Edo APC Guber Primary Crisis Claims Uzodimma, Party Picks Otu as Replacement

Edo APC Guber Primary Crisis Claims Uzodimma, Party Picks Otu as Replacement

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Deji Elumoye, Chuks Okocha and Juliet Akoje in Abuja

The crisis trailing the inconclusive governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State,  yesterday, claimed its first casualty as the party leadership has removed Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, as chairman of the seven man Committee.

In his place, the party has appointed the Cross River State Governor, Senator Bassey Out, as the new chairman to conclude the February 22, 2024 All Progressives Congress’ governorship primary election in the state.

This was believed to have followed a petition to President Bola Tinubu, by some of the aspirants of the party, who demanded  the removal of Uzodimma as Chairman of the Election Committee.

A document signed by the APC National Organising Secretary, Sulaiman Muhammad Argungu, however, disclosed the latest development.

But a former governor of the state, Senator Adams Oshiomhole, has said President Bola Tinubu was against zoning the governorship ticket to any particular part of the state, saying the president was only interested in a free and fair exercise.

At the same time, the Governor of Zamfara State, Dauda Lawal and his Delta State counterpart, Sheriff Oboriewori with some five hundred and ninety-five delegates will today, deicide who would fly the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)flag for the Edo election.

Unfortunately, this came amid the fear of likely court injunctions by some aspirant of the party to stop the primary election.

The APC primary election held on February 17 in Edo State had three candidates claiming to be flagbearer.

Uzodimma’s committee had declared Hon. Dennis Idahosa as winner having allegedly polled 40,453 votes, while Senator Okpebholo was returned winner by the Chief Returning Officer, Dr. Stanley Ugboaja.

At the same time, Hon. Anamero Sunday Dekeri was declared victorious by the spokesman of local government returning officers, Mr. Ojo Babatunde.

As a result, the National Working Committee of the party, at an emergency meeting to consider the report on the election, resolved that the exercise was inconclusive and therefore fixed February 22, for the completion of the process.

Other members of the committee were Shettima Shehu, former Osun State deputy governor, Mrs Titilayo Laoye-Tomori; APC’s flagbearer in Plateau State 2023 governorship election, Nentanwe Yilwatde Goshwe;  Umar Musa, Lawan Garba and Rabiu Suleiman.

Meanwhile, members of the Edo State gubernatorial Primary Election Appeal Committee are C.C Udenwa as chairman, Muhammad Zakaria Sarina, Udogu Anthony Chijoke,  Muhammad Garin Ali and Yunusa Mohammed, among others.

However, the leading APC aspirants, who petitioned Tinubu were Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Lucky Imasuen, Senator Monday Okpebholo and General Charles Airhiavbere.

In a joint statement, they said Uzodinma did not observe the minimum requirements for compliance with the relevant provisions of the laws and regulations guiding the election as provided both in the Electoral Act and in the APC Constitution.

They said they strongly believed that whatever was responsible for Uzodinma’s flagrant disregard for due process and unusual hasty declaration of unconfirmed fictitious results of the primary outside the designated collation centre might not have abated from his mind,

They were of the opinion that the only way to remedy the ridicule and embarrassment that Uzodinma’s tactless and overzealous behaviour was for him to recuse himself.

In the same breath, the African Civil Society Forum, had called on Uzodinma to step aside, having conducted a shabby primary described by Nigerians as a quagmire to build trust on the process.

It said Nigerians, especially the APC members needed to build trust and confidence on the election committee which Uzodinma did not represent.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja, Chairman of Governing Board of the group, Dr. Tunji Asaolu, commended President Bola Tinubu for his timely intervention in the Edo crisis.

He said the president’s intervention which led to the cancellation of the entire exercise has justified his position as a true democrat with fatherly love for all Nigerians.

Asaolu urged all stakeholders involved in the APC primary election in Edo State to play their roles according to the rule of law, fairness, and transparency.

Oshiomhole: Tinubu Not for Zoning But Fair Poll

A former governor of Edo State, Senator Adams Oshiomhole, has declared that President Bola Tinubu was against the zoning of the governorship ticket of the APC to any particular part of the state.

Rather, he said the President was all out for a free and fair gubernatorial primary rerun  scheduled for today, saying the turn by turn arrangement in a political setting kills democracy.

Oshiomhole, who was speaking with newsmen after meeting with President Tinubu queried the APC over its insistence on zoning in the state but looked the other way in Kogi, where the kinsman of former Governor Yahaya Bello took over from him.

He maintained that it would be unfair for the APC to implement zoning in the party’s rescheduled primary for the forthcoming gubernatorial election when it did not do so in Kogi and Benue States.

Oshiomhole, who is representing Edo North Senatorial District in the National Assembly, said the Edo State chapter of the ruling party was not interested in “turn-by-turn democracy.”

He insisted that after discussing the zoning question with President Tinubu, he expressed his commitment to only free and fair primary.

He said Tinubu told him that the rescheduled primary should not be based on zoning but the will of the majority of APC.

Two Governors, 595 Delegates to Decide PDP’s Candidate Today

The Governor of Zamfara State, Dauda Lawal, and his Delta State counterpart, Sheriff Oboriewori, with some five hundred and ninety-five delegates will today, deicide who would fly the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governor.

The two governors with the following members Senator Bayero Nafada, Nella Rabana ,(SAN), Hadizia Mara Mustapha, Felix Hassan Hayti and Senator James Manager would serve as officials that would conduct the primary elections to choose the PDP governorship candidate.

About 695 delegates will be expected to decide the fate of the governorship candidate of the party. The delegates were elected three each from the 192 wards of the 19 local government areas of the state.

In the same manner, 19 national delegates will be part of the delegates that would elect the PDP governorship candidate in an election to take place at the Samuel Ogbemudia Ogbe Court stadium in Benin today.

Those standing for election are the Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, Asuerinme Ighodalo, Omosede Ogbinedion, Anslem Ojezua, Felix Akhabue, Arthur Esene, Omoregie Ihamad Prof. Martin Uhomoibh, Osaro Onaiwu and Umoru Hadizat.

Meanwhile, there is a threat of a court injunction to stop the planned governorship primary election

PDP leaders in the state were said to be jittery after one of the displeased aspirants for the governorship ticket of the party, Alhaja Adizetu Umoru, approached the courts, citing a technical gaffe on the part of the party in the notice for the party primaries.

Court papers cited by THISDAY showed that Umoru had approached a Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside the ongoing process.

Umoru, in her application to the court affirmed that the process was inherently defective in the face of the fact that the notice for the Edo gubernatorial primary was issued by Hon (Arc) Setonji Koshoedo, who she claimed was removed by a court as acting National Secretary of the PDP in January 2024.

She contended that Koshoedo had on February 1, 2024 issued the “Notice of Gubernatorial Primary Elections in Edo State” despite the fact that a Federal High Court presided over by Honourable Justice I.E. Ekwo, had removed him as acting National Secretary and confirmed Senator Samuel Anyanwu as the authentic National Secretary of the PDP on January 9, 2024.

The judgment of Justice Ekwo was delivered on January 9, 2024, long before the notice by Koshoedo was made on February 1, 2024.

Umoru, in her statement of claim deposed that Koshoedo was not in a position upon the provisions of Section 82(1&5) requiring political parties to give notice to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to so communicate with the commission over issues of PDP congresses.

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