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Real reason we lost Edo to PDP, by APC chieftains

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APC Caretaker C'ttee not seeking tenure extension, says memberAPC congratulates Obaseki, says it’s victory for democracy

How 2023 permutations ruined party’s chance

Buhari, Buni, Ganduje meet in Aso Rock

APC was going to win, I don’t know what happened, says El-Rufai

How Oshiomhole, Tinubu cost APC, Ize-Iyamu dearly ― Ojo

Party leaders to meet this week

70 CSOs laud INEC, Police over conduct of Edo Gov poll

Be magnanimous in victory to cool passions, Obasanjo urges Obaseki

By Clifford Ndujihe, Dayo Johnson, Henry Umoru Ikechukwu Nnochiri, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Omeiza Ajayi, Dirisu Yakubu, Chinonso Alozie, Ugochukwu Alaribe, & James Ogunnaike

High wire political intrigues by some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, with regards to who picks its presidential ticket in 2023 may have contributed greatly to its dismal outing in last Saturday’s governorship election in Edo State, Vanguard has learned.

Party leaders yesterday lamented APC’s loss of its only foothold in the South-South, with Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State saying that three weeks to the poll, the party was primed to win but the unexpected happened on Saturday.

A member of the Board of Trustees of the APC, Prince Benjamin Apugo, attributed the party’s loss to internal wranglings.

A chieftain of the party, Jackson Lekan Ojo, fingered what he called the overbearing influence of former APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for the Edo fiasco in which Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP polled 307,955 votes to beat Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the APC, who got 223,619 votes.

A member of APC Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Ismail Ahmed, said the party would do a review to know exactly what happened in Edo.

Meanwhile, torrents of salutations continued to pour in for Obaseki, yesterday, with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and former Senate President, David Mark, urging the governor to be magnanimous in victory to douse tension and continue to keep Edo on the path of growth.

APC congratulates Obaseki, says election not warfare

The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has congratulated Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State on his re-election as governor of the state, last Saturday.

Chairman, Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the party and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, in a statement issued in Damaturu, described the election as a victory for democracy.

The statement which was titled: ‘State Governorship Election: Victory for Democracy’ reads; “September 19, 2020, Edo State Governorship election is over, the winner has been declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the person of  Mr. Obaseki, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. We hereby congratulate the winner of the election, the people of Edo State and all Nigerians. The peaceful conduct of the election and its outcome represent a victory for Nigeria’s democracy.

“As a party, we join our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari to affirm our ‘commitment to free and fair elections’ in order to strengthen ‘the foundation for our political and moral authority’. We commend INEC, our security agencies, and all political parties that contested the election for the successful conduct of the election. As a governing party, we will take every step necessary to support the Federal Government to consolidate all the gains achieved.

“We, in particular, want to salute our candidate in the election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu for his tenacity and leadership. We similarly commend our Edo State leaders, especially our immediate past National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and all our members in Edo State for demonstrating unwavering support for our party and our candidate in the election.

“In the face of all the challenges, we collectively remained faithful and worked tirelessly during the campaigns. We appeal to all our members to be strengthened by the outcome of the election and unite in order to correct all the problems that worked against our party and our candidate in the just concluded election.

“Finally, we specially hereby celebrate our Edo State 2020 Governorship Campaign Council led by His Excellency Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Governor of Kano State. We acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of all members of the Campaign Council. As progressives and democrats, we are confident that all leaders and members of the party will celebrate the outcome of the election as free and fair as acknowledge by our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Let us unite to move our democracy forward. We must put an end to the era when the electoral contests become warfare. We urge our candidate and all our members to join us in congratulating Mr. Godwin Obaseki and the PDP, being the declared winner of the election. Our attention must now shift to Ondo State and ensure that we win the October 10, 2020 election. September 19, 2020,

“Edo election should present a new watershed. We will work hard to win the Ondo election. Having reaffirmed our commitment to free and fair elections, it is our expectation that all opposition parties in the country will also commit themselves to free and fair contests. We will therefore accordingly expect congratulatory messages from all parties just as we similarly guarantee that once we are defeated in a fair contest, we will congratulate the winner.”

2023 permutations

Multiple party sources told Vanguard that permutations ahead of the 2023 presidential election which led to the ouster of the erstwhile National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, was part of what played out last Saturday in Edo.

One of them who had predicted that the ruling party was going to lose the election based on happenings in the party, said: “the Edo election was essentially a contest between the North and the South.”

He said: “What happened in Edo was a result of multiple factors but let me tell you about the ones that concern the party. One, there is the local Edo politics. There were people who had issues with Oshiomhole, even right from when he was governor, and felt it was payback time. That is in Edo.

