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For Kogi’s development, Ododo needs different approach

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By Bolaji Afolabi

Saturday, January 27, 2024, the Okene-born Ahmed Usman Ododo, accountant and public servant, took oath of office as the fifth governor of Kogi State in the 4th Republic. Ahead of him were: Abubakar Audu (of blessed memory); Ibrahim Idris; Idris Wada and Yahaya Bello in that order. In the course of the inauguration last weekend, the appraisal of governance, and government in the state became compulsive. Ododo a former Accountant-General of local governments has a herculean task ahead of him.

Kogi is a state with humongous potentials no doubt. Like the global Nigerian state, however, the “confluence state” which is the popular moniker of the state remains a crawler and toddler in matters of growth and development. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, (NBS), Kogi State stands at No. 25 in the ranking of the 36 states in the country. The state curiously find itself behind states like Zamfara, Nasarawa, and Borno, which are listed as 21, 23, 24 respectively. In yet another report in 2023, Kogi didn’t make the “Top 20 Richest states” based on GDP in Nigeria. These reports do not come as a surprise given that over the years, Kogi State has been the epicentre of pervading mediocre leadership, record-breaking greed and graft and mercenary-style pilferage of its resources. Juxtaposed with this has been the flagrant display of stolen opulence by officials whose noisy conduct deafens the ears of a famished people.

Previous administrations in the state beginning from 1999 brandish their contrived records of service and achievements. Much more, however, needs to be done. Preparing for this article, the writer stumbled on an *aide memoire* articulated personally in 2015, titled “A SPONTANEOUS ADVISORY TO KOGI’S YAHAYA BELLO.” It is over seven years that document was put together. The issues raised, opinions canvassed and solutions suggested are still germane, and may be useful to the new chief executive of Kogi state.

*EXCERPTS:*

Strange things do happen; situations and developments beyond human comprehension and understanding. During the 2015 Kogi Governorship election, the All Progressives Congress, (APC) candidate Prince Abubakar Audu was coasting to victory when tragedy struck. The flamboyant and influential Igala-born politician passed. Shock, pain and suspense enveloped the state. His untimely death came as a huge surprise to the people of Kogi State, including his political family and associates, even his political adversaries. The length and breadth of the state thrown into mourning. For once, politicians of different leanings relegated politicking to the background to mourn a man who, arguably could be described as “the architect of modern Kogi State.”

With elections yet to be completed, confusion, anxiety, apprehension, and tension pervaded the state. What next? What will the Independent National ElectoralCommission, (INEC), do? Who replaces the deceased as APC candidate? These thoughts agitated the minds of people. After varied legal elucidations, the Supreme Court ruled and directed the INEC to recognize and present the first runner-up at APC’s primaries as the new governorship candidate! Yahaya Bello, the Okene-born former staff of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, (RMAFC), became the major beneficiary of the new development and not James Faleke, who ran as the deputy governorship candidate to Audu. Bello therefore inherited the votes Audu garnered across the state before the tragic incident. Such strange, may be warped logic.

The Supreme Court’s ruling led to cacophony of comments and reactions within and without Kogi. It elicited vagaries of legal interpretations by both “learned and unlearned.” The hitherto quiet characterisation of the “confluence state” disappeared. It came into national and international focus, just as the local and international media feasted on happenings in the state. Bello emerged winner of the supplementary election conducted in areas which voting had not occurred before Audu’s midstream departure and was subsequently sworn-in as Governor. As the fourth governor in the fourth republic, he made history as the first person outside Kogi East senatorial district to emerge chief executive of the state. His three predecessors were all Igala from Kogi East.

The constitutional blurr and subsequent Supreme Court judgement that threw up Bello led to differences amongst the major ethnic blocs, and somewhat polarized the political tranquility in Kogi. Surprisingly, months after assumption of office, opinions were still divergent and sharply divided about the emergence of Bello as APC candidate and governor. While a school of thought endorses the development, the other group thinks otherwise. Somehow, proponents and opponents of these sharply-divided and rigid positions have leaders and foot-soldiers across Kogi. The unfolding political development does not augur well for focussed delivery by the new administration. The posture and comments of some stakeholders does not suggest acceptance of Bello and his government. The ultra-rigid, if not selfish positions of some leaders and influential personalities, if not addressed has the tendency to over-heat political developments in Kogi. However, the reality which every Kogite will live with, at least for four years is that Bello is the new “Sheriff.”

