Sunday 31 May 2020

Edo 2020: Obaseki, 7 Governors Meet Tinubu Ahead Of Edo APC Primary Election

Edo 2020: Obaseki Seeks Tinubu's Support Ahead of APC Primaries ...
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*Govs Bagudu, Ganduje, Akeredolu, Sanwo-Olu, others meet in Lagos
*Obaseki’s second term bid top on agenda
Meeting also discussed mode of selection — direct or indirect primary

GOVERNOR Godwin Obaseki of Edo State was on Sunday accompanied by seven other governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to a meeting with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu over his second term ambition.

Vanguard gathered that the meeting was held behind closed doors at the State House, Marina, Lagos.

It was also gathered that apart Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, who is chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, other governors present at the meeting include Governors Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano).

Though the details of the meeting were not disclosed it was gathered that the embattled governor of Edo State, Obaseki, who was also at the closed-door meeting, approached Tinubu to prevail on his estranged godfather, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman of the APC, to allow him to secure a second term.

Obaseki and Oshiomhole have been at loggerheads over the second term ambition of the governor leading to factionalisation of the APC in Edo. While the faction loyal to Obaseki wants indirect governorship primary, the other faction loyal to Oshiomhole is for direct primary and announced by the National Working Committee of the APC.

As it were, Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who recently returned to the APC from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which he flew its governorship flag in 2016, have bought the APC nomination form. Last week, seven governorship aspirants stepped down for Ize-Iyamu after an intense horse-trading midwife by Oshiomhole=led party stalwarts in Abuja.

Confirming the meeting to Vanguard, the source, who pleaded anonymity said: “Yes, it is true.”

The source also said: “They met at the State House Marina, there were about eight or nine of them (governors) led by Governor Atiku Gbagudu of Kebbi State, who is the chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum. It was a closed-door meeting.

“Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State was there, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State was also there and Obaseki himself was there. That is all I know.”

Talking about the peace move, a top-ranking party source said, “The train has since left the station. It is too late in the day to find a common ground on the Obaseki issue.“We expect all aspirants (governorship) to go to the field to test their popularity. This is the language of democracy.”

Conversely, another party source said, “In politics, nothing is cast in stone. Old foes can become friends with the right incentives. After all, there are no permanent friends or enemies.”One of the APC governors, who also spoke on the issue, told one of our correspondents that he and his colleagues would do whatever they could do to save Obaseki out of what he called the “gang up against one of us.”

He said the governors would not want Obaseki to be treated “as an outsider when those ganging up against him are not accusing him of non-performance.”He added, “We will see what we can do to make things right. Whatever is in our power as progressive governors we would do in the interest of our party and in the interest of the people of Edo State. We may also see the President on the issue.”

Asked if the direct primary election sanctioned by the party at the national level was not meant to swing the result of the governorship primary against Obaseki, the source said “we shall see.” notwithstanding, the party’s National Organising Secretary, Emma Ibidiro, has continued to assure all aspirants that the party will ensure that everyone is treated fairly.

He said, “The APC is a party that is given to observing the rule of law, our constitution and the guidelines in all our activities and I want to assure the aspirants that this party will offer every aspirant the level playing ground.READ ALSO:My predecessor spent N50m for a single trip to Abuja — Bauchi gov

“I want to assure you that contrary to what people may think, I am very optimistic that the forthcoming primary will prove this party as a party that will be fair to all concerned.”Also, the party’s National Vice-Chairman (South-South), Hilliard Eta, expressed confidence that the party would come out stronger after its primary in Edo State.

“True democracy demands the involvement of citizens in decision making. For us as a political party, we will continue to give all our members a voice.“Edo is an APC state and we intend to keep it so with the support of Edo citizens and residents who will be voting in that election. Our primary is an internal party business, we will ensure justice and fairness to all. “

A few days ago, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who recently defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the APC, had announced himself as the consensus candidate chosen by seven APC aspirants. He made the announcement while speaking to journalists after collecting his expression of interest and nomination forms at the APC National Headquarters last week.

“I am happy to announce that at the end of the day, I was chosen amongst this formidable group,” Ize-Iyamu said.The PUNCHhad exclusively reported the outcome of the party’s National Working Committee meeting where it was agreed that the direct mode of the primary would be used to select the party’s candidate on June 22.

Political watchers are of the opinion that the NWC led by the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, is supporting Ize-Iyamu. Oshiomhole, who handed over to Obaseki as the governor of Edo State, has been at loggerheads with his successor over political issues in the state.

Both men had on many occasions accused each other of planning to cause a crisis in the state.Oshiomhole had accused Obaseki and a few governors of teaming up to remove him as the national chairman of the ruling party until the intervention of the President some months ago.

