Edo: Okpebholo’s victory over Oshiomhole’s anointed candidate an advantage – Lukman

Former Vice Chairman, North West of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, has said the fact that Senator Monday Okpebholo defeated a godfather anointed choice would make his candidacy appealing to the people of Edo State.

The APC chieftain also commended the national leadership of the party over successful outcome of the governorship primary held in Edo state.

He, however, appealed to Senator Okpebholo to seek peace with other aspirants that sought for the party ticket.

Lukman in a statement at the weekend commended the Abdullahi Umar Ganduje-led NWC for declaring the exercise held last week which produced Dennis Idahosa as inconclusive.

In the statement ,”Prospects for Reclaiming APC,” he noted that with its pronouncement on the reversal of Senator Hope Uzodinnma led panel on Honourable Idahosa’s victory ,the APC NWC wittingly halted what could have been the path to its easy defeat in the September election.

“It was quite worrisome that the APC was almost setup for another electoral disaster in Edo State. Without attempting to overlook one of the critical challenge of political party development in Nigeria, which is about instituting 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 reorganising the Primary Election Committee and then allowing a level playing field to guarantee the emergence of a popular candidate based on majority votes.

“Unlike previous cases whereby the Primary Election Committee practically allocates votes to aspirants and declare an anointed person as the winner, it is also commendable that the reorganised APC Primary Election Committee under the leadership of His Excellency Otu chose the path of honour by allowing fair contest to produce the winner of the primary. ”

“Is Sen. Okpebholo the popular candidate APC need to win the Edo 2024 Governorship election?

“First, the mere fact that he could stand out and successfully become the arrowhead against imposition of candidate in APC for Edo 2024 election suggest that he enjoys strong support within the APC. Secondly, being the first person to have defeated the PDP since 1999 to emerge as the winner of Edo Central Senatorial zone is indicative of his popularity. Are these enough to guarantee victory for APC? Certainly, not.

“But what all these mean is that they provided the strong political foundation needed for a strong campaign structure for APC in Edo State. If anything, it can be said without fear of contradiction that Sen. Okpebholo will not be carrying the baggage or liability of any so-called Godfather. That alone is a source of political attraction in a state whose people are known to be very combative
against Godfathers.

“If anyone aspiring for political office in Edo State misses this point, then such a person should not expect victory in a fair election. However, notwithstanding the combative orientation of Edo politics against Godfathers, any candidate also desirous of winning election in the state must be a unifier.”