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Edo Guber: Fresh crisis hits APC as aggrieved aspirant alleges rigging, rejects Sen. Okpebholo as governorship candidate

It is not yet Uhuru for the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as one of the foremost aspirants in the party’s governorship primary held on Friday, Mr Anamero Dekeri, rejected the outcome of the primary, which threw up Senator Monday Okpebholo as the party’s candidate.

Dekeri, a member of the House of Representatives representing the Etsako Federal Constituency, scored 2,566 votes as against Okpebholo, who polled 12,433 votes.

Shortly after the Primaries Committee led by Governor Basset Otu of Cross River State declared Okpebholo the winner, Dekeri rejected the results and vowed to challenge them at the appeal panel.

He alleged that the conduct of the primaries lacked transparency and was skewed in favour of Okpebholo.

Dekeri, also known as Danco, wondered how, after he had mobilised over 65,000 votes, he would now score just above 2,000 votes

The Friday exercise, it would be recalled, was a rescheduled one as the earlier primaries held last Thursday produced three candidates: the persons of Okpebholo, Mr. Dennis Idahosa, the member representing Ovia Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, and Dekeri himself.

The development forced the National Working Committee of the party to cancel the results, remove Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State as the Chairman of the Primaries Committee, and ask for the rescheduled primary, which took place on Thursday through Friday at the advertised venue for the exercise.

The Uzodinma-led primaries committee had declared Dennis Idahosa the winner, while Dr. Stanley Ugboajah, the Chief State Returning Officer, declared Okpebholo the winner.

The Chairman of the new Election Committee and Governor Otu announced the final result of the exercise in the capital, Benin, after collating results from 18 local government areas.

Senator Okpebholo polled 12,433 votes to defeat 11 other aspirants who contested the primary election.

Otu announced the votes scored by aspirants as follows: Blessing Agbomhere, 731 votes; Charles Airhiavbere, 1,181; Ize-Iyamu, 378; Sen. Monday Okpebholo, 12, 433, Dennis Idahosa, 6, 541, Clem Agba, 2, 732; Lucky Imansuen, 493; David Imuse, 423; Oserhiemen Osunbor, 634; Gideon Ikhine, 728; Anamero Dekeri, 2, 566; and Ernest Umakhine, 2, 117.

Otu said twelve aspirants contested for the party’s governorship ticket, and Sen. Monday Okpebholo, having satisfied all the requirements and having scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared the winner.

He specifically thanked officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and security agencies, adding that in every contest there must be winners, and he appealed to other aspirants to rally around Okpebholo.

He called on all members of the party to remain united in order to ensure victory for the party in the September 21st governorship election.

Mr Emmanuel Momoh, who spoke on behalf of Senator Okpebholo, expressed gratitude to the members of the committee for a thorough job done, adding that the victory of Okpebholo marked the end of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State.

Elated Okpebholo, in his reaction, thanked members of the party for the overwhelming support and confidence reposed in him to fly the party’s flag.

He said that if elected governor in September, Edo State would witness massive infrastructural development in all sectors of the state.

He said his victory served as a quit notice to the PDP, the present tenant of Osadebey’s Avenue, the seat of power, noting that his emergence was a victory for all, saying “no victor, no vanquished.”

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