However, Bello has a lot ahead of him to ensure the cloud of anger, and despondency, by some people gives way for unity, amity, and togetherness. He has the onerous task of creating, promoting, and sustaining cordiality, harmony, and cohesion amongst people. He has to build result-oriented and robust relationship between his government and all Kogites. Through strategic planning, he must enthrone the culture of inclusivity and belongingness in every of his policies, appointments, projects distribution and resource allocations. It is apposite for Bello to ingeniously explore and exploit the present frosty perceptions as necessary filip, impetus, and platform towards galvanising social, economic, and political development of Kogi. It is encouraging that at every fora, Bello is preaching unity and peace, as well as extending the olive branch to all and sundry. These are necessary sound bites but he must move faster in actions and taking appropriate decisions to authenticate these beautiful words. He needs to be more collegiate and convincing in all his policies, programmes, and projects.

Indeed, Kogi is in dire need of immediate physical, fiscal, infrastructural and institutional “make-over.” Though previous governments have done their bits, more work still lies ahead. There is urgent need to uplift and upgrade the status of Kogi State. It is disheartening that the state keeps recording negative ratings in some indices of meaningful growth and development. Given it’s geographical, locational, and environmental advantages, it’s painful that Kogi keeps experiencing snail-paced strides in few sectors. It is heartbreaking that since 1999, Kogi with it’s vast natural resources, has not witnessed meaningful development but flows in an ocean of economic squalor, contagious and corrosive poverty, social trepidation, mass unemployment, and moral bankruptcy. Fact is, Lokoja, the state capital is at best a “glorified local government.” More disturbing is that past governors were unable to leverage on the state’s unique position as the nexus between the North and South. Kogi State shares borders with nine states and the federal capital territory. There is a most urgent need to envision, crystalize, and deepen developmental initiatives that will shore up the economy of Kogi and people of the state.

Presumably, as the youngest person to govern Kogi state yet, one expects Bello to be pro-active and pragmatic in the discharge of his duties. He should deploy energy, industry, and resourcefulness in re-positioning Kogi. People expect him to chart deliberate cause towards taking the state where it ought to be. For Bello to meet the expectations, and possibly surpass it, he must evolve intensive and extensive consultations with indigenes within and outside the state. Fortunately, Kogi has accomplished scholars and distinguished technocrats in every field and sphere.

Like-minded friends and associates not from Kogi will also be useful. Since government and governance is continuum, Bello is advised to get and study Captain Idris Wada’s “Road Map for Kogi Development” document. Not minding political differences, he will find useful tips that he can adapt for necessary transformation of Kogi. He should evolve a leadership template that will inspire confidence amongst the people. More importantly, he should emphasise on capacity, competence, experience, and exposure in recruiting his appointees. Bello has the opportunity to pilot the re-engineering and re-ordering of Kogi’s development, one hopes he will rise to the occasion.”

These unsolicited albeit useful tips will be most beneficial to Usman Ododo the new man in *Lugard House,* Lokoja. He must purposely “disappoint” sceptics by availing himself of wisdoms and vistas from those who know better and who are more experienced than he is. Say what you may about him, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida a military general surrounded himself with, and was very comfortable amidst some of Nigeria’s finest scholars and technocrats. The Wole Soyinkas, Tai Solarins, Tam David Wests, Jibril Aminus, Olikoye Ransome-Kutis, Bolaji Akinyemis, Jerry Ganas, Tunde Adenirans, Sam Oyovbaires, and Tunji Olagunjus all globally respected scholars and statesmen, were cultivated and assigned responsibilities by the Babangida regime. No military government after him got any close to the eight years he spent as military President most possibly because he was “properly guided.”

Ododo must “shame” doubters and dissenters by towing the path of guided governance as advised by extant rules and regulations. He must pursue a governance module which prioritises popular good and the wellbeing and security of his people. He must refuse to be “governor for Ebira people” but for all the major and minority ethnicities across the three Senatorial Districts, and twenty one LGAs in the state. For a man whose constituents are among the very best anywhere in the world, he should make these aggregate resources count under his watch.

