By Uchechukwu Ugboaja
Governor Adams Oshiomole have stated that there are lessons for African politicians to learn from the Edo state APC primary elections where Godwin Obaseki on Sunday emerged the governorship candidate of the Edo State All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Sept. 10 primary election.
Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the anointed candidate of Governor Adams Oshiomhole, defeated other aspirants, including the Deputy Governor, Pius Odubu, after the exercise held at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin. Adams Oshiomhole described the primaries as the best organized by the party. He noted that the process was transparent, while the delegates were well behaved and called for unity among party members, he said that all the aspirants belonged to one family and needed to work together to ensure victory at the polls.
As the governor Oshiomole described the process that produced the APC guber candidate as symbolic and an example that free and fair elections are possible in Nigeria if the right things are done. According to him, “Edo APC primary election should serve as an eye opener to political leaders to let them see that when the right conditions are met the result of any election no matter how contested they are that the result will be accepted by all”. He further went on to congratulate all the candidates that contested for the election, stating that it is Edo state and APC that are winners in the end, also calling for the victor to remain magnanimous in his victory as he will require the support of everyone for the party to clinch the main price in the general elections come September 11th 2016. Oshiomhole, who described Obaseki as sound, said that he was also at home with governance and “ready to hit the ground running”.
The Comrade Governor did not also forget to appreciate members of the security agencies and of course the media who said were steadfast in ensuring that no part of the process leading to the emergence of the APC gubernatorial candidate was missed or the narrative manipulated.
It is important to note that the heated election was conducted under very tight security of about 1,625 personnel which included the military, civil defense, DSS, and led by the State Commissioner of police who was on ground to ensure that no breakdown of law occurred.
The host State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomole was already at the venue of election as at 12pm while the various contestants came in intermittently with several of their supporters cheering them as they took their seats. Other candidates who contested for the primary were Ken Imasuagbon, Chris Ogiemwonyi, General Charles Airhiavbere, Arigbe Osula, Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor, Prof. Frederick Amadasun, Austin Emua, Blessing Agbomere the youngest aspirant and Mrs. Justina Aghara the only female contestant.
Majority of the delegates came into the venue with very heavy security cover in the state owned public transport buses and this alongside other issues didn’t go down well with some of the contestants as they alleged some level of interference in the process to favor a particular candidate.
While journalists kept waiting for the election to commence despite the arrival of election materials as at 4pm, the accreditation, voting and counting of results didn’t commence until about 6pm in the evening and lasted till 4am in the early hours of the morning.
Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State, the leader of the party’s national delegation that conducted the primary election, announced the results in Benin, the state capital.
Mr. Masari said Mr. Obaseki scored 1,618 votes to defeat his 11 opponents. He described the election as credible, fair and free and urged the losers and their supporters to close ranks ahead of the crucial governorship election in the state.
Other aspirants are their scores are current Deputy Governor Pius Odubu, who polled 471 votes; former minister of state for works, Chris Ogiemwonyi, 137 votes; Ken Imasuagbon, 247 votes; a former governor of the state, Osariemen Osunbor 8 votes and Prof. Ebegue Amadasu, who also polled 8 votes.
Similarly, Charles Airhiabvere, a retired major general, garnered 11 votes; Emmanuel Arigbe-Osula 10 votes; Austin Emuan 7 votes; Blessing Agbomhere 5 votes, and the only female aspirant, Tina Agbarha 3 votes. The Katsina State governor also confirmed that 41 votes were invalid.
In his victory speech, Mr. Obaseki said his triumph was a collective one which required cooperation of all party members to succeed. The governorship hopeful of in his acceptance remarks, appealed to other contestants to join him in ensuring victory for the party on September 10 guber polls. Mr. Godwin Obaseki said the victory was a collective one which required cooperation of all to succeed. He noted that with the conclusion of the primaries, a new phase that would define the future has commenced. He described other aspirants as accomplished people and urged them to continue to work for the party to ensure its success in the governorship election. He promised to build on the success recorded by the present administration.