The Peoples Democratic Party in Edo State, on Sunday, conducted an election (congress) to pick delegates that will participate in the party’s February 22 governorship primary.
The exercise was, however, trailed by an uproar as nine out of the 11 PDP governorship aspirants boycotted the exercise.
Also, the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, who was the chairman of the three-man committee in charge of the Edo delegates election, withdrew from the exercise.
But the Governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah, who is said to be the deputy chairman of the committee, commended the large turnout of party members for the delegates election.
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, described Makinde’s withdrawal from the process as unfortunate but said it would not undermine the credibility of the exercise, which, he said, witnessed a large turnout of party members.
The nine governorship aspirants, who boycotted the delegates election, were Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, Anselm Ojezua, Felix Akhabue, Ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi, Hafia Hadizat Umoru, Omosede Igbinedion, Dr Earl Osaro Onaiwu and Arthur Esene.
They wrote a protest letter to the PDP acting National Chairman, Umar Damagum, and sent a copy to the National Vice Chairman South-South, Chief Dan Orbih.
The nine aspirants complained about the composition of the committee conducting the delegates election.
Speaking to party members at the George Idah Primary School, GRA, Benin, the collation centre for Ward 2, the Enugu State Governor said, “This is democracy where our people come to exercise their franchise. We appreciate this turnout. Our party is known for the principles of fairness, equity and justice. I wish you to all conduct yourselves properly as we hold this election.”
In Ward 7 at Ugbekun Primary School in Ikpoba-Okha Local government, Dr. Major Itemowe led others to conduct the exercise while in Oluku Ward, Kunle Koya from Lagos State conducted the exercise.
Speaking to journalists in his Ward 4 collation centre, Idia College, Governor Obaseki said the crisis in the party was being blown out of proportions and that it would not affect the outcome of the governorship election.
He said, “You can see from the crowd here that it is a lot of success due to the huge turnout. We had over 600 people coming out to participate here; our people are very politically aware and we are happy with this turnout to elect delegates for a our governorship primary. We are also expecting this huge turnout in the main election.”
On the resignation of Makinde, Obaseki said, “It is unfortunate that Makinde withdrew. There are three governors and he is only one of the three that withdrew, which does not remove the credibility of the process. What makes a process credible is the quality of the participation. You can see the turnout; so it is unfortunate that Governor Makinde had to take such a decision. I hope that all our efforts to continue to unify the party and pacify all stakeholders will continue. We are not deterred at all, we are going to make sure that the PDP plays its role in the politics of this country.”
Speaking on the non-participation of members of the Legacy Coalition of the PDP, he said, “You cannot have a 100 per cent participation. You can see the crowd here. When we were in the APC before we joined the PDP, we didn’t have these numbers. So, it is clear that the people we met in the party are still in the party.
“The crisis is hyped; it is not as fundamental as it is made to look. There is very little crisis, the crisis is fanned from outside and our people are smarter than that. You will see during the main election, we are not going to allow ourselves to be sold.”
When contacted to react to the Edo situation, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said,”It is publicly known that Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, for personal reasons known only to him, resigned as Chairman of the PDP Edo State Ad Hoc Delegate Congress Electoral Committee. We are not aware of any other person who boycotted.”
Also, when contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to Makinde, Sulaimon Olanrenwaju, said he was not aware that his principal resigned.
“I’m not aware that he resigned. I’m not aware,” he said.
Why Uzodimma Was Replaced As Edo Gov Primary Chairman — APC
The ruling All Progressives Congress on Thursday clarified the reason Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State was replaced with his Cross River counterpart, Bassey Otu, as Chairman of the Edo governorship primary election.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, said the governor was “unavoidably unavailable” to complete the primary election, hence the need to replace him with his deputy.
The party announced the changes in a statement issued by APC National Organising Secretary, Sulaiman Argungu on Wednesday.
The changes were made a few hours after four leading Edo State governorship aspirants passed a vote of no confidence in the governor.
The governor had announced Dennis Idahosa as the winner while returning officer Stanley Ugboaja declared Monday Okpebholo as the winner.