BOLAJI AFOLABI, a Development Communications Specialist writes from Abuja

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Disability is not a barrier

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Throughout history, individuals with disabilities have faced various challenges and prejudices in their daily lives. However, it is important to recognize that disability is not a barrier to success or personal fulfillment. With the right support and mindset, individuals with disabilities can achieve their goals and make significant contributions to society.

A prevalent misjudgment about disability is that it limits a person’s abilities and potential. In reality, many with disabilities have demonstrated excellence in myriad pursuits, including education, career, and personal relationships. For example, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, despite being diagnosed with ALS at a young age, made groundbreaking contributions to the field of theoretical physics. His feats proved disability does not equate to incapacity.

Let’s get back to our clime, our own Hon. Arome Ibrahim made outstanding impacts as Disability Commission Chairman. His disabled condition did not impair his competent discharge of duties. He showed the world disability imposes no barriers and cannot equate to ineptness.

Moreover, societal attitudes toward disability considerably influence the opportunities available to the disabled. When society focuses on accommodating and empowering the disabled rather than dismissing them as inferior or helpless, it cultivates greater inclusion and accessibility. By promoting a culture of diversity and acceptance, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for all individuals, regardless of their abilities.

The resilience and resolve exhibited by many with disabilities also warrants recognition. Despite myriad obstacles, they frequently demonstrate extraordinary perseverance and valor in pursuing their ambitions and goals. Such tenacity serves as a powerful reminder that with the proper support and mindset, no limits exist regardless of one’s physical or cognitive constraints.

Disability should not be seen as an impediment to success or happiness. By challenging stereotypes, promoting inclusivity, and embracing diversity, we can empower individuals with disabilities to achieve their full potential and lead fulfilling lives. It is crucial for society to recognize and celebrate the unique abilities and contributions of individuals with disabilities, as their experiences and perspectives enrich our collective human experience. By fostering a more inclusive and supportive society, we can create a world where disability is truly not a barrier.

Courtesy: Kogi State Community Advocacy Group On Disability Inclusion

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Edo 2024: Can Tinubu bell the ‘cats’ in APC’s primary fiasco?

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Gov Hope Uzodinma
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By Ehichioya Ezomon

