NewsEdo 2024: Leading Aspirant, Okpebholo, Others To Boycott Inconclusive APC Primary If...

Edo 2024: Leading Aspirant, Okpebholo, Others To Boycott Inconclusive APC Primary If Uzodinma Chairs Exercise

GTBCO FOOD DRINL

February 21, (THEWILL) – The Leading aspirant for the governorship ticket on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Edo State, Senator Okpebholo and other aspirants have threatened to boycott the inconclusive primary election rescheduled to be concluded this Thursday, February 22, by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), if Governor Hope Uzodinma chairs the exercise.

Speaking with THEWILL on Wednesday, Senator Okpebholo said though he welcomes the NWC’s decision to declare last Saturday’s controversial primary election in Edo State inconclusive, he cannot ignore the decision of other aspirants, who have called him and agreed to boycott the exercise if Governor Uzodinma remains chairman of the primary election committee.

He said, “This morning (Wednesday), many of the other aspirants called me to say they do not want Governor Hope Uzodinma to come back to Edo State as Chairman of the Committee. We do not want him to come to Edo for the inconclusive primary. If he comes, we will boycott the election.”

Glo

Describing the decision of the NWC as the right thing to do amid the controversy that marred last Saturday’s exercise, Senator Okpebholo said, “The party felt in its wisdom that the Chairman of the Committee, Governor Hope Uzodinma, has made a lot of mistakes which some of us described as fraudulent. It was wrong for him not to get to the collation center and then proceeded to announce results that were yet to be collated. So we have agreed with the position of the party.”

THEWILL recalls that on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, the NWC of the party declared the Saturday primary election inconclusive and said the decision was taken in good faith to enable the party to address all outstanding issues that arose from the primaries.

The Party National Publicity Secretary, Barrister Felix Morka, who spoke with newsmen after the meeting that lasted over three hours, said; “The NWC resolves that the Edo State governorship primary election has not been completed and has now fixed Thursday, February 22, 2024, for the completion of the APC primary election process.”

The APC spokesperson however declined further media enquiries on the decision taken by the Party’s hierarchy on the exercise which interestingly triggered controversy with the emergence of three different candidates.

The controversy arose on Saturday, February 17, after the Chairman of the APC Primary Election Committee and Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, declared a member of the House of Representatives, Dennis Idahosa, as the winner at Protea Hotel, Benin-City, while Senator Monday Okpebholo was declared the winner by Stanley Ugboaja, the Returning Officer for the election which held at Lushville Hotel and Suites and concluded at the residence of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, also in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

On his part, the spokesman of the local government returning officers for the primary election, Ojo Babatunde, declared a serving member representing Etsako Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Anamero Sunday Dekeri, winner of the exercise.

Thereafter, the three ‘candidates’ went on to demand that the NWC should issue them a Certificate of Return as the duly elected flag bearers of the Party for the September 2024 Edo State governor election.

In the emerging confusion, aggrieved party members invaded the Secretariat of the party and drove out the officials.

Later the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Edo State, Dr Anagum Onuoha weighed in and declared that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC observed the primary election exercise at Lushwille Hotel and Suites, which the NWC of the party listed as the venue.

He said, “Our own responsibility is to supervise and in doing such supervision, the party will tell us the venue. It is not the state chapter of the party that will tell us the venue.

“The national body will write to the INEC national chairman of the venue, and the date and the time of the primary, and that we have followed strictly.

“We were notified by APC and we monitored the one we were invited to at the Lushville Hotel. I was there, that was where I went.”

Speaking further, Senator Okpebholo said he was sure he would win the primary election anytime it was held, “even if it was held ten times.”

“It was my people that asked me to contest the governorship, it was not my personal decision”, he said, adding, “So, I am sure I would win anytime the primary election is held by my party. The people have trust and faith in my ability and capacity and I am a loyal party man. That was how I won my senatorial seat against all odds during the biting petrol scarcity and crisis that followed the government’s Naira redesign policy before the 2023 general elections.”

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Amos Esele is the Deputy Editor of THEWILL Newspaper. He has over two decades of experience on the job.

Amos Esele, THEWILLhttps://thewillnews.com
Amos Esele is the Deputy Editor of THEWILL Newspaper. He has over two decades of experience on the job.

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