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Race to succeed Oshiomhole begins; Deputy Governor Pius Odubu slugs it out with Godwin Obaseki, others in Edo APC Guber Primary

By Nelson Dafe, Benin City on 18/06/2016

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The primary election of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is holding today in Edo State, from which a successor to the incumbent Governor Adams Oshiomhole is to emerge.

After months of campaigning to win the hearts of party delegates who would decide who becomes the party’s flag bearer in the governorship poll scheduled for later in the year, 12 aspirants would know their fate later today at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, venue of the party’s primary.

The front runners in the election are Godwin Obaseki (who is widely believed to have the backing of the incumbent governor) and Deputy Governor Pius Odubu.

Security in and around the stadium has been tightened up amidst accusations by some supporters of some aspirants of a non-level playing field for the primary election.

Edo State Police Commissioner Chris Ezike on Friday briefed newsmen of the Command’s readiness to ensure that the primary is conducted without violence. He revealed that over 1,200 personnel of the force have been deployed to the venue of the primary to ensure peace and order.

CP Ezike stated: “I want to say that the police in conjunction with other security services are ready to do the needful, to provide safety and security to the delegates, officials, aspirants themselves and their agents.

“We are also ready to provide security to the good people of Edo State so that there will not be any bitterness, rancour and acrimony in the course of the primaries.

“As you are aware the party sets the rules in the primaries, so our jobs is to police the rules as set, however, violence is not a tool in an election.”

Against the backdrop of a tensed and desperate race for the party’s ticket, Governor Oshiomhole has appealed for unity amongst the aspirants in today’s contest.

He said: “My plea is let’s maintain our friendship. Let’s not scandalise ourselves. The only regret I have is that some seem to be more vicious in the course of this intra-party contest than even focusing. I tell them that what we do in APC is that service delivery and infrastructural development is a way of life in our party, and that explains why even six months or less than six months to the end of my tenure, we are still flagging off new projects when others can’t even pay salaries. I want to service the bond between Edo electorate and the All Progressives Congress as a party so that I will leave the ladder stronger than I met it. That is the tradition I am coming from. This party, whoever it fields, will build on APC tradition which is about service to the people, changing our way from the politics of our opponent which is share the money. So, our party remains the best in the State which is why in your free will, you have chosen to contest on its platform.”

Whoever emerges today will likely be facing the leading candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Secretary to the State Government Osagie Size Iyamu, who himself left APC following complaints of a lack of internal democracy in the ruling party.

APC has a huge task managing the post-primary health of the party, as losers today would be likely tempted and wooed by the PDP. It remains to be seen whether the winner today would have the sophistication to assuage the feelings of losers and win a more united backing going into the governorship polls and whether the losers will show political maturity to rally behind the winner to ward off the PDP’s onslaught.

What is likely though is that with the power of incumbency and federal might being a huge factor in Nigerian politics today, whoever emerges the winner in today’s APC primaries will be most likely the man to become governor of Edo State later this year.

Source News Express

Posted 18/06/2016 11:19:31 AM


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