“Even among thieves there’s honour,”is the sentiment that “criminals have a code of conduct among themselves.” According to grammarist.com, “some aspects of this code of conduct may be to not steal from each other, or to not testify against a fellow criminal to the police.”
Is there such a “code of conduct” among politicians? It’s doubtful, as among politicians – like among dogs – the first to die becomes the meat for the rest of the pack. If there’s really honour among politicians, heads would’ve rolled since the evening of Saturday, February 17 over the botched governorship primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, to choose a candidate for the September 21 governorship poll.
It’s such a messy affair that President Bola Tinubu’s invited to step in. So, will Tinubu prove the doubting Thomas wrong – coupled with his preachment of equity, fairplay and rule of law – by summoning the political will and courage, cancel the charade of a primary election, and save the APC from a second defeat in four years in Edo State?
Perhaps, the President has shown some spine, as the APC’s National Working Committee (NWC) has declared the primaries “inconclusive” after meeting and briefing Tinubu about the chaotic outcome of the exercise, and “the President expressed concerns at the turn of events, and directed the NWC to ensure that the exercise was concluded,” as first reported by The Nation on February 21.
Hence their tails tucked in-between their legs, the Abdullahi Ganduje-led NWC, after an emergency meeting on February 20, scheduled the completion of the primaries for Thursday, February 22, going by a statement by the national publicity secretary of the APC, Mr Felix Morka, fielding questions from reporters after the NWC meeting.
Morka said: “At its emergency meeting held today, Tuesday, February 20, 2024, to consider the report on the Edo State Governorship Primary Election, the National Working Committee (NWC) deliberated on the report and resolved that the Edo State Governorship Primary Election has not been completed, and has now fixed Thursday, February 22, 2024, for the completion of the Primary Election Process.”
Dr Ganduje and his team didn’t have to await Tinubu’s directive on what to do to rectify the controversial primaries. In a best case scenario, the APC leadership would’ve acted swiftly, called for calm, and given the assurance to members, particularly in Edo State, that it’d look into the primary misadventure through the primary election appeals committee instituted ahead of the exercise by the NWC. 
And in a worst case scenario, the party would’ve dismissed the conflicting declarations made – with four aspirants laying claim to winning the primaries – dissolved the Governor Hope Uzodimma-led primary election committee, and fixed a new date for a re-run or fresh primary poll within days, to meet the February 24 deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
But what did Nigerians – particularly the shocked and distrust members of the APC in Edo State – see and hear from the leadership of the party? A congratulatory message in the night of February 17 from the national chairman, Ganduje, “to the winner of the primaries,” and solicitation for the “defeated aspirants” to “bury the hatchet” and work for party unity to win the Edo governorship.
As of Sunday, February 18, four aspirants claimed that they won the primaries – supervised by Governor Uzodimma, Cross River State Governor Bassey Otu, and five other members of the APC Edo Governorship Primary Election – to choose a candidate for the September 21 election. 
The primary election claimants include Hon. Dennis Idahosa, a member representing Ovia Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, who’s declared as the winner by the Uzodimma committee; and Senator Monday Okpebholo (APC, Edo Central), who’s declared the winner by the NWC-appointed state chief collation and returning officer, Dr Stanley Ugboajah.
The others are Hon. Anamero Dekeri, member representing Etsako Federal Constituency, pronounced the winner by local government returning officers; and Mr Clem Agba, former minister of state for Budget and National Planning, who claims that going by the turnout of voters, he won the majority of lawful votes of APC members, and has threatened legal action to affirm his “victory.”
Tension had enveloped the Edo political landscape when – on the eve of the primaries, two of the leading aspirants – former Secretary to the State Government and twice governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and former Deputy Governor Lucky Imasuen withdrew from the race, citing the APC leadership’s zoning of the governorship to Edo Central that’s been marginalised in the governance of the state since civilian democracy returned in Nigeria in 1999.
Amid reports that the primaries didn’t hold in virtually all 192 wards of the 18 local government areas of Edo State, results started flying on social media, and coming in droves from the local government collation agents and returning officers into the designated state collation centre in Benin City, capital city of Edo State.
But midway into the televised collation of the primary results, scores of armed political thugs invaded the centre – and in the presence of security operatives, and INEC officials – disrupted the proceedings, and beat up journalists, electoral officials and destroyed laptops and television cameras. 
Until that moment, it’s assumed that the primary election was one for all the aspirants. But the Uzodimma-headed committee, perhaps apprised in advance about the hoodlums’ attack, relocated to another venue, where it declared Hon. Idahosa as winner of the primaries, even as only eight of the 18 local government areas’ results had been collated.
Recall that stakeholders in Edo APC had protested Uzodimma’s appointment to head the primary election committee, alleging that he’d do a hatchet job for Senator and former Governor Adams Oshiomhole, who’d openly canvassed – even in a viral video on social media on the eve of the primaries – for Idahosa’s candidacy.
