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Ighodalo wins PDP ticket with 577 votes

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Foremost lawyer and investment banker, Dr Asue Ighodalo, has emerged the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Edo State.

He defeated eight other aspirants in a peaceful but security-tight primary election at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.

One of the aspirants, Omosede Igbinedion, stepped down for him on the election ground “for the interest of the party.”

Also, immediate past House of Representatives member, representing Oredo federal constituency,  Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, stepped down from the race.

Ighodalo, who is believed to be Governor Obaseki’s preferred aspirant, scored 577 votes to beat Mr Anselm Ojezua, Arthur Esele, Osaro Onaiwu, Martins Uhomoibhi, Hadizat Umoru and Felix Akhabue, all scoring zero vote, while six votes were voided out of the 585 accredited delegates.

The Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, who had earlier emerged a factional candidate in a parallel governorship primary election, scored one vote.

Ighodalo was declared winner of the primary election by the Chairman of the Edo PDP Primary Electoral Committee and Governor of Zamfara State, Dauda Lawal, and the Co-Chairman and Governor of Delta State, Sheriff Oborevwhori.

Lawal declared: “The committee having carefully sorted out and counted the votes found that Ighodalo scored 577 votes, Philip Shaibu scored one vote, while others got zero. By the powers vested in me by the National Working Committee, NWC, of the PDP, pursuant to the Constitution of our great party, the PDP, as the Chief Returning Officer of the 2024 Edo PDP Primary Election, I hereby declare Asue Ighodalo as the winner of the just concluded primary election with a total vote of 577.

“Therefore, I hereby return the elected as the PDP candidate for the forthcoming governorship election in the state.”

Ighodalo extends hand of fellowship, promises inclusiveness.

In his acceptance speech, Ighodalo thanked Governor Obaseki and the people of Edo State for their love and support noting that the governor has laid the foundation for him to build upon, if elected. He promised to assemble young men and women for his government to turn the state around.

“I want to thank you for making me a tool, and I promise you that I will be a useful tool and by the grace of God, Edo State will move from where Godwin Obaseki has carried us, to the next level. I want to thank Godwin Obaseki for the wonderful work he has done in the last seven and half years. I know that in a year or two people will keep talking about Obaseki.

“We have not seen the value of the work he has done, but he is like a builder laying the foundation for a 100-storey building. No man is perfect,we will all continue to repair and work on each other’s mistakes. I thank him and his wife for supporting him tremendously and giving him the strength to go through the vicissitudes of the last seven years. I promise to assemble the best young men and women to turn the state around.”

Ighodalo, while commending the delegates, leaders and members of the PDP for the confidence reposed in him, promised to work with all stakeholders to transform the fortunes of Edo people and lead the state on the path of prosperity and greatness, if elected.

He said: “I promise all the good people of Edo State; those in Edo State, in Nigeria, and in the Diaspora that I will work tirelessly for our state. I will assemble our best hands to move our State to the next level and I promise you all that I will give you my all.”

Reiterating the need for a united party to win the September 21, 2024 election in the state, Ighodalo said it is only with a formidable and united front that the PDP can excel and succeed in the mission of retaining its seat at Osadebey Avenue and consolidating on the impactful work the party has started in the state.

We can’t afford to get it wrong in Edo — Obaseki

Earlier, while welcoming guests to the primary election, Godwin Obaseki,said: “Today, we are going through an exercise that has been stipulated by our party. Even though it’s statutory, the exercise will be life-changing because Nigeria is going through difficult times and we can only overcome the challenges we are facing as a country with the right leadership.

“If we in Edo do not begin to show the right leadership that will begin to reset Nigeria, God forbid, we may all be in trouble. PDP is the only party that has what it takes to rule this country. Again, we are showing the example in the way we are conducting our leadership selection process.

“We are following our rules very assiduously; my role as a host governor is to welcome all of you who are here, starting with our members who elected the delegates that are carrying out this exercise today. Thanks to members of the State and National Working Committee of our great party, the PDP for being steadfast in the rules. I also thank all the aspirants for exercising the spirits of sportsmanship.”

The election attracted the who is who in the PDP in the state including former governor Lucky Igbinedion; former Foreign Affairs Minister,  Tom Ikimi; Speaker of Edo State House of assembly, Blessing Agbebaku; Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Osarodion Ogie, who is being touted to be the running mate to Ighodalo; former Chief Whip of the Senate,  Roland Owie; Owere Dickson Imasogie; council chairmen from the 18 LGAs; and members of the state executive council, among others.

However, conspicuously missing were members of the Legacy Coalition group of the PDP led by the Vice Chairman, South-South of the party,  Dan Orbih; a member of the Board of Trustees, BoT, of the party, Charles Idahosa; and many members of the State Working Committee, SWC.

Gunshots as Shaibu emerges as candidate in a PDP parallel primary

Meanwhile, some members of the PDP held a parallel primary that produced Philip Shaibu as the candidate.

While some delegates were being accredited to proceed to the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, venue of the primaries, another set of delegates met in a facility in Commercial Avenue where they announced Shaibu as the PDP elected candidate.

They claimed that they went to the venue for accreditation but were chased away by security agencies. They also alleged that the list of delegates published by the national leadership of the party was not the authentic one alleging that they saw names of people from Bayelsa State and names of people who are members of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Declaring Shaibu winner of the election, Bartholomew Moses said: “During the counting of this primary election, Philip Shaibu has a score of 301 votes and therefore, we hereby declare Philip Shaibu as the authentic elected candidate for this election in the PDP.”

The people had barely finished their exercise when gunmen invaded the venue. They were dressed in vigilante outfits and came in several vehicles including two black unmarked Toyota Hiace Trucks, an unmarked white sienna, white Hilux and several other vehicles. They were shooting sporadically into the air and the people scampered into different directions for safety

Before the election, the delegates led by Festus Owu went to the deputy governor’s official lodge where they complained to him that they had been disenfranchised.

Speaking to the protesting delegates, Shaibu said: “I appeal to all of you to be peaceful, I don’t want anybody to be injured, I don’t want anybody molested and I am happy the way you have conducted yourselves peacefully and have come to report to me that you were not allowed to be accredited. I want to tell you that no one man can determine the destiny of a people and by the grace of God they cannot disenfranchise you people.

“The law is clear that you people are the authentic delegates. Now that they have pushed you away, they want to go and replace you but I assure you that your votes must count, they cannot change and replace your names. I assure you that I will take your protest to the committee that is coming but you must remain peaceful in everything you are doing.”

Speaking to journalists later, Shaibu said: “I saw the crowd outside and I asked who they were and they said they were delegates. I said they should be directed to the venue of the accreditation but they said they were protesting because they had been sent away from the venue of accreditation.

“They won their election as delegates and they have their results. The election will hold and if a winner emerges with fake delegates, the election will not see the light of the day but if a winner emerges with the authentic delegates, there will be no problem, I am sure.”

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