the flag bearer of our great party, the All Progressives Congress. To God be the glory.”

Idahosa approaches appeal committee, protests ‘injustice’

A governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Dennis Idahosa, yesterday approached the party’s appeal committee to seek justice over Friday’s declaration of Senator Monday Okpobholo as the party’s flag bearer for the September 21, 2024 election.

He insisted that he was victorious in the party’s direct primary election held on February 17, which he said was duly acknowledged by APC’s National Chairman, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje.

The youthful Idahosa declared yesterday that the “purported” return of Okpebholo, the representative of Edo Central Senatorial District, as winner of the shadow poll be set aside while he should be reinstated/declared the winner of the primary election.

He said: “The primary election was duly held on February 17, 2024 as scheduled, with 12 aspirants participating. I won and was returned winner, having garnered 40,453 votes, which was the highest scored among the 12 aspirants that participated.

“The gubernatorial primary election committee also prepared a report, duly signed by all its seven members, detailing the various steps culminating in my victory at the primary election, pursuant to extant and applicable provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999; the Electoral Act, 2022; APC’s Constitution and Guidelines.

“In confirming the due conduct of the election, Senator Hope Uzodimma (Chairman of the committee/Imo State Governor), posted the following message on his X (formally Twitter) handle, @Hope_uzodinmma1, as follows: ‘I was delighted to announce Hon. Dennis Idahosa @Idahosadennis, as the winner of our peacefully-conducted governorship primary in Benin City. His resounding victory, marked by the highest votes count, reflects the trust and confidence our party members have in his leadership. I commend all aspirants and their supporters for upholding the peace accord, demonstrating maturity and commitment to our party’s values. Remember, the party belongs to us all. This is not a defeat, but a testament to our collective strength.’

“I was surprised when, on February 20, 2024, a press statement surfaced, indicating that the National Working Committee (NWC) considered a report and resolved that the governorship primary election had not been completed and fixed February 22, 2024 for the completion of the primary election process. I found the statement unusual.”

Idahosa, the representative of Ovia Constituency in the House of Representatives, also reiterated that nomination of a governorship candidate must mandatorily be by democratically-conducted primary election, where there were multiple aspirants seeking to fly the political party’s flag, and that the law did not make provision for multiple/substitute primary poll in the absence of the withdrawal or death of the winner.

He said: “Our party (APC) ought to be guided on the path of legality and avoid actions that can cause avoidable negative legal consequences for the party.

“On February 22, 2024, even though there was no outstanding process from the primary election of February 17, 2024 to be concluded, the primary election committee, with the same members who had signed the earlier report, except for Governor Hope Uzodinma, were in Benin City.

“Instead of indicating which part of the earlier primary election the committee was to conclude, in the course of the day, it proceeded to conduct another primary election, purportedly across all the 192 wards in Edo State.

“Surprisingly, it announced results that did not tally with the votes from the wards, obtained at any validly or duly-conducted primary election and/or the 18 local government areas. Consequently, I urge that the purported return of Senator Monday Okpebholo as the winner of the primary election be set aside while I am reinstated and/or declared the winner of the election.”

Idahosa appreciated all APC faithful across Edo State for their massive and unwavering support towards his governorship aspiration, assuring that he would never take the show of love and confidence for granted, going forward.

He maintained that the declaration of “fictitious” primary election results by the Senator Bassey Otu’s (Cross River State Governor’s) committee represented the highest level of rape on democracy ever witnessed in Edo State.

The governorship aspirant said: “Events in the last few days may have been very disappointing and demoralising to a lot of people, as your votes seemed not to have counted, going by the process and declaration of fictitious primary election results of what happened in the field on February 22, 2024 re-run election in the 192 wards of the state.

“Let me assure you all our teaming supporters that I shall explore all the party internal mechanisms to resolve the issues, and seeks justice. Where that does not work, I shall communicate with you all on our next line of action.”

Ganduje saved APC from disaster, says Lukman

A former member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, has commended the party’s highest administrative organ over the outcome of the Edo State governorship primary election, saying it saved the party from disaster.

He said if the Abdullahi Umar Ganduje-led NWC had not promptly intervened and upturned the February 17 primary election, the exercise would have caused a drift and confirmed APC as an undemocratic party.

Lukman, the immediate past National Vice Chairman (North West) of the party, reacting to the outcome of the APC Edo State governorship primary in a statement in Abuja on yesterday, said the process of the exercise and the outcome were indications that the party was returning to the path of its founding fathers.

He noted that if the party had allowed the outcome of the February 17 exercise to stand, it would have headed for another electioneering disaster in Edo State.

It will be recalled that the controversial primary polls held on February 17 with the governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma as the chairman of the electoral committee saw the emergence of three candidates — Hon. Dennis Idahosa, Senator Monday Okpebholo and Hon. Anamero Dekeri.

Based on the protests and legal threats against the exercise, the party replaced Uzodinma with the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Bassey Out, who conducted the rescheduled election that produced Senator Okpebholo as the APC governorship candidate for the September 2024 election.

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