So, Uzodimma, willy-nilly, proved the Edo APC stakeholders right by taking advantage of the mileu caused by the political thugs at the collation centre to announce Idahosa as “winner” of the primaries, despite Senator Okpebholo leading in the results of eight councils declared before the thugs struck.
Still, amid the uproar that greeted Uzodimma’s declaration of Idahosa as the “duly nominated candidate,” Mr Ganduje, in a rather fait accompli statement by his chief press secretary, Mr Edwin Olofu, congratulated the “winner,” and called on the “defeated aspirants” to support him for the unity of the APC.
“I want to congratulate the winner of the Edo State governorship election, I want to equally commend and appreciate Governor Hope Uzodimma’s election committee for their hard work and the transparent manner in which the primary election was conducted,” Ganduje said.
“At this point, I want to call on all the aspirants to bury the hatchet and work for the interest of the party so that our party will emerge victorious (on September 21),” Ganduje added.
Was Ganduje’s congratulatory message to Hon. Idahosa hasty, as alleged by aggrieved  supporters of the “defeated aspirants,” or played into a script written by Comrade Oshiomhole to smoothen the primary path for his “anointed candidate,” Idahosa?
As seen in a trending video 24 hours to the election, as first reported by THISDAY, Oshiomhole claimed that President Tinubu had adopted Idahosa as the APC governorship candidate, a claim debunked by the deputy chairman of the Edo State APC gubernatorial primaries committee and Cross River Governor Otu.
Sen. Otu “categorically dismissed the rumour that President Tinubu has anointed a particular aspirant for the Edo APC gubernatorial primaries,” and “urged party faithful to disregard the lie and vote for their choice candidate.” 
“This perhaps fuelled counter-narrative on the eve of the primaries, that the Presidency had settled for an aspirant from Edo Central, to be anointed for equity, justice and fairplay, and that Senator Monday Okpebholo is the anointed candidate,” THISDAY reports.
.The same narrative of endorsement led to the withdrawal of Pastor Ize-Iyamu from the race, “with a directive to his supporters to cast their votes for Okpebholo,” and the subsequent withdrawal by former Mr Imasuen, citing the reported APC zoning of the governorship to Edo Central.
In the interim, the national publicity secretary of the APC, Mr Felix Morka, defended Uzodimma’s declaration, and dismissed the affirmation by the chief returning officer, saying the NWC had empowered Uzodimma to make the final return on the primaries. 
Morka said: “We wish to state categorically that only the Governor Hope Uzodinma-led Edo State APC Governorship Primary Election Committee is duly authorized to undertake final collation and announcement of results of the Primary Election in the state. We urge all party members, officials in the state, and the general public to disregard the said announcement of results by these unauthorized persons.”
But a letter signed by the APC National Organising Secretary, Sulaiman Mohammad Argungu, appointed Ugboajah as the State Chief Returning Officer, with 18 others as Local Government Area Returning Officers for each of the 18 local government areas of Edo State.
So, who had the authority, between Uzodimma and Ugboajah, to make pronouncement on the outcome of the primaries, as the two were on legitimate duty?
Nonetheless, the Edo chapter of the APC, via its publicity secretary, Prince Igbinigie, describing the conduct of Uzodimma as “most embarrassing, unfortunate and bizarre,” faulted the governor’s “usurpation” of the duties of the local government collation agents and the returning officers for the primaries.
Mr Igbinigie alleged that “upon learning that his preferred aspirant wasn’t winning, Uzodimma singlehandedly relocated the collation centre, and then unilaterally assumed the role of the state’s returning officers without recourse to inputs from the local government collation agents as well as the chief returning officer of the exercise.”
However, Igbinigie said after normalcy was restored at the “recognised collation centre,” with the local government area returning officers and representatives from INEC, the results were declared by Dr Ugboajah, “whose responsibility it is to carry out this function.” 
Reeling out the scores by 11 of the original 12 cleared aspirants for the primaries, with Sen. Okpebholo having 12,145 votes, and Hon. Idahosa getting 5,536 votes for the first and second positions, respectively, Igbinigie said: “Therefore, it is the desire of the state working committee to reiterate that Sen. Monday Okpebholo is the duly elected gubernatorial candidate of our great party for the September 2024 governorship election.” 
Meanwhile, one of the leading aspirants and court-removed former Governor Oserheimen Osunbor has appealed to President Tinubu to step in and arrest the primary crises allegedly instigated to divide the APC for the PDP to retain power in September. Prof. Osunbor asked Tinubu to:
(1) Cause an investigation to be instituted into the allegation that this sham of a primary election, and the crises it has generated, have been induced by gratification given and received by the principal actors to damage APC and pave the way for the emergence of the PDP candidate in the election.
(2) Order the cancellation of the primary election, which has produced two or four candidates, as it can’t stand the test of legal scrutiny but rather will jeopardize the chances of APC, as there’s been “a brazen disregard of the Party Guidelines, Party Constitution and the Electoral Act, which may prove fatal in the event of litigation.”
(3) Order another primary election to be conducted ahead of the 24th February deadline set by INEC. Different officers should be assigned to conduct the fresh primaries.
Declaring that, “I make this appeal as the most popular aspirant with name recognition and acceptability throughout the length and breadth of Edo State,” Osunbor, at a press conference on February 18 in Ekpoma, Esan West of Edo State, said registered members of the APC across the state came out to vote for their preferred candidate, but “to their disappointment, the election did not take place anywhere that I know of across the 18 local government areas of Edo State.”
