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Thursday, April 18, 2024

APC Primary: Idahosa’s supporters protest Okpebholo’s candidacy 

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The crisis rocking the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, over the conduct of the party’s governorship primary continued unabated yesterday as supporters of Dennis Idahosa protested the outcome of the primary.

AFRIPOST reports that on February 17, 2024, Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, then chairman of the governorship primary committee declared Dennis Idahosa candidate of the party, Dr Stanley Ugboaja Uzoamaka, the chief returning officer of the primary, declared Senator Monday Okpebholo candidate while Ojo Babatunde, the Etsako Central local government returning officer, declared Anamero Dekeri Sunday candidate of the same exercise.

The development, which created confusion within the party, however, led to the declaration of the exercise inconclusive by the National Working Committee of the party and an order for its completion.

After the exercise which took place on February 23, across the state, the Governor of Cross River State, Bassey Otu, who replaced Governor Hope Uzodinma as the chairman of the primary also declared Senator Monday Okpebholo, the party’s candidate.

Not satisfied with the declaration of Okpebholo as the party’s candidate, Dennis Idahosa stormed the national headquarters of the party with supporters to protest the conduct and outcome of the governorship primary.

The supporters, in continuation of the protest on Monday, also stormed the secretariat of the Edo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, to appeal to the NWC to declare Dennis Idahosa the candidate of the party, having been declared the governorship candidate by the Hope Uzodinma-led committee.

The protesters were armed with placards of various inscriptions such as “We say no to the governorship primary of February 23, “Give us our mandate, give Denco his mandate, No Denco No APC, APC governorship candidate is Denco, give us our mandate for democracy sake, Edo APC youths have spoken for Dennis Idahosa among others

Speaking with newsmen, the leader of the group, Harrison Okpamen said the February 22, rerun primary was in violation of the provision of the 2022 Electoral Act.

Okpamen contended that in the rerun primary, aspirants were not given equal opportunities of being voted for by party members at the designated centres at the wards that make up Edo State.

He also alleged that party members present to vote did not have their votes recorded by any known office of the party’s National Secretariat.

According to him, the primaries of 17th and 22nd February 2024 were not conducted by open secret ballot by APC as required by relevant provisions of the APC constitution and the declaration of Senator Monday Okpebholo is not only unlawful but a gross violation of the APC constitution.

“Quite clearly the result sheets used for the announcement of results were completed in the National Secretariat of the party as it did not flow from the reality on the ground in Edo State”, he said.

He, however, urged the NWC of the party to set aside the declaration of Senator Okpebholo as the candidate of the party by the Governor Otu-led committee and declare Dennis Idahosa the rightful winner of the primary based on the strength of available extant documentary evidence.

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