PDP, APC, LP others brace for Edo guber race

The race to Edo state Government House has started on a bumpy note as leading political party’s elect their flag bearers, KEHINDE OSASONA writes.

The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), alongside other political parties in Edo state, including the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party (LP), among others, are all gearing up for governorship election in the state.

These political parties held primary elections to elect their flag bearer in the 2024 governorship election in the state. The elections were, however, not without drama and controversies.

The three major political parties as well as others have since presented their candidates and have started the process of outwitting one another ahead of the September 21, governorship in the state.

While Mr. Asue Ighodalo emerged governorship candidate of the PDP; the duo of Monday Okpebholo, and Olumide Akpata, won in APC and LP primary elections, respectively.

Other winners were Patience Key of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA); and Dr. Isaiah Osifo, who also emerged the candidate of the People Redemption Party (PRP).

Blueprint Weekend findings revealed that after the drama, controversy and betrayal that greeted the just concluded primaries in the state, the candidates jostling to succeed the Governor Godwin Obaseki have started flexing their political muscles across party lines.

APC

At the APC governorship primary election which initially produced two candidates, report has it that there was disruption of the voting exercise and violent attack by suspected political thugs.

The Governor Hope Uzodinma-led APC Governorship Primary Election Committee announced Hon. Dennis Idahosa as the winner of the direct primary election, having polled 40,453 votes to defeat other aspirants.

Uzodinma said, “Of the 12 aspirants that contested for this primaries, Clem Agba scored 100 votes; Monday Okpebholo 100 votes; Hon. Dekeri Anamero 230 votes, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu two votes; Gideon Ikhine 700 votes; David Imuse 400 votes; Charles Airhiavbere 162 votes; Osariemen Osunbor 180; Blessing Agbomhere 50 votes; Dennis Idahosa 40,453 votes; Ernest Afolabi two votes; and Lucky Imansuen two votes.”

Uzodinma said Idahosa, having polled the highest number of votes cast by party delegates, was the winner of the Edo state APC governorship primary election.

However, in a twist of events, officials of the National Working Committee (NWC) appointed as returning officers, led by Dr Stanley Ugboajah, declared another aspirant, Senator Monday Okpebholo, as the winner of the primary election.

The chief electoral officers while making their own declaration said, “Dr Blessing Agbomhere scored 834, Charles Airhvbere scored 919, Osareime Osunbor 688, David Imuse 507, Monday Okpebolo 12,145 votes, Dennis Idahosa, 5,536, Ernest Afolabi 2,090, Gideon 902, Ize-Iyamu 383, Anamero Dekeri 1,625, Lucky Imansue 503.

“This is to certify that Monday Okpebholo has scored the highest votes, has been declared the winner of the APC governorship primaries,” Ugboajah declared.

PDP

A similar scenario played out in PDP as the two primaries elections were held in the state. Hence two candidates were produced to flay the party’s flag in the governorship election.

While the Zamfara state Governor, Dauda Lawal-led primary election produced Asue Ighodalo, the parallel election threw up Comrade. Phillip Shaibu, the embattled deputy governor in the state.

Shaibu was declared winner with 300 votes while Ighodalo in another primary that was held at the Samuel Ogbemudia won with 577 votes.

The Lawal-led committee said a total of 594 delegates were elected to participate in the primary, while 585 delegates were accredited to vote.

Announcing the final votes, the chief returning officer said Asue Ighodalo scored 577 votes, while his closest rival Philip Shaibu scored one vote.

He said Anselm Ojezua, Osaro Onaiwu, Felix Akhabue, Martins Uhomoibhi, Hadizat Umoru, Arthur Esele, scored zero votes, while Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama and Omosede Igbinedion withdrew from the race.

Amidst claims and counter claims, Okpebholo and Ighodalo have since been awarded Certificate of Return at a ceremony organised by their parties in Abuja.

While authenticating the primary that produced Ighodalo as against Shaibus, the acting National Chairman, PDP, Ambassador Umar Damagum, insisted that there was no other parallel primary, arguing that the party recognised only the election that produced Ighodalo.

By every implication and body language, the party appeared to have pitched its tent with the former.

Damagun at the presentation ceremony nevertheless urged the winner to embrace his fellow contestants.

He said, “I’m urging the candidate to go after your fellow candidates and make them see the reason you must work as a team so that Edo will be an easy ride for us.”

APGA

Dr Isaiah Osifo emerged the Edo State All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate for the governorship election slated for September.

Osifo, who promised to end poverty and return the state to prosperity and dignity, also said that the next government of Edo state will be rooted in knowledge and democracy, saying it would enable people to draw a distinction between candidates and political parties.

Describing the battle for the soul of Edo as one that would be fought and lost as between Edo people and against the political godfathers, Osifo said, “At the commencement of the campaigns in April, the people of Edo state will draw a distinction between candidates and political parties that are rooted in colonialism and those that are in politics to serve and to return Edo state to true democracy and development.

…PRP too

Following the primary election held at the PRP secretariat in Benin, Patience Key, a healthcare professional and President of the Nigerians in Diaspora Chamber of Commerce, who hails from the Igueben Local Government Area of Edo state, emerged victorious as the PRP governorship candidate.

The primary election, which was attended by party members, delegates, and officials from INEC, saw Key being unanimously adopted as the party’s representative.

Speaking after she was declared the winner, Key expressed appreciation to the party for entrusting her with such a significant responsibility, assuring that their confidence in her vision and abilities is both an honor and a motivation to act.

She articulated her vision for Edo state, focusing on economic diversification in areas such as agriculture, technology, and tourism to drive growth, as well as ensuring access to quality education, healthcare, and economic opportunities for all citizens.

APC’s Okpebholo moving from NASS to Govt House

Senator Monday Okpebholo born on June 12, 1962 hails from (Edo Central) Senatorial District at the National Assembly.

He is a member of the APC from Uromi, Esan North-East local government area.

He completed his primary education at Uromi Primary School and his secondary education at Uromi Grammar School.

He had his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics at the University of Benin in 1986 and a master’s in Public Administration in 1990 still from Uniben.

He is a devout Christian married with children.

PDP candidate comes with pedigree

Asue Ighodalo, a Nigerian lawyer hails from Okaigben, Ewohimi, Esan South East LG, Edo State, Nigeria.

Ighodalo attended King’s College, Lagos.

He obtained B.Sc. degree in Economics from the University of Ibadan in 1981, an LL.B from the London School of Economics and Political Science (1984) and a B.L from the Nigerian Law School, Lagos (1985).

Ighodalo is married to Ifeyinwa, and they are blessed with children.

LP’s Akpata too

The former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Osaigbovo Akpata, resigned from Templars, a leading law firm where he served as Senior Partner before joining politics.

His resignation came weeks after he joined the LP and expressed interest in contesting the forthcoming governorship election in Edo state.

Akpata scored 316 votes to win the exercise held in Benin City, the Edo state capital, last Friday.

The LP candidate was born on October 7, 1972 in Edo state. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Benin, Edo state in 1992 and was called to the bar in 1993. He served in the National Youth Service Corps in Kano State.

He was a senior partner and the Head of the Corporate and Commercial Practice Group at Templar’s law firm in Nigeria until his resignation on August 31, 2023 to enable him to pursue partisan politics.

He became the first non-Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 28 years to be elected president of the NBA in July 2020.