Edo 2024 Primaries: APC gets three candidates

BENIN CITY— CONTROVERSIES trailing Saturday’s Edo State governorship primary election of the All Progressives Congress, APC, widened, yesterday, as a third candidate, Mr Anamero Dakeri, has emerged. Few hours after the primary election held in 192 wards of the state, Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, who is the chairman of the seven-man election committee for the exercise declared Dennis Idahosa as the winner.

However, the Returning Officer of the process, Dr Stanley Ugboajah declared Senator Monday Okpebholo as the winner at the private residence of one of the aspirants, who earlier stepped down from the race. Nevertheless, the local government returning officers early, yesterday, declared Anamero Dakeri as the winner of the contest.

Their spokesperson, Ojo Babatunde said Dakeri polled 25,384 votes, while Idahosa polled 14,127 votes. With this development, three people, Idahosa (Edo South), Okpebholo (Edo Central) and Dakeri (EdoNorth) are claiming to be candidates of the APC for the September 21 governorship election. Idahosa is said to enjoy the support of Senator Adams Oshiomhole and some APC leaders. Okpebholo has the backing of some APC top shots, who want power-shift to Edo- Central and Dakeri is favoured.

APC truly a progressives party – Idahosa

Idahosa in an acceptance speech, commended the national leadership of the APC led by Dr Abdulahi Ganduje and called for collaboration from all stakeholders for the APC to win back the state.

He said “The APC, is undoubtedly a truly progressive party, and it has continued to deepen democratic values through popular participation and robust engagements, that guarantee a level playing field for all.

I hereby highly praise and thank the leadership and members of our great party for yet again setting such a high standard. It has been a tough political contest between all the aspirants: we all campaigned across the state, to woo registered party members to support our respective aspirations; counting down from months to weeks and then days. We have finally come to the end of the first major hurdle- the primary election, which has now given me the mandate to be the flagbearer of our great party. It is a victory that I will forever cherish in my political journey all through my life.

“No doubt, this primary election was one that was keenly contested; fielding eleven other aspirants against me. They are all political heavy weights in the state and I salute them all. It was indeed an election that reflected the wishes and yearnings of the majority of our members across the 192 wards in the state as ably demonstrated by the outcome. This election has further deepened our party’s internal democratic process and taken us a step further ahead of other political parties on how to promote party cohesion for positive outcomes.

“For me, this victory is not just for Dennis Idahosa alone, but for the entire members of the APC in the state, and the National Headquarters including my fellow respected contestants, who have shown great commitment to taking our party to a higher level.

“With the outcome of this primary, we have made a bold statement about our resolve to return Edo state to APC and I assure you that the great people of Edo State will vote us as their choice for governor on 21 September, from when we will overturn the vicissitudes that have plagued our dear state around, without delay.”

It’s time to unite —Dakeri

In his acceptance speech at his campaign office in Benin City, Dakeri said he has accepted the choice of the members of the party as their candidate and extended a hand of fellowship to the other aspirants to enable the APC win the election.

“At this point, I must acknowledge my co-contestants and great party members who put up a commendable challenge during the contest. Your participation I must say helped deepen democracy in our party. You fought gallantly and with passion. We might have disagreed during the campaigns which is not unusual in any contest, however our members have made a choice.

“There is no victor and there is no vanquished. It is APC that has won. Democracy is the winner. Therefore, I invite you to join hands with me and let us match together, shoulder to shoulder, with great strength and commitment and remove the temporary occupant at Osadebey Avenue – the PDP come September, 2024,” he appealed.


In the meantime, Sen Okpebholo has faulted the congratulatory message by Ganduje to Idahosa.

Senator Okpebholo, who spoke through the Director of Media and Publicity of Senator Monday Okpebholo Governorship Campaign Organisation, Godswill Inegbe, said Ganduje as the father and respected leader of the party couldn’t have hurriedly issued a congratulatory message when controversies and other issues characterised the announcement of the results.

Mr Inegbe noted that in his phone conversation with the Chief Press Secretary to the National Chairman of APC on Sunday morning, Mr Edwin Olofo, neither confirmed nor acknowledged that the statement came from him.

He said his principal had implicit confidence in the national and state leadership of the great party to ensure that the victory of Senator Monday Okpebholo in the February 17th APC primary election was upheld.

Agba threatens legal action

Indeed, the immediate past Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, who was an aspirant, while condemning the exercise said many people were disenfranchised and that the votes did not count. He, in a statement, claimed that he won the primaries saying he would explore all available means to seek redress while remaining a loyal member of the APC. The statement read in part: “Unfortunately what we have all witnessed in the APC primaries in Edo State on Saturday February 17, 2024 falls below the minimum standard of democratic elections that is universally acceptable. “I believe strongly that thousands of loyal party members were disenfranchised.

Based on the authentic turnout, we clinched victory. The result so far announced is a ridicule and undermines the principles of democracy and fair play. “While I remain a loyal party member, I will not be part of a process that robs the mass of our loyal party members of their inalienable right to vote. “Such Impunity that the people have been subjected to should have no place in our great party. We will proceed speedily within the guidelines laid down by our party to seek justice.”

APC stakeholders disown Uzodimma’s result

Also, the APC Stakeholders Forum, one of the support groups in the party has asked the national chairman of the party to disregard the results of the primary election declared by Uzodimma because he was not the chief returning officer of the exercise.

The APC had on Saturday afternoon asked Nigerians to disregard any result that did not emanate from the Uzodimma committee. Speaking after an emergency meeting of the stakeholders in Abuja, yesterday, spokesman of the forum, Mr Emmanuel Godwin accused the Uzodimma committee of usurping the duties and responsibilities of local government returning officers in the Edo State primary.

Godwin congratulating Dakeri on his victory in the primary, said: “As critical stakeholders of the party, we stand with Dekeri. We stand by him and we want to assure the good people of Edo that succour is on the way. “In this instance, we have been inundated with news that a particular candidate was announced yesterday by His Excellency, Hope Uzodimma who incidentally is the chairman of the primary election committee, Edo State.

It is unfortunate that Hope Uzodimma who is not the returning officer in whatever capacity assumed the position and went ahead to announce Dennis Idahosa when the returning officers were still collating the results. “We wish to therefore state categorically that the purported announcement is null and void and it should be disregarded in its entirety.

Governor Uzodimma lacks the power to usurp duties and responsibilities of local government returning officers in the Edo State primaries.”

They called on Ganduje and President Bola Tinubu to discard Governor Uzodimma’s declaration of Idahosa, who they claimed didn’t win the primaries.

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