Edo 2024: Intrigues as APC picks candidate today

BENIN CITY – BEFORE dawn on Sunday, the All Progressives Congress, APC, would have produced its candidate for the September 21, 2024, governorship election in Edo State through a direct primary election that has been dogged by complaints and allegations of imposition.

For the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the powers that be in the state seem to have yielded to the political machinery of Dr. Asue Ighodalo. who is likely to emerge as the party’s flag bearer on February 22.

Eight of the 10 PDP aspirants are challenging the delegate congress held to elect three ad hoc members per ward that would vote in the primary election which was followed a week later by the election of local government delegates.

In the Labour Party, LP, the number of aspirants has gone down drastically as many of them did not buy the nomination forms while some formed a coalition to support one of their own.

Those who bought LP forms include popular lawyer and philanthropist, Mr. Kenneth Imansuangbon; former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Olumide Akpata; former member of the House of Representatives, Hon Sergius Ogun; and Dr Loretta Ogboro-Okor.

Division in APC over zoning to Edo Central

The APC is divided over conceding the governorship to Edo Central Senatorial District, which has had only 18 months of governorship since 1999 under Sen Oserhiemen Osunbor or retaining the position in Edo South.

There are four aspirants from Edo North amid contrary arguments that the zone produced the minister from the state that is the Minister of the Niger Delta.

An attempt by the leadership of the party to prune the number of aspirants to four failed as 12 aspirants emerged and they have been cleared to slug it out today.

12 APC aspirants lock horns

The 12 aspirants battling for APC governorship ticket are former Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba; the current member representing Etsako Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon Anamero Dekeri; a member of the South-South executive committee of the party, Blessing Agbomhere; retired Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Ernest Umakhihe; the member representing Edo Central Senatorial District, Sen Monday Okpebholo; Businessman, Engr Gideon Ikhine; former governor, Senator Oserheimen Osunbor, and former state chairman of the party Col David Imuse, retd.

Others are former Deputy Governor Lucky Imasuen: Former Executive Director, Finance in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Major General Charles Airhiavbere retd; and the member representing Ovia Federal Constituency, Hon Dennis Idahosa. Pastor Ize-Iyamu withdrew from the race yesterday.

‘Anointed’ four

A ‘Persuasive Committee’ headed by the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, recommended four aspirants – Okpebholo, Imuse, Imasuen and Idahosa to go for the race but their decision has been resisted by some aspirants and their followers accusing the leader of APC in Edo, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of planning to impose Idahosa on the party.

Investigation by Saturday Vanguard indicates that a two-horse race looms between Idahosa and Okpebholo.

While Idahosa is banking on expected support from leaders like Oshiomhole, and his former deputy, Pius Odubu and others, Okpebholo is said to be quietly wooing those who support power shift to Edo Central and some very influential members of the Senate who believe that as the senior member in the National Assembly he should get the ticket ahead of Rep Idahosa. Even Oshiomhole is said to now be indifferent about his emergence. Intrigues.

Argument against zoning to Edo Central

The argument against power shift to Edo Central is that the APC is in opposition and cannot afford to leave out Edo South senatorial district which controls more than half of the total votes in the state.

A top member of the party said: “We are in opposition, and we cannot take the risk of abandoning Edo South. Until the last election, Edo Central is a traditional PDP area so even if we pick our candidate from there, there is the tendency that voters would go the way of the PDP on election day. But if we go for an Edo South aspirant like Idahosa who has been winning elections for the party and two times he defeated the daughter of the Esama in Ovia, APC can win back the state.”

He, however, added that this would have been easily possible “if we have the support of all the leaders of the APC in Edo South but my fear is that after the primary, these other aspirants who are already not comfortable with the mileage Idahosa is getting may not work for the party.”

All card-carrying members of the APC are expected to take part in the direct primary election that will be conducted by the governor of Imo State and Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum, Senator Hope Uzodinma 10 aspirants for PDP’s indirect primary

The 10 aspirants cleared for the PDP’s governorship primary include Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu; former Managing Director of Sterling Bank and boardroom Czar, Asue Ighodalo; former House of Representatives member, Hon Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama; and former chairman of Esan West LGA, Hon Felix Akhabue.

Others are former chairman of the Edo APC, Anslem Ojezua: former House of Representatives member, Omosede Igbinedion; Arthur Esene, Martin Uhomoibhi, and the pioneer Director General of the PDP Governors Forum, Osaro Onaiwu.

Nine of the aspirants had initially opposed the process that led to the emergence of the three ad hoc delegates per ward which election was held penultimate Sunday but Omosede Igbinedion pulled out earlier in the week saying she is abiding by the decision of the party.

The Legacy Coalition group in the PDP that is peopled by many old members of the party loyal to the PDP Vice Chairman, South-South, Chief Dan Orbih and some former members of the APC, who defected to the PDP with Governor Obaseki were rooting for either Ogbeide-Ihama or Shaibu while Ojezua was also gathering momentum.


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