I Won Edo APC Primaries with over 6,000 Votes, Senator Okpebholo Insists

•Dekeri storms Ganduje’s office, demands certificate of return 

•Group passes confidence vote on Uzodimma, urges support for winner 

•Youths take over party secretariat, vow to sack state executive

Sunday Aborisade, Juliet Akoje in Abuja and Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in last Saturday’s governorship primaries in Edo State, Senator Monday Okpebholo, has insisted that he defeated his closest rival, Dennis Idahosa, with over 6,000 votes.

Also, one of the governorship aspirants claiming victory in the primary election, Hon. Anamero Dekeri, has stormed the office of the National Chairman of the party, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, demanding his Certificate of Return as winner of the election.

Relatedly, a group under the aegis of the APC Renewed Hope Coalition, Edo State chapter, yesterday, passed a vote of confidence on the Chairman of the party’s governorship  electoral committee and Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinnma, over the conduct of the primaries.

This was as angry youths and women of the APC in the state, yesterday, took over the party secretariat,  and demanded for the sack of the state executive members led by the acting Chairman, Jarret Tenebe.

However, Okpebholo, who said though thugs disrupted the collation of the process, the final tally showed that he won convincingly with a commanding majority.

The Edo Central lawmaker in the senate, in a statement in Abuja, urged his supporters to remain calm, and rest assured that justice would be served at the end of the day.

He maintained that as candidate of the party, he was certain of returning Edo State to the APC.

“Let me use this opportunity to thank and appreciate all APC members of Edo State for nominating me as the party’s candidate for the governorship election come September 2024. I am immensely humbled by the trust and confidence reposed in me.

“You will recall that the National Working Committee (NWC) of our great Party, APC, nominated highly reputable officials to officiate in the primary election scheduled for the 17th of February 2024 with Dr. Stanley Ugboaja, as the State Returning Officer.

“After the primary election, which was adjudged to be very peaceful, the collation of results commenced at the designated centre by the collation officials in the presence of INEC officials, the Press, the law enforcement agencies and other party stewards.

“Surprisingly, while the collation of results was ongoing and upon the declaration of eight (8) local government, some irate thugs suspectedly commissioned by my closest rival, Hon. Dennis Idahosa, who had only won two (2) local governments as against my six (6), stormed the venue of the state collation center and disrupted the process by beating up collation officials, party representatives, the press crew and others.

“To my amazement and that of well-meaning members of our great party in Edo State, information currently reaching me from Benin City, Edo State has it that the same thugs that disrupted the collation of result as earlier stated, also invaded the state secretariat of the party early this morning.

“They destroyed and looted valuables in the offices in the guise of purportedly looking for the result of the primary election, which was never conducted by the State Executives of the party.

“Let me use this opportunity to commend the State Retuning Officer Dr. Stanley Ugboaja and other members of the Committee for their resilience in continuing the collation and subsequent official declaration of final results after the urgent medical attention rendered to the injured members.

“It is now on record that the total votes scored by me is twelve thousand one hundred and forty-five (12,145) as against my closest rival, Hon. Dennis Idahosa who scored only five thousand, five hundred and thirty-six votes (5,536)

“As a result, I enjoin you not to be deterred by rumours from other quarters as I am very optimistic that justice will prevail at the end. I am convinced that the National Working Committee of our great party, under the able leadership of  Abdullahi Umar Ganduje will ensure that truth will prevail over falsehood.”

But Dekeri, yesterday, stormed the secretariat and formally presented a letter requesting the Ganduje-led NWC to immediately issue him the certificate of return.

The one-page letter personally signed by him requested the NWC to issue him the certificate of returns, having polled the highest votes in the election and having been returned by the local government returning officers.

This, nonetheless, convener of the the APC Renewed Hope Coalition, Edo State chapter, Mr. Stevens Jim, described Uzodinnma as the face of new democracy for his ability to ensure a transparent, free and fair primaries in the state.

“At this point, we will like to commend Governor Hope Uzodimma for his exemplary leadership and commitment to deepening democracy in Nigeria because under his watch, the just concluded APC primaries in Edo State stand as a shining example of transparency, fairness, and integrity in the electoral process.

“Governor Uzodimma and his team’s dedication to upholding the principles of democracy has ensured that every eligible member of the party had an equal opportunity to participate and have their voices heard.

“In a time where the credibility of electoral processes is often called into question, the electoral committee headed by Governor Hope Uzodimma has set a new standard for conducting primaries by prioritizing transparency and inclusivity.

“The smooth and orderly conduct of the primaries across the 18 local government areas of the state is a testament to APC’s unwavering commitment to upholding the democratic ideals upon which our nation was founded.

“We unequivocally pass a vote of confidence on the Governor Uzodimma led Electoral committee for conducting a free, fair and credible primaries”, the group said.

Meanwhile, angry youths and women of the APC, who took over the party secretariat,  were led by the State Youth leader of the party, Tony Adun.

They forced their way into the offices and brought out the furniture, and other office equipment, vowing to stay at building for the next seven days.

Speaking, Adun said they were protesting against the conduct of the officials at Saturday’s primary election of the party, which threw up three winners.

He vowed that they would not leave the premises until the exco did the right thing. They also said they would cook, eat and stay there for seven days.

Related Articles