“The party officials deployed from the Abuja office of the National Organising Secretary to conduct the elections at the various wards and local government areas of Edo State were kept in hotels in Benin,” Osunbor said, adding, “There is no record or video of any of them preforming their assigned roles in the election at their respective designated points.”
“What we saw on television was not result of election but allocation of votes by some persons in Benin to each of the aspirants. In the end, two candidates have been announced as winners, Sen. Monday Okpebholo and Hon. Denis Idahosa in a primary election that was never held or was not conducted in accordance with the law and guidelines. 
“This charade confirms the widespread suspicion that they are labouring to present a weak APC candidate that will be easily over-run and defeated by the presumed PDP candidate during the election. They are not working in the interest of APC but of PDP. We must avoid a repeat of the scenario which led to the defeat of APC in 2020.”
Also on February 18 in Abuja, after an emergency meeting, APC stakeholders rooting for Hon. Dekeri, called on Ganduje and President Tinubu to, “as a matter of honour, discard Governor Uzodimma’s infamous declaration of one Mr. Denis Idahosa, who didn’t win the primaries.” 
Spokesman of the forum, Mr Emmanuel Godwin, said Uzodimma wasn’t the chief returning officer for the election, and accused the primary committee of “usurping the duties and responsibilities of local government returning officers in the Edo State primaries.”
Godwin said: “It is unfortunate that Hope Uzodimma, who is not the returning officer in whatever capacity, assumed the position and went ahead to announce Dennis Idahosa when the returning officers were still collating the results.
“We wish to therefore state categorically that the purported announcement is null and void and it should be disregarded in its entirety. Governor Uzodimma lacks the power to usurp duties and responsibilities of local government returning officers in the Edo State primaries.”
In the lead-up to the February 17 primary election Ganduje, and Uzodimma presented themselves as democrats, who wanted things done as laid out in the rulebook of the party. On February 15, at the national headquarters of the APC in Abuja, the former governor of Kano State, inaugurated the APC Edo Governorship Primary Election and Appeals Committees for the direct primary poll.
Specifically on the appeals committee, Ganduje, who vows to reclaim Edo State from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to expand the coast of the ruling APC in Nigeria, said: “It is a tradition for us to always constitute a body that will undertake an assignment so that at the end of it, we get good results.
“I will like to inform you that the composition of the two committees is a product of the National Working Committee (NWC) in accordance with the constitution of our party. Whatever you do, the contestants are free to appeal. That is why we have an appeals committee, which is like the Supreme Court.”
From hindsight, the Ganduje message was a double-edged sword: Members of the primary election committee should conduct a credible and transparent election acceptable to the aspirants, their supporters, and members of the APC; and whatever the outcome of the poll, the aspirants shouldn’t rock the boat, but appeal for a possible remedy.
Responding, Uzodimma thanked Ganduje and the NWC for the confidence reposed in the members, promised to discharge their assignment with utmost diligence, and stressed that, “Our prayers is that we work hard to justify this confidence reposed in us,” as “our party is a fantastic brand, very popular, and a good product.”
“It behooves on members of our committee to work in harmony with the party’s local leadership in Edo, to bring up a product that will look like our party and is easily marketable in Edo,” Uzodimma said, and urged the APC leadership to pray to God Almighty “to give us the wherewithal to carry out our assignment.”
In the end, did Ganduje and Uzodimma carry out the duty of producing a sellable, marketable and acceptable candidate in accordance with the dictates of the constitution of the APC? No, they did the opposite, in connivance with the local potentate, Comrade Oshiomhole who, from the get go, had primed Hon. Idahosa as his “anointed candidate” for the governorship. 
Pre-the primary election, the APC NWC sent officials to the wards and local government areas of Edo State, to authentic the number of actual and financial members of the party – a finding that revealed that only about 42,000 members were qualified to participate in the primaries.
Surprisingly, announcing the results several hours before the completion of collation, Governor Uzodimma ascribed 40,453 votes cast by the verified 42,000 members to Hon. Idahosa alone. Other aspirants’ scores were: Anamero Dekeri, 2,030 votes; Monday Okpebholo, 100; Clem Agba, 100; Osagie Ize-Iyamu, 2; Gideon Ikhine, 700; David Imuse, 400; Charles Airhiavbere, 162; Oserheimen Osunbor, 180; Blessing Agbomhere, 50; Ernest Umakhihe, 2; and Lucky Imasuen, 2 votes.
“This is to certify that Dennis Idahosa, having scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared winner of the primary election,” Uzodimma said.
In the results declared by Ugboajah, Sen. Okpebholo received 12,145 votes; Dennis Idahosa, 5,536; Afolabi Umakhihe, 2,090; Anamero Dekeri, 1,625; Charles Arhiavbere, 919; Gideon Ikhine, 902; Oserheimen Osunbor, 688; David Imuse, 507; Lucky Imasuen, 503; and Osagie Ize-Iyamu, 383 votes. Clem Agba’s name and score weren’t included.
“This is to certify that Monday Okpebholo has scored the highest votes, and declared winner of the APC governorship primary and thereby declared the candidate of the party,” Dr Ugboajah said.
And in the results announced on Saturday night by Mr Ojo Babatunde for the local government returning officers, Hon. Dekeri got 25,384 votes, while Idahosa received 14,127 votes. No votes were recorded for Okpebholo and nine other aspirants.
 
