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Edo primary: Step in now to save APC from an impending loss -Senator Osunbor urges Tinubu

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…demands cancellation of the flawed primary

…says there’s a game plan to present a weak candidate to pave way for PDP

… insists a repeat of 2020 massive defeat is looming

One of the top contenders of the Edo APC 2024 guber primary, Senator Professor Oserheimen Osunbor has called on President Bola Tinubu to wade into the looming crisis of the party after a flawed primary conducted last Saturday.

Senator Osunbor also called for the cancellation of the primaries which has so far produced three APC guber flag bearers.

He made this disclosure in a press conference on Sunday evening in Iruekpen his hometown where he chronicled what transpired last Saturday declaring that:

“On Saturday, 27th, February 2024 all registered members of APC across Edo state came out to vote for their preferred candidate for the 21 September governorship election.

“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 Natiional Organising Secretary to conduct the elections at the various wards and Local Government areas of Edo State were kept in hotels in Benin.

“There is no record or video of any of them preforming their assigned roles in the election at their respective designated points.

“Specifically, in my own Ward 6 of Esan LGA, where over 200 members assembled and were eagerly waiting, no electoral official of the party turned up.

“Infact, there was no election anywhere in Esan West and other LGAs including Akoko-Edo and Etsako West. I was aghast and in disbelief when I saw a video of the purported result of Esan West election being announced by a lady said to be a retuning officer.

“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 there is a deliberate plan by some people to create crises in Edo state APC, instigate bitterness among the members and set the public against the party in order to aid the victory of the presumed PDP candidate.

“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 lead to the defeat of APC in 2020.

“I hereby appeal to his excellency President Bola 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 election which has produced two or four candidates, if you add Prince Clem Agba and Hon Anamero Dekiri who have each claimed victory. The primary election cannot stand the test of legal scrutiny but rather will jeopardize the chances of APC. This is, in fact, their true intention and desire. There has been a brazen disregard of the Party Guidelines, Party Constitution and the Electoral Act, which may prove fatal in the event of litigation.

  1. 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.

“I make this appeal as the most popular aspirant with name recognition and acceptability throughout the length and breadth of Edo state.

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Don’t put commissioners under pressure’ — Aiyedatiwa warns Ondo citizens

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The governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, has cautioned families and friends of the newly inaugurated commissioners in the state against putting them under undue pressure that could affect their performance as members of the State Executive Council, SEC.

Aiyedatiwa, who also warned the new cabinet members against corrupt tendencies, urged them to steer clear of acts capable of having a negative impact on the affairs of the state.

The governor stated this while swearing in no fewer than 12 commissioners at the weekend into the State Executive Council, SEC.

Aiyedatiwa, who urged the new cabinet members to justify their appointments through dedicated service, stressed that his administration will accelerate development and good governance.

The new commissioners are Segun Ayerin, Olaolu Akindolire, Alhaji Amidu Takuro, Banji Ajaka, Boye Ologbese, and Sunday Akinwalire.

Others include Deaconess Lola Fagbemi, Mr. Saka Ogunleye, Rasheed Badmus, Olayato Aribo, Adewale Akinlosotu, and Barr Gbenga Olaniyi.

Aiyedatiwa said: “You must excuse corruption or any act that is not conducive to good governance and overriding public interest.

“Thus, I like to implore all friends, families, and well-wishers of the new appointees to refrain from putting undue pressure on them so that they can concentrate and discharge their duties in the overall best interest of the state.

“Let me congratulate the newly inaugurated appointees for being worthy of consideration as honourable commissioners in Ondo State. Some of you are returning, while others are new commissioners.

“In the main, you have a duty to justify your appointment or reappointment, as the case may be. I must inform you that this administration is in a hurry to deliver on its mandate and make life more meaningful for the people.

“The torch of accelerated development that we hold aloft in trust for the people is irreversible. You must guard your loins and hit the ground running in your various offices. You must foster a good working relationship with the workers, especially the permanent secretaries and other accounting officers.

“Let us bear in mind that the government and people of Ondo State are united in their thirst for credible performance, development, and good governance.”

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Students Attack LP Guber Candidate At UNIBEN, Akpata Fingers Govt Official

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The governorship candidate of the Labour Party in Edo State, Olumide Akpata, on Saturday accused a senior official of the state government of masterminding the attack on Friday afternoon at the University of Benin.

