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Edo gov’ship: Disquiet in APC as 3 candidates emerge

There is disquiet in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as three governorship candidates emerged from parallel primary polls held on Saturday in Benin, ahead…

There is disquiet in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as three governorship candidates emerged from parallel primary polls held on Saturday in Benin, ahead of the Edo State governorship election slated for September 21.

Recall that while a member of the House of Representatives, Dennis Idahosa, was earlier announced winner by the chairman of the APC Primary Election Committee, Governor Hope Uzodimma, at Protea Hotel in Benin City, Senator Monday Okpebholo was declared winner by the Returning Officer for the election, Dr Stanley Ugboaja, at the residence of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Similarly, the local government returning officers for the APC governorship primary election declared Anamero Sunday Dekeri the winner of the contest.

The spokesman of the local government returning officers, Ojo Babatunde, who announced the result on Saturday night, said Dekeri, a member representing Etsako Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, polled a total number of 25,384 votes to defeat his closest rival, Dennis Idahosa who scored 14,127 votes.

But addressing newsmen on Sunday in Abuja, the APC Stakeholders Forum led by Emmanuel Godwin, said Governor Uzodimma lacks the power to usurp duties and responsibilities of local government returning officers in the exercise.

He said, “We wish to therefore state categorically that the purported announcement is null and void, and it should be disregarded in its entirety.”

Reacting to the parallel announcements yesterday, the APC’s National Working Committee had insisted that only the Governor Uzodinma-led committee had the constitutional authority to announce the results of the Edo governorship primary election.

The party’s national publicity secretary, Felix Morka, in a statement late Saturday, said the public should disregard any results announced by “unauthorised persons”.

“The attention of the National Working Committee of our great party has been drawn to a live broadcast on major national television stations and online news outlets of results of the ongoing Edo State APC governorship primary election by some unauthorised persons,” Morka said.

“We wish to state categorically that only the Governor Hope Uzodinma-led Edo State APC Governorship Primary Election Committee is duly authorised to undertake final collation and announcement of results of the primary election in the state.

“We urge all party members, officials in the state, and the public to disregard the said announcement of results by these unauthorised persons,” he added.

Recall, however, that the national chairman of the party, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, while inaugurating the Governor Uzodinma’s committee last Thursday, said, “Whatever you (committee) do, the contestants are free to appeal. That is why we have an appeals committee which is like the Supreme Court.”

In a related development, the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State council, yesterday, condemned the attack on journalists by suspected thugs during the APC primary election in the state.

Recall that some journalists were manhandled and their gadgets destroyed while covering the February 17 gubernatorial primaries of the APC.

The union also gave APC in the state a 7-day ultimatum to apologise to the union or face media war.

Addressing journalists in Benin, the council’s chairman, Comrade Festus Alenkhe, said the council resolved, among others, “That APC, Edo State, is expected to replace all the damaged equipment of journalists that were covering the event and pay medical bills of injured journalists during the attack.

“The Commissioner of Police in Edo State should help fish out all those who were responsible for the attack and ensure that they are prosecuted.

“We want to request very strongly that the management of the hotel where the incident happened make available to us the CCTV footage of the incident as it will help the police in doing their investigations.”

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