“Now, within the party, it was you (the media) who reported that some of our governors were not happy that Obaseki was denied the governorship ticket and frustrated out of the party like an ordinary person.

“Well, I do not want to confirm or dismiss that, but maybe we have to ask them (governors) why only two of them were visible in Edo during the campaigns. What happened that the APC could not do a grand finale of its campaigns? In other words, we did not close our campaigns properly. It has never been like that. Even if the President was not going to be there, at least the vice-president would be there.

“We had a 49-member National Campaign Council with about five serving governors, former governors, senators, ministers, and others but the campaigns were reduced to Oshiomhole and Ize-Iyamu.

“I saw only two governors,  Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano who was chairman of the council and his vice, Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo. So what happened? Where were the others?”

Another party source who was a member of the dissolved National Working Committee, NWC, of the party said the governors cannot be exonerated.

He said: “You would recall how some of us had expressed misgivings about the letters or statements that were being written by the D-G of Progressive Governors’ Forum, Salihu Mohammed Lukman. He constantly assailed Comrade Oshiomhole and condemned our campaigns in Edo. Nobody called him to order. What he did was anti-party.

“He claimed to have been speaking in his personal capacity but how could that have been true? He was speaking for his paymasters who have their sights on 2023. These are people who do not want to hear anything Tinubu. Their aim is to deflate Tinubu. They see Oshiomhole as a Tinubu’s man.

“My only fear is that if you deny Tinubu the ticket and give another person, are we sure APC would still remain intact by that 2023 when President Muhammadu Buhari would not be contesting again? Personally, I am not happy that we lost in Edo, having suffered in Rivers and then in Bayelsa. We used to have 23 governors or so, but now I think we have about 19. Are we progressing or retrogressing?

“How can some people revolt against the party just because of one man? What happened in Edo is going to haunt us for a long time. I am happy Governor Ganduje has said that the party needs some soul-searching because what happened is an insight into 2023. I hope they will take him very seriously because he was on ground in Edo as chairman of the APC National Campaign Council.”

Post-mortem

A member of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Ismail Ahmed, said the APC would do a review to know exactly what happened in Edo.

Ahmed who represents the youth demography in the caretaker committee spoke on the sidelines of a meeting with APC social media influencers who he said must be appreciated for their role in selling the party to Nigerians.

He expressed dismay that for the first time the APC does not have a state in the South-South.

Ahmed who conceded that Ondo also remains dicey due to the fact that APC lost the presidential election in the state, said the party would however put its acts together to retain the state.

On APC’s outing in Edo, Ahmed said: “Are you calling that performance dismal? Remember we ran against an incumbent governor and everybody knows the history of the Edo governorship primary and there were a lot of circumstances we cannot explain.

“We actually hoped we would win. We had prepared and we set up a very good campaign council. We thought we had covered the grounds really well but clearly, in an election, there is always a blindside. Maybe there was a blindside that we didn’t see but the party has not officially done a post-mortem which we intend to do this week.

“The National Chairman would probably call us. I don’t know, I am not saying that he will but I am sure he would call for a post mortem to know how far and what went wrong and how we found ourselves in this kind of situation.

“We have another election on October 10 in Ondo. In Ondo also, APC did not win the Presidential election in 2019 and so, that is very dicey. Although we are in a good place; the governor has done most of the reconciliation that he needed to do based on what the reconciliation committee recommended to him. We hope that we are in a good place but we are not going to take anything for granted any longer.

Buhari, Buni, Ganduje meet in Aso Rock

President  Buhari, yesterday, met behind closed doors with Mai Mala Buni, and Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Governor Ganduje was the chairman of the APC Campaign Council for the just concluded Edo governorship election.

Although the meeting was described as private, it may not be unconnected to the Edo governorship election.

The APC Caretaker Committee Chairman, who is also the governor of Yobe State and Ganduje were seen departing the president’s office using a route to deliberately avoid State House reporters.

Ganduje and his Imo State counterpart, Hope Uzodimma, spent the weekend in Benin City as they hoped to oversee the victory of the APC in the poll.

APC set to win 3 weeks ago but… ― El-Rufai

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, yesterday, said he was surprised at the loss of the  APC in the Edo State governorship election because three weeks to the election, polls indicated that the APC was set to win.

“We would have loved to win,” El-Rufai said, during an interview on Sunrise Daily. “Quite frankly I was optimistic. Up to three weeks ago, the polls indicated that we were going to win. I don’t know what happened in the last two, three weeks of the campaign.

“As you know, a large number of voters make up their minds in the last two weeks of the election. Many voters decide, no matter what happens, this is how I am voting. But most people want to wait and watch and make up their minds in the last two weeks.

