Edo 2024: APC gets three candidates

Three candidates have emerged as APC flag bearers as controversies trails Saturday’s Edo State governorship primary election of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

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 (Edo North) 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.

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.”

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 cocontestants 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.

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