HeadlineEDO 2024: PDP, APC, LP, Kick off Battle For Osadebe House

EDO 2024: PDP, APC, LP, Kick off Battle For Osadebe House

GTBCO FOOD DRINL

February 24, (THEWILL) – The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, recently informed all the 18 registered political parties in the country that Saturday February 24, 2024 would be the deadline date for the completion of primary election of their governorship candidates ahead of the upcoming September 21 governorship poll in Edo State.

As if by agreement, all of them scheduled their primary elections for last Thursday and Friday, leaving a one-day window to meet the Commission’s deadline. In reality, however, the parties, particularly the governing Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC and the Labour Party had to battle internal crises before holding their primary elections.

The All Progressives Congress, APC, which had organised its election a week before the deadline date found itself scrambling for space after controversy trailed the Saturday, February 17 election conducted under the chairmanship of the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma.

Glo

The governor had announced House of Representatives member, Dennis Idahosa, winner with 40,505 votes, while the collation of result was still ongoing. Infuriated by this impunity, other aspirants, particularly Senator Monday Okpebholo who was leading the pack,according to figures announced by the Returning Officer, Stanley Ugboaja, protested against Uzodinma’s verdict.

Ikpeobholo

Sources said President Bola Tinubu was miffed at the information about the election fiasco and asked for a repeat of the primary with fairness and transparency.

Faced with a presidential marching order amid a divided house, the Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje led-National Working Committee, NCW, which had earlier congratulated Idahosa made a U-turn and scheduled another primary.

Like the APC, the governing Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Labour Party had their own headaches too. PDP went into the primary election a divided house, following the lingering supremacy battle between Governor Godwin Obaseki and Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu. The Labour Party managed to overcome a serious crisis due to the arrest and detention of its National Chairman, Julius Abure in Benin-City, the Edo State capital over allegations of conspiracy and murder on the Wednesday, February 20th date scheduled for the primary election. On top of that was the disquiet in the party caused by the petition to INEC by an aspirant, Olumide Akpata, who accused the party of foot dragging over the organisation of its primary.

Mr Akpata, a former National President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, made four allegations in his petition, to the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.

According to the former NBA President, the security agencies were unaware of the party’s congress and primaries; there was lack of information and transparency regarding the primary election leading to a mass departure of aspirants from the party; there was a complete blackout of information on the venues for the 192 ward congress scheduled to hold on 20th February, 2024; and the party had failed to publish the specific guidelines detailing a step-by-step process governing the ward congress and primaries.

National Publicity Secretary of LP, Obiora Ifo and his state chapter counterpart, Comrade Sam Uroupa, however, described the allegations as inaccurate and explained that the party was pulling all the stops to overcome its challenges and hold the primary, which it eventually did on Friday afternoon.

PDP

In the end, the PDP held its election at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium. At the end of the one-sided election, Barr Asue Ighodalo emerged the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the September 21, polls.

Zamfara State Governor and returning officer of the election, Dauda Lawal, who declared Ighodalo winner of the primary, said Ighodalo secured 577 votes to defeat other aspirants in the race.

Ighodalo, according to the released results, beat his absent but closest runner-up, Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu, as well as Anslem Ojezua, Mr Felix Akhabue, Mr Martin Uhomoibhi, Hajia Hadizat Umoru, Mr Osaro Onaiwu and Mr Arthur Esene to win the ticket of the PDP for the off-season September 2024 governorship election.

Spotting a heavy presence of police and other security operatives, the primaries were held under the supervision of representatives of the party’s National Working Committee NWC and monitored by INEC officials.

Two aspirants, Barr. Omosede Igbinedion stepped down for Ighodalo, while Hon. Ogbeide Ihama announced his withdrawal from the contest before voting commenced.

The results as announced after counting by the Electoral Committee, are as follows

Anslem Ojezua 0, Felix Akhabue 0, Philip Shuabu. 1, Amb. Martins. 0, Barr. Esene. 0, Asue. Ighodalo 577; Omosede Iginedia stepped down for Ighodalo. Ogbeide Ihama withdrew. 6 votes were recorded as voided.

In a dramatic turn of events, Edo Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu was declared the party candidate in a parallel primary conducted by his faction of PDP.

The parallel governorship primary, which was reportedly held at Shaibu’s residence in Benin, had Bartholomew Moses as the Returning Officer. He said the Deputy Governor won the exercise with over 301 votes in an election he was the only candidate.

Ighodalo said at his acceptance speech: “I am only a tool in this process and I promise you all I will be a good tool. By the grace of God, Edo State will move from where Governor Obaseki stopped,”

Background

Mr Asue Ighodalo is a consummate lawyer, successful business person and corporate guru. He is a founding partner of Banwo and Ighodalo, a leading Nigerian corporate and commercial law firm. His core areas of practice are Corporate Finance, Project Finance, Securities and Capital Markets, Energy and Natural Resources, and Mergers and Acquisitions.