Elsewhere, Ojo Babatunde, who claimed to be representing the returning officers in all the local governments, declared Anamero Dekeri the winner of the election.
On Tuesday, the national leadership of the APC in Abuja declared Saturday’s primary inconclusive.
The ruling party, however, raised an eyebrow when a section of the media reported that the Imo State governor was sacked.
The National Publicity Secretary of the APC appealed for understanding, saying the party did not sack Uzodimma as reported.
Morka said, “The attention of the All Progressives Congress has been drawn to reports in sections of the media suggesting that the Governor of Imo State, and Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, His Excellency, Hope Uzodinma, was sacked or dropped as the Chairman of the Edo Gubernatorial Primary Election Committee, and replaced with the Governor of Cross River State, His Excellency, Bassey Otu.
“We wish to clarify that Governor Uzodinma was neither “sacked” nor “dropped”, as has been erroneously reported, but was unavoidably unavailable to lead the completion of the Party’s Edo State Gubernatorial Primary Election Process due to his prior scheduled attendance of, and presentation of a report, to the National Economic Council meeting today February 22, 2024.
“As a result, His Excellency Bassey Otu, Governor of Cross Rivers State, who was the Deputy Chairman of the Committee, graciously accepted to serve as Chairman, and to complete the Edo State Gubernatorial Primary Election Process.
We’ll Defeat Wike’s Candidate Convincingly In 2027 Polls, Fubara’s Supporter Boasts
A former Chief Whip of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Evans Bipi, on Thursday said Governor Siminalayi Fubara’s supporters are ready for the 2027 general elections.
Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, has been at loggerheads lately. Wike, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member is serving as FCT Minister in the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government. The governor also survived an impeachment plot by members of the Rivers State House of Assembly after a peace truce was reached with President Bola Tinubu in Abuja.
Last Sunday, Wike spoke of his readiness for the 2027 elections during a thanksgiving service by Senator Barinada Mpigi in Koroma, Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State. The former governor of Rivers State had said he could not wait for 2027 following the political alliance in his favour.
But speaking at a rally organised by women across the 23 local government areas for the Governor in Port Harcourt, Bipi who represented Fubara, said with the kind of mobilization by the women during the rally, Governor Fubara will win convincingly in any election.
He urged the women, including the non-indigenes and members of pressure groups to continue to support the administration of Governor Fubara.
Bipi said the oil-rich state had not had two leaders in the past, and such imposition cannot be accepted now.
The former lawmaker also tasked the citizens not to be hoodwinked by boastful claims that only one person bought the nomination forms for all the governorship aspirants in the state because the money belongs to the state.
He said the politician making the claim has not had a life outside politics, so the money was part of the public fund in his care.
The women walked for about 6kilometre from the CFC Junction on Aba Road to the Port Harcourt Polo Club in new G.R.A, where they gathered to make a collective demand for peace in the state and respect for the office of the Governor.
Their communique was read by a former Commissioner for Environment, Professor Roseline Konya.
APC Makes U-Turn, Declares Edo Guber Primaries Inconclusive
The National Working Committee, NWC, of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has declared the Saturday governorship primary election in Edo State inconclusive.
The decision followed the controversy that trailed the poll which produced about three different candidates for the September 21 gubernatorial election.
Recall that while Governor Hope Uzodinma, Chairman of the Electoral Committee of the primary election announced Dennis Idahosa as winner of the election, returning officer, Stanley Ugboaja, declared Monday Okpebholo as winner.
Similarly, Ojo Babatunde, who claimed to be a spokesperson for returning officers for all the local governments, declared Anamero Dekeri as the winner of the election.
Following the confusion that shrouded the polls, the party’s leadership met on Tuesday at the APC national secretariat in Abuja.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, the National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka said that the election was inconclusive, stressing that the process would continue on Thursday.
He said, “I am here to give you the outcome of the emergency meeting of the National Working Committee of our party held today regarding the Edo State governorship primary election.
“At its emergency meeting held today, Tuesday, February 20, 2024 to consider the report on the Edo governorship primary election, the National Working Committee of our party deliberated and resolved that the governorship primary election has not been completed and has now fixed Thursday, February 22, for the completion of the APC Edo State primary election process.”
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