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Edo APC primary: Ganduje saves the party from disaster – Lukman

signaturetv.org 2024/4/17

A former member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Mohd. Lukman has commended the party’s highest administrative organ over the outcome of the Edo State governorship primary election, saying it saved the party from disaster.

He said if the Abdullahi Umar Ganduje-led NWC had not promptly intervened and upturned the February 17 primary election, the exercise would have caused a drift and confirmed APC as an undemocratic party. 

Lukman, the immediate past National Vice Chairman (North West) of the party while reacting to the outcome of the APC Edo State Governorship primary in a statement in Abuja on Saturday said the process of the exercise and outcome were indications that the party was returning to the path of its founding fathers.

He noted that if the party had allowed the outcome of the February 17 to stand, it would have been heading for another electioneering disaster in Edo State.

It will be recalled that the controversial shadow polls held on February 17 under the supervision of the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma as  Chairman of the Primary Election Committee saw the emergence of three candidates — Hon. Dennis Idahosa, Senator Monday Okpebholo and Hon. Anamero Dekeri.

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Based on the protests and legal threats against the exercise, the party replaced Uzodinma with the Governor of Cross River state, Bassey Otu who conducted the rescheduled election on Thursday that produced Sen. Monday Okpebholo as the APC gubernatorial candidate for the September 2024 election.

According to Lukman: “The February 17 primary was marred with a series of allegations of malpractices. Everything about the February 17 APC primary election turned out to replay all the old scripts of attempts to manipulate the emergence of a particular aspirant as the Governorship candidate of the APC for the September 2024 Edo elections.”

The former Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) said that the exercise was almost exactly the script acted in 2020 that produced Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the APC 2020 Edo State Governorship election, adding that the slight difference was that this time around was that Senator Adams Oshiohmole is not the National Chairman of the APC.

Lukman noted: “It was quite worrisome that the APC was almost set up for another electoral disaster in Edo State.

“Without attempting to overlook one of the critical challenges of political party development in Nigeria, which is about instituting a transparently democratic process of candidate selection process within our political parties, it is a source of pride that the APC NWC under the leadership of Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje was able to quickly arrest the drift, which would have confirmed the APC as an undemocratic party.

“It is quite commendable that the leadership of the APC was able to retrace its steps by first re-organising the Primary Election Committee and then allowing a level playing field to guarantee the emergence of a popular candidate based on majority votes.

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“Unlike previous cases whereby the Primary Election Committee practically allocates votes to aspirants and declares an anointed person as the winner, it is also commendable that the reorganised APC Primary Election Committee under the leadership of His Excellency Otu chose the path of honour by allowing fair contest to produce the winner of the primary.”

The party chieftain then predicted that the September 21 governorship election in Edo State would be keenly contested with the array of candidates to fly the flags of their parties.

He said with the emergence of Senator Monday Okpebholo of APC, Asue Ighodalo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Olumide Akpata of the Labour Party (LP), the governorship election would be keenly contested.

He said: “What is very clear is that given the emergence of Mr Asue Ighodalo and Mr Olumide Akpata SAN as PDP and Labour Party candidates for the same elections, it should be expected that the election will be keenly contested.

“These are two well-accomplished and respected persons. APC needed a popular candidate for the election to contest against these heavyweights. Is Sen. Okpebholo the popular candidate APC needs to win the Edo 2024 Governorship election?”

Lukman however concluded that “the mere fact that he (Okpebholo) could stand out and successfully become the arrowhead against the imposition of a candidate in APC for Edo 2024 election suggests that he enjoys strong support within the APC.”

 
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