Politics

Edo Gov Primary: Uzodimma Booted Out As Chair 

Muhammed Abubakar, Reporting 

THE ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has removed Governor Hope Uzodimma as Chairman of the Elections Committee following the controversies that trailed last Saturday’s governorship primary in Edo State.

He was replaced with his Cross River State counterpart, Bassey Otu ahead of the tomorrow February 22 rescheduled governorship primary.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Wednesday by the APC National Organising Secretary, Sulaiman Argungu.

He said the Cross River governor has now been saddled with the responsibility of conducting the re-run poll slated for Thursday, February 22.

Other members of the Primary Election Committee include former Osun State deputy governor, Mrs Titilayo Laoye-Tomori; APC’s flagbearer in the Plateau State 2023 governorship election, Nentanwe Goshwe; Umar Musa; Lawan Garba and Rabiu Suleiman who will serve as the Secretary.

The change was made a few hours after four leading aspirants called for Uzodimma’s replacement over an alleged compromise in the Saturday primary.

Aspirants like Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Chief Lucky Imasuen, Senator Monday Okpebholo and General Charles Airhiavbere (retd.) said they no longer trusted Uzodimma’s ability to conduct a free and fair election following the controversy that trailed Saturday’s poll.

Governor Uzodimma, who chaired the Edo Primary Election Committee on February 17, had declared a member of the House of Representatives, Dennis Idahosa, as the winner of the contest.

According to Uzodimma, the 43-year-old Idahosa polled 40,483 votes to defeat other governorship hopefuls in the race.

However, the returning officers in the various LGAs in the state announced Sunday Dekeri, a lawmaker representing Etsako Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, as the victor of the primary.

According to the spokesperson of the returning officers, Ojo Babatunde, he said the lawmaker polled 25,384 votes to defeat Idahosa.

Also, the returning officer, Stanley Ugboaja, declared Monday Okpebholo as the winner.

Meanwhile, before the election, at least three aspirants had announced their withdrawal from the race.

The first to pull out was a former candidate in the last election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

He said his decision, although painful, was in the interest of peace and unity of the party.

Last Saturday, other aspirants – Lucky Imasuen and Ernest Afolabi – withdrew from the contest, citing the party’s decision to zone the ticket to the Central Senatorial district of the state.

The ruling party had screened and cleared Idahosa and 11 other governorship hopefuls to contest in the primary.

Following the controversy that trailed the conduct of the primary, the ruling party declared the exercise as inconclusive.

The situation forced the APC National Working Committee to declare the poll inconclusive.

This followed an emergency meeting convened by the party’s National Working Committee meeting on Tuesday night to resolve the lingering crisis arising from the primary conducted by the Senator Hope Uzodimma-led committee, according to the APC spokesman, Felix Morka.

According to the ruling party, a new primary will be held on Thursday to determine its candidate for the September 2024 governorship election in the state.

“At its emergency meeting held today, Tuesday, February 20, 2024, to consider the report on the Edo State Governorship Primary Election, the National Working Committee (NWC) deliberated on the report and resolved that the Edo State Governorship Primary Election has not been completed, and has now fixed Thursday, February 22, 2024, for the completion of the Primary Election Process,” Morka.

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