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Edo Guber: Confusion As Dennis Idahosa, Okpebholo Declared Winners In Parallel Primaries In Edo

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There was confusion, as two governorship candidates emerged winners of the All Progressives Congress (APC), parallel primaries election for the September 21, governorship election in Edo state.

Member of House of Representative, Hon Denise Idahosa, was earlier announced winner by the Chairman APC, Primary Election Committee, Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma, at Protea Hotel while Senator Monday Okpepholo was declared winner by the Returning Officer for the election, Dr. Stanley Ugboaje at the residence of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Truth Live News reports that Hon. Idahosa scored 40,453 votes in one of the Primaries to emerge winner while in the parallel primary, Sen. Monday Okpebholo polled 12,145 votes to defeat other contestants.

Governor Uzodimma while announcing the results said the election was peaceful across the 18 local government and 192 wards and that Idahosa polled 40,453 votes to emerged winner while Engr. Gideon Ikhine came second with 700 votes

“Therefore, Denise Idahosa having scored the hugest votes cast, is hereby declared winner of the primary and returned as the candidate of the party for the Edo Governorship election”

Similarly, the Returning Officer for the election in the second primaries, Dr. Stanley Ugboaje, in announcing the results, said Monday Okpepholo emerged winner with 12,145 votes while Idahosa scored 5,536 votes to emerge second.

“I hereby certified that Monday Okpepholo, having scored the highest votes, is declared winner and duly returned as APC candidate for the election” Ugboaje said.

Earlier, hoodlums suspected to be thugs stormed the result collation Lushville Hotel and Suite venue the primaries and disrupted the process.

Several journalists, including Truth Live News correspondents, NTA camera man, FRCN and Arise reporters were manhandled while their equipment scattered. Before journalists could gather their things together, the thugs swooped on the venue after overpowering the police operatives at the gate.

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Bayelsa Governorship: Tribunal Reserves Judgment on Sylva, Diri

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The Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, on Monday, reserved its judgment in the petition filed by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timipre Sylvia, challenging the re-election of Douye Diri as Governor of Bayelsa State.

The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Adekunle Adeleye, made the announcement shortly after parties adopted and argued their written addresses in the suit.

He assured the parties that the panel’s verdict would be delivered within the 180 days statutorily allowed by law, adding that the judgment date would be communicated as soon as it is fixed.

At Monday’s proceedings, the petitioners prayed the tribunal to annul the declaration of Diri as the winner of the November 11, 2023 election.

Their lead counsel, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), told the tribunal that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) embarked on wrongful exclusion of results before arriving at the declaration of Diri as winner.

Ikpeazu further stated that the electoral body did not debunk the allegation of wrongful exclusion of results by not calling the state election result collation officer to testify.

He therefore urged the tribunal to objectively decide the petition on the strength of the evidence adduced by the petitioners especially because INEC did not call a single witness to challenge all the allegations.

However, Diri’s counsel, Chris Uche (SAN), informed the tribunal that the petition by Sylva died on arrival because it is grossly deficient in quantity and quality of evidence.

He said that the petition was baseless, frivolous and vexatious and grossly lacking in merit because the two petitioners did not discharge the burden placed on them by law.

Among others, Uche said that Sylva predicated his petition on alleged refusal of INEC to collate results in three local governments areas — Southern Ijaw, Nembe and Ogbia — but failed to call a single collation officer to back up its claim.

Besides, Uche said that Sylva did not tender the voter register, BVAS machines and form EC8A used for the purported election in the three local governments to establish his allegations.

The senior lawyer also said that the petitioner himself, despite having a witness statement on oath, refused to give evidence before the tribunal to substantiate his allegations.

Uche pleaded with the tribunal to discountenance the evidence of a former police commissioner in the state on the ground that the police officer admitted before the tribunal that he had issues with Diri when the Prado Jeep earlier given to him was withdrawn.

Uche also urged the tribunal not to invoke the spirit of the judgment that brought Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, into office, adding that INEC has established beyond doubt that election did not hold in the three local governments due to resistance by some hoodlums to the use of BVAS machines.

Similarly, INEC, represented by Charles Edosomwan (SAN), and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), represented by Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), canvassed for the dismissal of the petition on the ground that the petitioners failed and neglected to discharge the burden of establishing their allegations against the election beyond reasonable doubt as required by law.

INEC had declared Diri of the PDP winner of the November 11, 2023 governorship election in Bayelsa State, having won majority of the votes cast at the election.

