Edo Guber: Okpebholo Writes APC Appeal Committee to Issue Him Certificate of Return

Juliet Akoje in Abuja

The All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant and contestant in the last Saturday Edo State governorship primary election, Senator Monday Okpebholo, has written to the Appeal Committee of the party to issue him a certificate of return, ‘having emerged winner in the contest’, with over 12,000, out of the 24,000 accredited voters.

The party had held parallel primary elections which produced three different candidates, including Dennis Idahosa, Hon. Anamero Dekeri and Okpebholo.

The Election Committee led by Governor Hope Uzodinma had last Saturday announced Idahosa as the winner of the primary and the standard bearer of the party in the governorship election scheduled for September.

However, the lawmaker representing Edo Central in the Senate, in a letter addressed to the party’s appeal panel, explained how the Elections Committee constituted by the National Working Committee (NWC) of APC led by the Returning Officer, Dr. Stanley Ugboaja, successfully conducted the polls, where 12 aspirants competed.

While appealing to the committee, Okpebholo said having satisfied the conditions spelt out, he should be duly recognised as the governorship candidate of the APC in Edo State.

He was of the opinion that the results announced by Uzodimma were not a true reflection of what happened, as confirmed by the returning officer.

Okebholo added that he has explicit confidence in the Appeal Committee to right the wrong.

He said: “My humble appeal to your respected committee is to look at the facts that I have presented and affirm them as cogent, and verifiable, apply the relevant provisions of the law guiding our primary elections and uphold the result collated, signed and announced, and proceed with the official process by issuing me the Certificate of Declaration as the winner of the 2024 Edo State gubernatorial primary election.

“I have implicit confidence in the integrity of your committee to uphold the rule of law, fairness, equity, justice and regards to due process of the law, which are the hallmarks of democratic governance driven by internal party democracy.

“The final tally of the result as duly declared by the state Chief Electoral Officer/Returning Officer showed that I scored 12,145 votes to defeat my closest opponent, Hon. Dennis Idahosa, who scored 5,536 votes. The result as handed over to me by Dr. Stanley Ugboaja, the Chief Electoral Officer/Returning Officer duly appointed by the party is hereto attached.

“Despite the free, fair and credible process which preceded my being declared the winner of the primary election, information has reached me that Senator Hope Uzodinma, the chairman of the Electoral Committee for the primary election who was not mandated to function as the Chief Electoral Officer/Returning Officer for the election, had declared Hon. Dennis Idahosa as the winner of the election claiming to be acting on the fictitious result received from one Mr. Charity Amayanvbo, a known political associate of my defeated opponent.

 “Amayanvbo is not a party official and was never appointed to collate results on behalf of the party. Rather, the party’s collation officials for the election are well known and published by the party’s National Organising Secretary, Sulaiman Mohammad Argungu.”

Okebholo added that a quick look at the “fictitious result” declared by Governor Uzodinma will demonstrate how untenable the declaration is. “For instance, out of the about 73,000 registered party members, about 24,000  were accredited to vote. Yet, Governor Uzodinma declared that Idahosa scored 40,000 votes,” he said.

He noted that it was most unfortunate that Uzodinma failed woefully to work within reasons and rationality, and consequently exposed the party to ridicule and opprobrium by releasing fictitious figures in an election that he failed, refused and neglected to even visit the designated collation centre throughout the exercise.

Okebholo said the purported result he announced was neither a product nor consequentiality whatsoever of the primary election that was held in Edo State on February 17, 2023.

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