February 24, 2024

EDO GUBER: How Okpebholo floored Idahosa, won APC ticket


*My victory’s quit notice to PDP -Okpebholo
*Dekeri kicks, alleges rigging

AFTER days of accusations and counter-accusation of manipulations, the All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday concluded its Edo State governorship primaries, declaring the Senator representing Edo Central, Monday Okpebholo as its candidate.

He polled 12,433 votes to defeat his closest rival, Hon Dennis Idahosa, the member representing Ovia Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, who scored 6,541 votes. Idahosa had the backing of former Edo State Governor, Senator Adams Oshiomhole.

Declaring the results, the Chairman of the APC Edo Primary Election Committee, Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State said: “Sen Okpebholo, having satisfied all the requirements of the party and scoring the highest number of votes in this Edo State governorship primary election is hereby declared the winner.”

Otu urged the other aspirants and leaders of the party to put the primary behind them and prepare for the September 21, 2023 election. He announced the votes scored by aspirants as follows: Blessing Agbomhere, 731 votes; Charles Airhiavbere, 1,181; Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, 378; Okpebholo, 12, 433; Dennis Idahosa, 6, 541; Clem Agba, 2, 732; Lucky Imasuen, 493; David Imuse, 423; Oserhiemen Osunbor, 634; Gideon Ikhine, 728; Anamero Dekeri, 2, 566 and Ernest Umakhine, 2, 117.

Otu thanked officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and security agencies adding that in every contest there must be a winner and appealed to other aspirants to rally round Okpebholo.

Recall that the trio of Okpebholo, Idahosa and Dekeri, had after primaries last Saturday laid claim to the APC ticket. While Senator Hope Uzodimma, the chairman of the primaries committee returned Idahosa as winner, Okoebholo was declared as winner by the returning officer of the primaries. Also, local government returning officers announced Dekeri as winner.
The development created division among the National Working Committee, NWC, members, and the Governor Uzodinma-led committee and members of the state exco.

Following petitions from the aspirants and other stakeholders, the NWC declared the primaries as inconclusive and fixed yesterday for the conclusion of the exercise to be handled by Gov Otu, who was co-chairman with Uzodimma
Dekeri kicks

Shortly after the Committee declared Okpebholo winner, Dekeri protested the outcome saying it was manipulated. He told journalists: “I mobilised 65,000 people for this primary, in my election to the House of Representatives, I scored over 100,000 and then in this primary election, they said I scored about 2.000 votes. This is a charade as far as I am concerned.” He said he would decide his next line of action.

However, Hon Emmanuel Momoh, who spoke on behalf of Okpebholo, expressed gratitude to the members of the committee for a thorough job done, adding that the victory of Okpebholo marked the end of the ruling PDP in Edo State.
I’ll ensure massive development in Edo – Okpebholo

An elated Okpebholo, in his reaction on telephone, thanked members of the party for the overwhelming support and confidence reposed in him to fly the party’s flag. He said: “if elected as governor in September, Edo state will witness massive infrastructural development in all sectors of the state.

“This victory serves as a quit notice to the PDP, the present tenant at Osadebey’s Avenue, the seat of power. My emergence is a victory for all, no victor, no vanquished.”