According to the Returning Officer, Prof. Faruq Kuta, the PDP and Diri polled 175,196 votes to defeat his closest rival, Timipre Sylva of the APC, who scored 110,108 votes.

Dissatisfied, Sylva and APC had approached the tribunal to challenge the declaration of Diri as winner of the poll.

The petitioners are asking the tribunal to hold that contrary to the position of the electoral umpire, election held in some polling units and winners declared at the said units, adding that it was wrong of INEC to disregard the results at the ward and local government level.

It is their claim that if the said cancelled results were restored by the court, they would emerge winner of the November election.

But the respondents, especially INEC, which conducted the election, submitted that election in three local governments of Southern Ijaw, Ogbia and Nembe did not hold due to incidents of alleged diversions of materials and disruption of the electoral process over alleged bypass of the BVAS machine.

They had tendered the Form EC40G to confirm that there were no elections in the said polling units.

In addition, the respondents brought Certified True Copies (CTCs) of results from INEC to prove that the results brought before the court as evidence that election held at the polling units were forged by the petitioners.

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Edo Guber: Labour Party Faults INEC Final List

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The Edo State chapter of the Labour Party (LP) has faulted the final list as published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

INEC, in the final list released on April 22, named Oluyinka Faith Alufohai as running mate to Olumide Akpata rather than Alhaji Asamah Yusuf Kadiri, (SAN).

Recall that  the  Labour Party governorship candidate in the September 21st gubernatorial election, Olumide Akpata dropped Oluyinka Faith Alufohai and picked Alhaji Asamah Yusuf Kadiri, SAN as his running mate.

A press statement signed by Comrade Kelly Ogbaloi, the state chairman of the party, and made available to newsmen in Benin City, assured party members and supporters that “this is simply a technical error”.

Comrade Ogbaloi, said, “Our team followed all necessary procedures and submitted Alhaji Kadiri’s name and credentials as the deputy governorship candidate, well within INEC’s stipulated window.

“Unfortunately, a technical glitch occurred at the end of the National Headquarters of our party during the submission process, resulting in the incorrect name appearing on the final list.

“We are currently actively engaged with INEC officials to rectify this issue immediately and our team has provided all requisite documentation demonstrating Alhaji Kadiri’s valid nomination. We have been following-up with INEC diligently, to ensure it updates its candidate list with the accurate information.

“We recognise the anxiety this error may cause, but urge our supporters to remain calm and steadfast in their commitment to our party’s vision.

“Your unwavering support and activism have been invaluable thus far, and we need you to continue spreading awareness of our platform and championing the positive change we represent.

He further said: “The Labour Party is determined to contest the forthcoming September 21, 2024, Edo State Governorship elections fairly and transparently.

“We should not allow this minor administrative hurdle to dampen our confidence or impede our momentum.

“Together, we shall overcome any obstacle, minor or major, as we continue our march towards restoring Edo State to its pride of place nationally.”

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Ondo guber aspirant, Akinterinwa under EFCC custody

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has detained All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant in Ondo State Wale Akinterinwa.

He is being held in connection with the ongoing investigation of his tenure as Commissioner for Finance in the defunct Akeredolu administration.

Until the State Executive Council was dissolved by Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, who succeeded the late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, Akinterinwa served as commissioner for over seven years.

The aspirant is being investigated for alleged mismanagement of billions of Naira, a source said.

Although Akinterinwa participated at the weekend direct primary from detention, EFCC said the timing of detention was at its discretion and choice.

According to sources, Akinterinwa was invited some weeks ago by the anti-graft body for interaction on some allegations, but was “allegedly too busy” to honour the invitation.

He, however, showed up at the anti-graft commission’s office on Thursday.

It was gathered that EFCC decided to be silent on the detention in order not to jeopardise Akinterinwa’s chances in the APC primary.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “In the past few weeks, the EFCC invited Akinterinwa for interrogation on the red flag on some issues during his tenure as Commissioner for Finance. But he has not been forthcoming.

“The commission had the option to declare him wanted, but it exercised restrained to avoid being dragged into politics because he was an aspirant for the APC governorship primary.

“But Akinterinwa voluntarily reported to the EFCC in Abuja. He was taken into custody for quizzing.”

The soure speaking yesterday, said: “Akinterinwa is still in our custody. We did not arrest or pick him up, but he came up to respond to our long overdue invitation. I can tell you that his detention has no political undertone.”

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