He was until recently, Chairman of the Board of Nigeria Breweries Plc and Sterling Bank

Academic Qualifications: He hold a B.Sc Economics, University of Ibadan; LL.B (Hons) London School of Economics and Political Science 1984; BL., Nigerian Law School, 1985.

He hails from Ewohinmi in Esan South East Local Government Area in Edo Central Senatorial Zone.

APC

The All Progressives Congress (APC) declared Monday Okpebholo, the senator representing Edo Central in the National Assembly, as the winner of its rerun governorship primary election for the September 21 governorship election in Edo State.

The APC, last Thursday, held a fresh direct primary election across the 192 wards in the 18 local government areas of Edo State after it declared last Saturday, February 17 shadow election inconclusive.

Nine aspirants contested the election after three aspirants, including Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, former Deputy Governor, Lucky Imasuen, and a former permanent secretary, Earnest Afolabi Umakhihe, withdrew from the governorship race. Others included Professor Osariemhem Osunbor, ex-Minister of State for Budget, Clem Agba and Anamero Dekeri.

Earlier, the APC had mandated a seven-man Governorship Primary Election Committee chaired by Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, to supervise the direct primary election. He failed, having manipulated figures in favour of House of Representatives member, Dennis Idahosa on the bidding of Senator Adams Oshiomhole. This led to protest and the National Working Committee, NCW, whose National Chairman, Abdullahi Ganduje had congratulated the Idahosa, made a U-turn and declared the primary election inconclusive.

The party, however, replaced Uzodimma with Cross River State Governor, Bassey Otu, who supervised the fresh primary election through Thursday night to Friday morning.

Declaring the results of the shadow election on Friday, at the collation centre, Lushville Hotel and Suites, Gapiona Avenue, Government Reservation Area (GRA), Benin City, Otu said Okpekholo polled 12,433 votes to defeat his closest rival, the lawmaker representing Ovia constituency in the House of Representatives, Dennis Idahosa, who scored 6,541 votes.

Okpebholo told THEWILL: “I look at Edo State as a backward state. The crucial thing now is for somebody who has a people-oriented background to develop the state. With me, there will be a change for the good.”

Background

Okpebholo hails from Irrua in Esan Central Local Government also in Edo Central Senatorial zone like Ighodalo.

His biodata says: “Okpebholo, whose name also coincides with his Okpebholo ancestry, was popularly nicknamed Akpakomisa from childhood because of his survival of the tough times occasioned by the numerous water borne disease at that time.”

LP

Mr Akpata emerged winner of the governorship primary election of the Labour Party, conducted on Friday afternoon. The Returning Officer for the election and Deputy Governor of Abia State, Ikechukwu Emetu, declared Akpata as the winner after collating the results.

Emetu said the former NBA President polled 316 votes to emerge the winner of the exercise.

Akpata said after his victory: “My interest is for the People of Edo State. And what I find out in politics and governance in Nigeria today is that the people have been taken out of the equation. Nobody cares about the people.”

Background:

Olumide Akpata hails from Edo South Senatorial zone. He is the first Non-Seniour Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, to assume the office of the president of the NBA and also first NBA president to get married while in office to Osayomon Michelle Ogbebor, a lawyer, in 2022.

He is also a senior partner and the Head of the Corporate and Commercial Practice Group at Templars law firm in Nigeria.

He had his early education in Warri, Delta State before proceeding to King’s College, Lagos for his secondary education.

He later proceeded to the University of Benin, Edo State where he obtained a Bachelor degree in law and was called to the bar after graduation.

Akpata began his legal career in Delta State under the mentorship of Dr. Mudiaga Odje, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, one of the most experienced litigators of his time.

In 1996, Akpata moved to Lagos where he formed a law firm, Templars with his cousin, Oghogho Akpata. He is currently a senior partner and Head of the Corporate and Commercial Practice Group of Templars.

Battle Ahead

Between the politician, Senator Okpebholo and the two technocrats, Ighodalo and Akpata, an exciting three-horse race has kicked off. Akpata comes from Edo South Senatorial zone, which also had a senator representing the zone at the National Assembly on the platform of Labour Party, a big plus for the governorship candidate. Senator Okpebholo, represents Edo South at the National Assembly. Ighodalo has the backing of Governor Obaseki, the chairmen of the 18 local government areas and the party’s machinery. With the relative strength of their structures, the three candidates face a grueling battle royale for Osadebe House on September 21, 2024.

About the Author

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

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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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