The LP governorship candidate, who was a guest at an interactive session organised by the University of Benin Staff Club, was violently interrupted during the event, which caused a crisis within the school premises.

In a viral video released on Saturday, Akpata said a senior lecturer who sustained injury as a result of the attack is currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in Benin.

He also debunked allegations that his security personnel shot a student on the campus, noting that nothing like that happened.

He said, “My staff drew my attention to a video that is making the rounds currently of an individual who claimed to be shot at an event I attended on Friday and claimed to have been shot by my security agent.

“I looked at the video, and nothing could be farther from the truth. I only wished that the individual could show his face to determine the veracity of his story.

“I was invited to the University of Benin Senior Staff Club to hold an interactive session with members of the club. I’m told that a similar event took place a couple of weeks ago by the PDP candidate. To our surprise and consternation, this event was interrupted very rudely by some hoodlums who claimed to be students of the University of Benin.

“They disrupted the event, insisting that it shouldn’t be held without informing them. You can imagine how shocked we were, including the professors there. They barricaded the gate with their vehicles, there was a fracas in the precinct of the club, and a lecturer was injured and he is at the hospital.

“I had to be taken away by security personnel, and even as we attempted to leave UNIBEN, the highway was barricaded. It took my security personnel to remove the barricade before we continued our journey.

“We know what is going on. It is election season, and it is quite obvious that some of our old and very tired politicians are up to their usual antics and have learned nothing.

“I have it on good authority that those hoodlums were deployed by a senior official of the Edo State government, and I’m speaking directly to this official now. I know you, and you know me.”

Akpata added, “I want to place it on record that at no time was a student of the University of Benin shot. The video was done to bring misinformation, I was the one who was attacked alongside the professor.”

However, a statement by the Students Union Government of UNIBEN, titled, “Update on Security Threats and Institutional Disregard” and signed by its President, King Lemuel and Secretary, Eriamiatoe Miracle, also frowned against using “ students as a means of campaign” and noted that the President of UNIBEN Staff Club is being questioned by the appropriate authority.

The SUG alleged that the union was never informed about the interactive session involving the Labour Party candidate and added that the school security was not aware of any authorisation for such a meeting.

The SUG statement read in part, “While the saga continued, the Labour Party governorship candidate stormed out and drove out of the venue. We further heard gunshots sound at the school gate, and on getting there, it was made known to the SUG that the convoy forced themselves into the school premises to do whatever they liked.”

Meanwhile, the management of UNIBEN has condemned the attack on the LP governorship candidate, noting that an investigation would be carried out to unravel the cause of the pandemonium.

A statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the institution, Dr Benedicta Ehanire, read, “The management of the University of Benin has condemned in strong terms reported violence during the visit of the Edo State Labour Party’s gubernatorial candidate, Mr Olumide Akpata, on the invitation of the Senior Staff Club of the institution.

“The violent incident, allegedly perpetrated by some students, is unacceptable. Consequently, management has set up a committee to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the violent action.

“The committee, headed by Prof Frederick Ekhaise, has one week to submit a report to management.”

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Interior Minister denies announcing Gov Aiyedatiwa as Tinubu’s preferred candidate

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The Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has disassociated himself from a report that President Bola Tinubu picked Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo State as his preferred candidate for the Nov.16 Governorship election in the state.

A statement issued by Babatunde Alao, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Minister, on Wednesday, also described as false the purported appointment of the minister as leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ondo State.

Alao, who was reacting to the social media publication, described the report as baseless and fictitious.

“Therefore, Tunji-Ojo completely disassociates and distances himself from the purported appointment as it holds no truth whatsoever,” he said.

The media aide added that there was no meeting held in Abuja between the minister and APC Chairmen and leaders from the 18 local government areas of Ondo State, as alleged in the article.

“The minister is aware that the party’s governorship primary election is days away, and he has advised aspirants to embrace the spirit of love and sportsmanship,” Alao said.

According to him, the President, as the father of the nation and as the leader of the party, is a democrat whose interest is always to promote unity and peace.

“Therefore, he would not want to involve himself in any action that would undermine that,” he said.

The special adviser urged the public to disregard the misinformation contained in the viral news article and to always rely on credible sources for accurate information.

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