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Edo Governorship Primary: Idahosa Leads Protest To APC, Threatens Court Action

“Elections were held on the 17th of February. What they did on the 22nd was just selection.”

One of the governorship aspirants in the just concluded All Progressives Congress (APC) primary in Edo State, Hon. Dennis Idahosa, has called on President Bola Tinubu to call the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to order.

He has also threatened to challenge the outcome of the party’s primary in court.

This came as a former National Vice Chairman (North-west) of the APC, Dr. Salihu Lukman, has said that it was worrisome that the ruling party was almost set up for another disaster in Edo State

Recall that the governorship primary election held on February 17 was conducted under the supervision of the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma who was Chairman of the Primary Election Committee.

The controversial primary election saw the emergence of three candidates – Hon Dennis Idahosa, Senator Monday Okpebholo and Hon. Anamero Dekeri.

It was based on this controversial outcome that the leadership of the party replaced Uzodimma with the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Bassey Otu who conducted last Thursday’s rescheduled election that produced Senator Okpebholo as the APC gubernatorial candidate for the September 2024 election.

Reacting, Idahosa, who led a protest to the national secretariat of the party yesterday, said the rescheduled primary elections, which took place last Thursday was mere ‘selection’.

Addressing journalists at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja, he said he had submitted a protest letter to the APC Governorship Appeal Committee.

He noted that he would take his time to go through the process after which he would proceed to court to fight for his right against the party.

“So, I am calling on Mr. President to call NWC to order. Elections were held on the 17th of February. What they did on the 22nd was just selection.

“I challenged one of the LGA returning officers to give me – show me a picture of him in the local government headquarters where he said he collated the results and he was just blabbing; there was nothing like election because I know that they were in the same hotel in Benin; that’s where they wrote all the results,” he alleged.

On his part, a chieftain of the party from Edo State, who accompanied Idahosa alongside other party members, Bernard Ekun, said the party was trying to deliberately prevent APC from providing or getting a candidate for the election.

But in his own reaction to the election, Lukman in a statement issued yesterday stressed that the February 17 primary was marred with a series of allegations of malpractices.

He added: “Everything about the February 17 APC primary election turned out to basically replayed all the old scripts of attempts to manipulate the emergence of a particular aspirant as the governorship candidate of the APC for the September 2024 Edo election.”

The party chieftain stressed that this was almost exactly the script acted in 2020 that produced Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the candidate for Edo State governorship election in 2020, adding that the slight difference was that Senator Adams Oshiohmole is not currently the National Chairman of the APC.

Lukman noted: “It was quite worrisome that the APC was almost set up for another electoral disaster in Edo State.

“Without attempting to overlook one of the critical challenges of political party development in Nigeria, which is about instituting a transparently democratic process of candidate selection process within our political parties, it is a source of pride that the APC NWC under the leadership of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje was able to quickly arrest the drift, which would have confirmed the APC as an undemocratic party.

“It is quite commendable that the leadership of the APC was able to retrace its steps by first re-organising the Primary Election Committee and then allowing a level- playing field to guarantee the emergence of a popular candidate based on majority votes”.

Adedayo Akinwale

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