“Three weeks ago, the polls clearly showed that APC was going to win, but the results came out differently from what we expected.”

However, El-Rufai commended President Buhari for his policy of non-interference in elections.

“The election was reasonably decent,” he said. “We were all worried about violence; there was very little violence or none at all. So Obaseki has won, that’s it. You can’t go into an election without averting your mind to the possibility of losing.”

How Oshiomhole, Tinubu, cost APC, Ize-Iyamu dearly ― Ojo

Jackson Lekan Ojo, an APC top-notcher from Oyo State attributed the failure of the party’s candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, to what he called the overbearing influence of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Reacting to the outcome of the election, Ojo berated Oshiomhole and Tinubu for their display of “unnecessary influence,” adding that the manner Obaseki was treated in the build-up to the APC primary election, won him a huge number of supporters across the state.

In an exclusive chat with Vanguard, Ojo advanced reasons APC failed to pick the only state in the South-South it controlled for 12 years.

“Adams Oshiomhole’s overbearing influence on the campaign train affected the chances of APC and its candidate. I know Ize-Iyamu to be a grassroots politician in Edo State politics but the involvement of Oshiomhole cost him dearly.

“People should realize that the forces that removed Oshiomhole as APC national chairman are still very much around. He was removed even though he was a very powerful party chairman. That means the powers and influence he had then have now reduced drastically. So those forces fought him again and Ize-Iyamu.

“Secondly, Nigerians are not fools. They know that the high level of insecurity in the country has not been well handled by the APC-led government. The same is true of the economy and nothing is working at the moment. So, the people decided to vote against the party.

“The over 200,000 votes Ize-Iyamu got were earned based on his personality, not because of the APC platform. The party added no value to his contest. If APC was of any help, Obaseki couldn’t have reached anywhere.

Ojo also faulted Oshiomhole’s decision to apologize for the words he used in describing Ize-Iyamu during the 2016 governorship campaign saying “I said earlier that Oshiomhole should have withdrawn himself from the campaign. If he was not a member of the campaign team, there would have been no need to apologize for the words he uttered in 2016. The words he used in describing Ize-Iyamu in 2016 were heavy and they became campaign tools for PDP. Oshiomhole played a prominent role in the defeat Ize-Iyamu suffered in this election.”

Be magnanimous in victory, Obasanjo urges Obaseki

Former President  Obasanjo has called on Governor Obaseki to be magnanimous in victory, as it was charitable and would cool passions in the wider interest of the state and country.

Obasanjo said Obaseki’s victory was proof that the people of the state valued his leadership and appreciated his efforts on their behalf.

“I salute you and all those who worked for your re-election,” Obasanjo stated in a congratulatory letter signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, on Monday.

He wrote: “No doubt, the outcome of the election broadly reflects the choice of Nigerians who have, by their conduct, visibly demonstrated that they value our present democracy and will do their utmost to make it work.

“I urge you, therefore, to reciprocate their trust by doing everything you can to strengthen their faith in democracy and in its ability to bring about improved material conditions and better service delivery. I also count on your support of well-meaning Nigerians like me in our quest for national peace, stability, and economic development and trust that you will play an active and visible role in our pursuit of these noble and desirable objectives.

“You have fought and won the elections and deserve to savour the victory despite all the odds and challenges posed by the opposition. As you rejoice, however, I would urge that you should be magnanimous in victory and stretch a hand of fellowship to the other candidates who failed in their bid for the elected office.

“Such a gesture is not only charitable but should also help at this time to cool passions in the wider interest of the nation and your State. You are now, as before, Governor of Edo State and not Governor of only those who voted for you in Edo State.”

APC lost to internal squabbles ― Apugo

Prince Benjamin Apugo, while attributing the party’s loss to internal wrangling, said it was regrettable that APC had to lose an election it could have won convincingly if not for avoidable internal squabbles. “Edo State was APC until few months ago when the governor and his supporters decamped as a result of internal wrangling which some of us think was unnecessary in the first place.”

“I think that enough lessons should have been learned from what happened in Edo State last weekend when APC threw away a state that was in her firm grip, but we are putting that behind us. We are putting what happened in Edo behind us and APC is definitely going to win Ondo and other states in subsequent elections, more so when new blood has been injected into the leadership of the party,” he said.

Jegede congratulates Obaseki, asks Ondo voters to choose good governance

The Ondo State PDP governorship candidate for the October 10 poll, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN has congratulated Governor Obaseki on his victory and asked voters in Ondo to choose good governance.

Jegede in a statement said the result of the election was a manifestation of the people’s conviction that the PDP is a credible alternative that can provide good governance for the people.

