The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has finally endorsed the winner of the party’s June 18 governorship primary, Godwin Obaseki, as its candidate for the September 10 governorship election.
But there was a growing apprehension yesterday within the ranks of the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the possibility of missing out on the Edo governorship election following unresolved issues around its dual candidacy status.
In a statement issued by the party’s National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, yesterday, the APC said it had upheld the governorship primaries as valid after due consideration of the appeal committee’s report.
“The appeal committee in its report submitted noted that the Edo State APC governorship primary was valid and while not dismissing the seriousness of the allegations and claims of the petitioners, the issues raised were not compelling as to warrant the cancellation of the primary election,” he said.
Buni urged all APC stakeholders in the state to put the party’s interest over and above personal interests in ensuring a speedy and amicable reconciliation.
THISDAY also gathered that the APC governorship candidate has chosen a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Felix Shuaibu, as his running mate for the election.
The Election Appeal Committee chaired by Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, a former member of the House of Representatives and other members including Mustapha Salisu and Mrs. Ekwy Onyido, had while submitting its report to the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, assured that it had done everything to the feelings of all the contenders.
The appeal committee said it received petitions from two other aspirants, Kenneth Imansuagbon and Chris Ogiemwonyi to consolidate on his involvement in reaching out to all aggrieved parties.
The committee also recommended that a high-powered committee be set up by the party to reach out and mediate between the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole and all the aggrieved aspirants who participated in the primary election.
Meanwhile, PDP which is seen as the main opposition in the Edo State governorship contest is under threat of losing the chance of fielding a candidate in the state governorship election just as the deadline for the submission of names of candidates is said to have been fixed for today, July 12.
The emergence of two rival candidates, Pastor Ize-Iyamu from the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker committee and Mr. Mathew Iduoriyekwemwen, chosen by the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction, has put the state PDP in a crisis situation.
When asked to comment on the status of the state PDP with regards to the submission of its candidate for the governorship election, the Deputy Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nick Dazang, said the commission has so far received names of governorship candidates for Edo State election from six political parties, excluding the PDP.
Dazang, who spoke with THISDAY on telephone, said as at 4p.m. yesterday, only the six parties, including the APC had submitted names to the commission.
However, Dazang expressed the hope that the PDP would be able to resolved its differences and still submit its candidate’s name between yesterday and today (Tuesday).
Similarly, the Chief Press Secretary to the National Chairman of INEC, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said the commission was yet approve any the rival PDP governorship candidates by yesterday.
However, while the mainstream PDP leadership led by Senator Makarfi had engaged in trouble-shooting meeting yesterday to find ways out of the quagmire, the Sheriff-led group said it had filed its candidate’s name at INEC.
The former Vice Chairman of the PDP who was recently appointed Deputy National Chairman of the Sheriff’s factional leadership, Dr. Cairo Ojuogboh, yesterday told THISDAY that they had submitted the name of Iduoriyekwemwen to the INEC.
Ojuogboh who spoke with THISDAY on telephone, insisted that Sheriff was still the authentic national chairman of the PDP and that it was in that capacity the he obtained the governorship forms, completed it and submitted same to INEC.