Edo guber: Okpebholo gets return certificate as Idahosa leads protest to APC secretariat

The declared governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Monday Okpebholo, has received his certificate of return.

The development is coming even as one of the governorship aspirants in the said primary election in Edo state, Hon. Dennis Idahosa, led a massive protest to the national secretariat of the party, demanding justice.

While presenting the certificate to the candidate, APC National Chairman, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, said the party is on the way to win the election because the party has produced a sellable candidate.

Ganduje said: “Three aspirants were declared as “candidates” That process was not concluded and I asked the Committee to go back. Coincidentally, the chairman of the Committee had a presentation to make at the National Economic Council and that’s why he could not go back to conclude the exercise. That was why his deputy, Governor of Cross Rivers State became the new chairman.

“I am happy to tell you that as we directed, as we monitored, the Direct Primaries took place in 192 wards. We have the record, the results were collated in each local govt and the results are with us. The results were announced after collation. As a result, Senator Okpebholo scored the highest votes and therefore declared the winner.

“Some of the aspirants came forward to congratulate him. Those who couldn’t, from the report ,we heard, they also called his line.
What is important to us is to win Edo state. We knew what happened in the past, but now we are in the way to win that election, because we believe that we have a product that is sellable, refined, well packaged, a product that we can deliver.”

In his acceptance speech, Senator Okpebholo said his ambition to become the next Edo State governor has no respect for tribal and ethnic inclinations nor religious calculations to build develop the state for the people.

“I shall leverage on the collective strength of all of us and the passion for a greater Edo. I am humbly requesting all my brothers and sisters who contested the primaries with me, to put the contest behind and join me in the challenging task of making Edo State heart beat again with development across the broad spectrum of human endeavour.

“This journey of meaningful development has no respect for tribal and ethnic inclinations nor religious calculations. It is about building Edo by Edo people.

“I will immediately embark on visitation to our political leaders and my co- contestants for unity of purpose. WE ARE ALL IN IT TOGETHER and by God’s grace our great Party APC will return to Osadebe Avenue come November this year.”

Earlier, Hon Idahosa, who was initially declared winner of the primary election by the Imo State governor Hope Uzodimma, also threatened to drag the party to court if justice is not done.

He, however, appealed to President Bola Tinubu Ahmed Tinubu to call the National Working Committee (NWC) to order.

Addressing newsmen at the main gate of the APC National secretariat, Hon. Idahosa said he has submitted protest letter to the APC governorship Appeal Committee, adding that he will take his time to go through the process after which he will proceed to Court to fight for his right against the party.

Idahosa said: “I am not here to make trouble, I am a lawmaker but one thing that we want is justice. Today, I might be a young man but it might be the children of NWC members tomorrow. We have to do the right thing, if we continue to do what is wrong as a country, we are not going to move forward.

“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 because I know that they were in the same hotel in Benin, that’s where they wrote all the results.

“So my fellow party members, I am not here to make trouble, I am only here to seek justice, whatever they have done, if it is not properly managed, I have written yesterday to the appeal panel commitee and I know they will do justice, even if whatever they did, I just want to go through the process, having exhausted the party’s resolve mechanism, I will go further, I will seek justice in the court of law and I will not allow this to stand.”

Also speaking, a lawyer and chieftain of the party from Edo State, who accompanied Hon Idahosa alongside other party members, Barrister Bernard Ekun, said the party was trying to deliberately avoid APC from providing or getting a candidate for the election.

According to him, when something is inconclusive, it invariably means some places have been identified for primaries to be done in those places, but sadly enough, first, nobody came to the field from the other end.

He said: “The governor who was in charge of the purportedly selection primaries said that it was going to be a fresh election. Between me and you, when you know the issue of INEC, there is supposed to be twenty-one days notices from INEC for that primary. Nothing of such and we are out of time.

“Are you people saying that the selection process you have done, which you called a fresh election should be acceptable to us? No”

When asked for their demands, Ekun said: “Our demands is that 17th February primaries stands. That is known to Law. What they have done is kangaroo selection.

“What these people have done is that they have sold their responsibility, the excellence in them, they have sold as reasonable men. They have sold it for a Chinese cusuine, they have sold it for egg fries. But if you want to go to the Bible, they have sold it for a pot of porridge. And it will not stand!

“People were in the hotel sleeping, how will they have been able to get a result? Even INEC did not observe this selection, kangaroo thing they said they were doing. So what you have seen is that there is no election, we stand on 17th because that is the only one that is duly observe and fallen between the ambit of the law.”