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Ighodalo, Shaibu emerge Edo PDP guber flagbearers in parallel congresses


By Olusegun Olanrewaju

Frontliner, Asue Ighodalo, yesterday emerged the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for the 21 September gubernatorial election in Edo State.

The candidate’s victory was announced yesterday, even as another parallel congress was held by state deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, who also laid claim to victory as the PDP gubernatorial candidate.

Ighodalo was elected at the delegate election of the party, held yesterday at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, supervised by Zamfara State Governor, Dauda Lawal (chairman) and his Delta State counterpart, Sheriff Oborevwori (deputy chair).
It was more like a mere adoption of his candidacy, as he scored a total of 577 votes to beat his closest rival, sitting deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, who scored only one vote, while other candidates scored zero votes.

Ten aspirants had contested for the ticket. Some of the aspirants, including Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama and Omosede Igbinedion, withdrew participation in the election.

The other also-ran aspirants include Arthur Esele, Anselm Ojezua, Omosede Igbinedion, Osaro Onaiwu, Martins Uhomoibhi, Hadizat Umoru, Felix Akhabue, and Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama.

While Ogbeide-Ihama blamed irregularities and corrupted process by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party for his withdrawal from the race, Omosede Igbinedion stepped down for Ighodalo.

Also, the state Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, stayed away, having organised a parallel election at another venue, and emerged a candidate with 300 votes.


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In his acceptance speech, Ighodalo thanked Governor Godwin Obaseki and the entire people of Edo State for their love and support.

He noted that Governor Obaseki had laid the foundation for him to build upon, if eventually he was elected governor.
Ighodalo promised to assemble young men and women for his government to turn the state around if he makes it to the government house.

Zamfara governor, Lawal, was the chairman of the election committee, as well as the chief returning officer of the election, while Delta State helmsman, Oborevwori, was the co-chairman.

Meanwhile, the Edo PDP, at another venue, also held a parallel congress yesterday that supporters claim produced the deputy governor Shaibu as the governorship candidate.
While some delegates were being accredited to proceed to the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium venue of the primary election, another set of delegates met in a facility at the Commercial Avenue, where they announced Shaibu the elected candidate of the PDP.

The supporters claimed that though they went to the venue for accreditation, they were chased away by the security agencies.
They also alleged that the list of delegates published by the national leadership of the party was not the authentic one, alleging that they saw the names of people from Bayelsa State and names of people who are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Declaring Shaibu winner of the election, Bartholomew Moses said, “During the counting of this primary election, Philip Shaibu has a score of 301 votes and, therefore, we hereby declare Philip Shaibu as the authentic elected candidate for this election in the PDP.”

The people had barely finished their exercise when gunmen invaded the venue.
Dressed in vigilante outfits, the hoodlums came in several vehicles, including two black unmarked Toyota Hiace Truck; an unmarked white Sienna, white-coloured Hilux, and several other vehicles.

They were shooting sporadically into the air and the people scampered into different directions for safety.
Before the election, the delegates led by Festus Owu had protested to the deputy governor’s official lodge where they complained to him that they had been disenfranchised.

Speaking to the protesting delegates, Shaibu said, “I appeal to all of you to be peaceful. I don’t want anybody to be injured, I don’t want anybody molested, and I am happy the way you have conducted yourselves peacefully and have come to report to me that you were not allowed to be accredited.

‘’But I want to tell you that no one man can determine the destiny of a people, and by the grace of God, they cannot disenfranchise you people.

“The law is clear that you people are the authentic delegates. Now that they have pushed you away, they want to go and replace you, but I assure you that your vote must count; they cannot change and replace your names.

‘’I assure you that I will take your protest to the committee that is coming, but you must remain peaceful in everything you are doing.”
Speaking to journalists later, Shaibu said, “I saw the crowd outside and I asked who they were and they said they were delegates.
‘’I said they should be directed to the venue of the accreditation, but they said they were protesting because they had been sent away from the venue of accreditation, and they won their election and they have their results.
“The election will hold, and if a winner emerges with fake delegates, the election will not see the light of the day. But if a winner emerges with the authentic delegates, there will be no problem, I am sure.”

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