If any of the three results declared by the different authorities of the APC Primary Election Committee for Edo 2024 governorship election are considered, only Dr Ugboajah’s declaration merits giving any probative value, having followed the prescribed process of collation and declaration of results.
Besides, no matter their level of popularity and reach in Edo State, no single aspirant among the 10 that made it to the fiercely-contested primary, could secure even 15,000 votes, talkless of outlandish votes in excess of 40,000 from less than 42,000 members that voted. It’s daylight robbery to claim as such!
As the National Leader of the APC – an appellation he’d styled himself for eight years under the Muhammadu Buhari administration (2015-2023) – President Tinubu should show true leadership and cancel the bogus primary election in Edo State, and call for re-run or fresh primaries before the INEC deadline of February 24. Nothing else will assuage the electoral heist perpetrated on February 17! Edo people are watching and waiting, and may not forget their deliberate disenfranchishment on September 21!

Mr Ezomon, Journalist and Media Consultant, writes from Lagos, Nigeria

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Edo Guber: A time for reflection, decision-making for the PDP

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Politics, much like the tides, is a constantly evolving force. What was hailed as the prevailing political thinking yesterday may be discarded today, replaced by a new set of circumstances and dynamics.

In Edo State, this phenomenon is currently shaping the political landscape, particularly in the selection of a gubernatorial candidate for the upcoming 2024 elections.

In recent months, within the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), there has been a general sentiment that the governorship should be allocated to Edo Central.

This argument had gained traction, with a degree of acceptance among party members. However, the political tides of Edo State have since rapidly shifted.

With the All Progressives Congress (APC) preparing for their gubernatorial primaries on Saturday, strong indications suggest that the party will nominate a candidate from Edo South. This strategic move takes into account the fact that Edo South is home to the majority of voters in the state. By fielding a candidate from the south, the APC hopes to garner massive support from the Edo South electorate, capitalizing on the principle of regional loyalty.
Politics is a majority game. Emotions and sentiments cannot guarantee victory.
Also the voting population in Edo is as follows ; Edo south.62% Edo central.13% while Edo north has 25%.

This poses a challenging predicament for the PDP. If they choose to adhere to their initial inclination and nominate a candidate from Edo Central, they risk losing the popular vote. Additionally, considering the federal might of the APC in the center, the PDP may face an uphill battle in a state that has traditionally leaned towards their party.

Consequently, the PDP finds itself at a crossroads. Should they mirror the APC’s strategy and select a candidate from Edo South, they stand a higher chance of securing electoral success by appealing to the region’s voters. However, this decision would deviate from their original plan and disrupt the delicate balance within the party.

As the political dynamics continue to shift, the PDP’s choice becomes crucial in determining their prospects in the 2024 elections in Edo State. They must weigh their commitment to Edo Central against the potential consequences of alienating voters from the south. Striking the right balance is imperative if they are to maintain a competitive edge against the APC and have a fighting chance at victory.

In this delicate balancing act, the PDP must consider various factors, including regional loyalty, the overall political climate, and the aspirations of their party members and stakeholders. The ultimate goal is to select a candidate who can unite the party, appeal to a broad spectrum of voters, and withstand the impending political storms that lie ahead.

As Edo State traverses this intricate web of political dynamics, it is essential for parties and candidates to recognize the importance of adaptability and responsiveness. The ability to adapt to evolving circumstances while staying true to their core principles will be crucial in gaining the trust and support of the electorates.

They must navigate the complex political currents in order to arrive at a candidate who can lead them to victory. The outcome of this delicate choice will determine not only the party’s fate but also the trajectory of governance in Edo State for years to come.

-Moses Ekunwe from iguben . writes from Benin city

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