The statement was signed by the Head, Media Research of his Campaign Organisation, Samuel Fasua.

“I express personal joy at the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State; particularly for the fact that it symbolised Nigerians’ disenchantment with the ensuing poor leadership under the APC and their conviction that a PDP government is the credible alternative.”

“What has taken place in Edo thus beckons our good people of Ondo State to bear their destiny in their hands, by similarly rejecting these feudal lords posing as democratic leaders, and elect the PDP in the October 10 governorship election,” he said.

I didn’t reject poll result ― Uzodimma

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, has distanced himself from a report trending in the social media that he rejected the result of the Edo governorship election.

Dismissing the report as fake, the governor who listed a litany of similar “fake” reports he said were meant to damage him, said the latest is an attempt to discredit him.

The Imo State government urged members of the public to regard as fake, a press release on the Edo governorship election credited to the Chief Press Secretary to Imo state governor, Oguwike Nwachukwu, and circulated on social media.

The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba said: “In their desperation to discredit Governor Uzodimma on the outcome of the Edo governorship poll, they have cast innuendos; insinuating that he has rejected the outcome of the governorship election and that he had accused the Independent National Electoral Commission of being compromised, and that the All Progressive Congress will get a judgement from the tribunal.

“Their insinuation also includes that the governor said that the entire process was marred by irregularities from INEC officials who, they claimed, sabotaged the system.

Obviously relying on the position of Governor Uzodimma as the APC Deputy Chairman for the Edo Governorship Campaign Council, the criminal-minded writers of the irritating fake news did not stop at that. They had insinuated that the governor described the entire exercise as shameful.

If the authors of the fake reports still have some brain in their head, something would have told them that since Governor Uzodimma is neither from Edo nor Chairman of the APC Media Campaign Council, the mischief they were primed to accomplish will not fly.

“They were also so daft to know that the governor was not a candidate in the said election and would not have spoken on an election he was not a candidate.”

Triumph of people’s will ― Senator Mark

Former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, described the re-election of Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu as the triumph of people’s will.

Senator Mark in a goodwill message to the duo and the PDP family by his Media Adviser, Paul Mumeh, described the victory as freedom for the people and enthronement of democratic culture and practice in the country.

He said that the overwhelming victory of the PDP candidate is a testimony of the people’s endorsement of good governance being demonstrated by the Obaseki/Shaibu administration in the last four years in Edo State, and urged them to be magnanimous in victory by extending hands of fellowship to their opponents and to spread social amenities to all parts of the state irrespective of political differences.

“The entire state is your constituency. Demonstrate leadership and magnanimity as always to all. Be steadfast and work hard as always to justify the mandate and trust of the citizens of Edo State” because “the mandate given to you by the people through their votes is a direct investment that must of a necessity attract dividends for them.”

70 CSOs laud INEC, Police, urge NASS to pass electoral offences commission bill

The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, on Monday, commended the  INEC for conducting what it termed as a much-improved governorship election in Edo State.

The Situation Room which is a coalition of 70 Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, that monitored the governorship election, urged INEC to ensure that the progress made with improvements in its conduct of the election is deepened and sustained during the Ondo State governorship election scheduled for October 10.

The coalition, which issued a statement on reports of observers that monitored the Edo governorship election from commencement of polls to the collation of results, further commended the professionalism and conduct of the Police and some of the security agencies deployed for election duty.

The Situation Room however noted that the menace of vote-trading appeared to have worsened, decrying that “politicians are increasingly investing monies to buy votes, with voters appearing to be willing to sell their votes.”

It urged the National Assembly to urgently proceed with legislative action to ensure the passage of the Electoral Offences Commission Bill that creates a body to enforce respect for election laws.

The statement, which was signed by the convener of Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, read in part: “The administration of the Edo State Governorship Election appears to have been a marked improvement on recent previous governorship elections.

“INEC’s processes appeared to operate smoothly. The logistics issues of distribution of materials, deployment of staff, and challenges in the Voters’ Register were significantly reduced. In addition, security personnel acted professionally.

“The usual issues cited such as logistical challenges and overbearing security presence were less of an issue in this election, although the challenge of vote-buying/trading was still prevalent…

“There was an improved use of Smart Card Readers in the election, as they were widely deployed and utilised across the state. Isolated cases of card reader malfunctions observed were reported to have been rectified, with voting resuming soon afterward.

“On a general note, Situation Room commends the professionalism and conduct of the Police and some of the security agencies deployed for election duty.

“Reports received by Situation Room indicate that security personnel wore identification tags and intervened to resolve disruptions that arose in some voting locations.

“Situation Room however received reports of some Nigerian military personnel harassing and intimidating.

Vanguard

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