President Buhari stopped the aggrieved members of the party, which included some ministers, governors and members of the NWC from conveying the party’s National Executive Committee meeting where Oshiomhole was meant to be sacked.APC, PDP rake N130m in from the sale of forms

Meanwhile, Sunday PUNCHinvestigations had revealed that both the APC and the PDP had made N130.5m from the sale of nomination and expression of interest forms to aspirants who were interested in contesting the primary.The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, at a briefing at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on February 5 said the commission had fixed September 19 for the governorship election in Edo State.

Out of the N130.5m, while APC raked in N67.5m from the sale of three sets of expression of interest and nomination forms, the PDP, which also has three aspirants, made N63m.For the APC, the amount was realised from the N22.5m paid each by the three aspirants who have so far bought the forms as at the close of business on Friday. Those who have so far collected the forms include: Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Governor Godwin Obaseki.

National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Kola Ologbondiyan, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said three aspirants had purchased forms to contest the party’s primary.The party extended the sale of its forms from last Friday to Monday (tomorrow).

it was learnt that the move might not be unconnected with the need to accommodate aggrieved members of the APC who might be considering defecting to the PDP.“We have strong candidates for the election. Already, three aspirants have picked our forms. The primary is going to be free, fair and transparent. The NWC of the PDP under the leadership of Prince Uche Secondus has no room for manipulation of primary. The people themselves will deliver the candidate of their choice through their votes.

“There will be no room for imposition of candidate. We are even ready to sell our forms to those who have yet to join us. We are not foreclosing the issue of waivers,’’ he added.PDP says no talk with Obaseki over defectionMeanwhile, the Edo State chapter of the PDP has said it will welcome Governor Godwin Obaseki into its fold if he chooses to defect from the APC following the protracted crisis rocking the ruling party in the state.

It, however, stated there was no deal to cede the PDP governorship ticket to the governor, ruling out the possibility of giving him an automatic ticket to contest the September 2020 election.However, the state Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chris Nehikhare, told one of our correspondents that while the party’s doors were open to the governor if he failed to secure the APC ticket, he (Obaseki) would have to go through the rigours of the party’s rules and regulations.

Nehikhare said, “The governor has not approached us and we have not approached him. Of course, our doors are open; he’s free to come and join. But on the issue of an automatic ticket, that’s not possible. He’ll have to go through our normal procedure. That is the position of the party.

“There is no deal to cede the governorship ticket to the governor if he defects. We’re not holding any discussion secretly or openly.”Nehikhare, however, said there was no cause for alarm with the emergence of Ize-Iyamu as the consensus candidate of a faction of the APC. Ize-Iyamu was the PDP governorship candidate in the 2016 governorship election.

“The popularity he gained then was because he was a PDP member and because the PDP was able to promote him and present him to the people. It was not by his personality or who he was, but by the platform on which he contested at that time.YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

Borrowing for consumption, worst form of corruption –Peter Obi“We will not interfere in the internal affairs of the APC and they can bring anybody they want. Edo people will decide at the right time,” he stated.Nehihkare also stated that the party’s chances in the election were not dependent on the crisis in the APC, adding that “our process is always the indirect primary. We will have an election for delegates first before the delegates will choose who our candidate will be.

“Our strength is not in the weakness of our opponent but in the message of development we are sending to the electorate that we will do better; we are not like the APC.”COVID-19: Bayelsa, Imo, Plateau elections, others’ll hold, says INECINEC on Saturday said the bye-elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Plateau states would take place despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The commission also said it had been studying reports of elections conducted in countries like Mali and South Korea to strengthen its preparations for the forthcoming elections in Nigeria.The chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, stated these during the first virtual meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners in Abuja against the background of the global health challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the event, he also announced that 6,454,950 registered voters had been scheduled to partake in the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for September 19 and October 10, 2020 respectively, in addition to other bye-elections.Other bye elections, according to INEC, included the five senatorial and four state Assembly bye-elections spread across nine states of the federation.

The commission said all the elections involved a cumulative number of 62 local government areas; 687 Registration Areas; 9,149 polling units and 6,454,950 registered voters.He explained that the pandemic had disrupted the commission’s activities, including its engagement with the National Assembly and stakeholders on electoral reform as well as the conduct of some off-season elections that had to be suspended because of the pandemic.

He added, “The end of tenure governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for September 19 and October 10 respectively will proceed as planned. Already, some of the political parties have notified the commission of the dates for their party primaries.”

he said health authorities had advised on measures to protect the public from the virus, including all those involved in the elections.“In addition to the two governorship elections, the commission is also making preparations to conduct nine legislative bye-elections. Already, vacancies have been declared by the Senate President in respect of four senatorial districts (Bayelsa Central, Bayelsa East, Imo North and Plateau South).

“Similarly, the Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly has declared the seat for Nasarawa Central state constituency vacant. Information reaching the commission also indicates the existence of vacancies for the Cross River North Senatorial District, Nganzai and Bayo state constituencies of Borno State and Bakori state constituency of Katsina State.”

Yakubu also revealed that the commission was determined to hold some of the bye-elections before the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states to enable INEC “to do a test-run and fine-tune our modified processes in view of the COVID – 19 pandemic.”

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