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Confusion As Three ‘Winners’ Emerge In Edo APC Gov Primary

Edo

The confusion trailing Saturday’s governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Edo State deepened on Sunday as Anamero Dekeri became the third aspirant to claim victory in the exercise.

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, who is the Chairman of the Edo State Primary Election Committee, had on Saturday declared a member of the House of Representatives, Dennis Idahosa, as the winner of the exercise with 40, 453 votes.

Elsewhere, the returning officer, Stanley Ugboaja, also declared Monday Okpebholo winner with 12,145 at Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s residence.

Almost simultaneously, the local government returning officers led by Ojo Babatunde, announced Anamero Dekeri as the winner of the contest having polled 25,384 votes.

While the drama continued, the National Chairman of the APC, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, officially congratulated Idahosa for emerging as the party’s governorship flag bearer on Sunday.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Sunday, aggrieved APC stakeholders led by Emmanuel Godwin slammed Uzodimma, for allegedly declaring a winner when collation was ongoing.

The stakeholders rejected the result and called on President Bola Tinubu and Ganduje not to give recognition to Uzodimma’s declared candidate.

Godwin said, “We have been inundated with news that a particular candidate was announced yesterday by His Excellency, Hope Uzodimma. It is unfortunate that 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 the duties and responsibilities of local government returning officers in the Edo state primaries.

“We call on the National Chairman of our great party the APC, His Excellency, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje and President Bola Tinubu. to as a matter of honour discard Governor Uzodimma’s infamous declaration of one Mr. Dennis Idahosa who didn’t win the primaries.”

Also, the Publicity Secretary of the Edo APC, Peter Uwadiae, condemned the result announced by Uzodinma.

In a statement on Sunday, Uwadiae said the action was embarrassing, unfortunate and bizarre.

He said, “The attention of the State Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress has been drawn to some publications wherein the authors aimed at distorting the facts surrounding the conduct and outcome of Saturday governorship primary election that held in the 192 wards of the 18 local government areas in Edo state.

“Most embarrassing, unfortunate and bizarre was the conduct of Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, who instead of sympathising with the returning officers, abandoned them, single-handedly relocated the collation centre upon learning that his preferred aspirant wasn’t winning and then assumed the role of the state’s returning officer without recourse to inputs from the local government collation agents as well as the chief returning officer of the exercise.

“In desperation, he shamelessly appointed one Charity Amayaenvbo, the campaign manager of Hon. Dennis Idahosa, to read the results from a piece of paper.

“As the Chairman of APC governor’s Forum, one would have expected him to retain his status as an umpire, to sue for peace, and not to grossly abuse and ridicule the privilege of his exalted office.”

But the APC National Chairman, Ganduje, in a statement on Sunday by his Chief Press Secretary, Edwin Olofu, hailed the emergence of Idahosa as the winner of the primary as declared by Uzodimma.

He said, “I want to congratulate the winner of the Edo State governorship election, I want to equally commend and appreciate Governor Hope Uzodinma’s election committee for their hard work and the transparent manner in which the primary election was conducted.

“At this point, I want to call on all the aspirants to bury the hatchet and work for the interest of the party so that our party will emerge victorious.“

Meanwhile, Idahosa and Dekeri, on Sunday, gave their separate acceptance speeches.

In his acceptance speech made available to journalists on Sunday, Idahosa said, “This is to accept the mandate given to me by party members in the primary election of the APC which took place on February 17. 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

“It has been a tough political contestation 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.”

On his part, Dekeri, in his acceptance speech, said, “I must praise party members who in their wisdom elected me as their preferred candidate. In all humility and with a great sense of responsibility I accept this choice which I believe is a reflection of God’s choice. From the depth of my heart, I say a big thank you to members of our great party in Edo State for reposing this huge confidence in me, which I must say I do not take for granted.”