Protest rocks APC Secretariat as Idahosa threatens court action

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Barely 24 hours after Senator Monday Okpebholo was declared winner of the All Progressives Congress governorship primary in Edo State, one of the 11 aspirants that lost out, Dennis Idahosa, was at the national headquarters of the party to demand justice.

Idahosa, who arrived at the party secretariat at about 2.30pm accompanied by a horde of his supporters, described Thursday’s re-run election as a ‘selection’ and not an ‘electoral’ process as the ruling party wanted the world to believe.

The Edo federal lawmaker was one of the three winners that emerged from controversial first primary held on February 17, which was subsequently declared inconclusive.

Governor Hope Uzodimma, who was the then chairman of the primary election committee, had announced Idahosa as winner, while the returning officer, Stanley Ugboaja, declared Okpebholo as winner.

Elsewhere, Ojo Babatunde, who claimed to be representing the returning officers in all the local governments also declared Anamero Dekeri as the winner of the election.

The outcome of the shadow election had led to a public outcry forcing the National Working Committee of the APC to declare the poll inconclusive, a pronouncement that paved way for last Thursday’s re-run election that produced Okpebholo as the winner.

Addressing newsmen at the main gate of the secretariat on Saturday, Idahosa threatened to drag the APC to court if the party fails to return his mandate.

The lawmaker, who told reporters that he has submitted protest letter to the APC governorship Appeal Committee, also appealed to President Bola Tinubu to call the APC NWC to order.

He said: “I am not here to make trouble. I am a lawmaker but one thing that we want is justice. Today, I might be a young man but it might be the children of NWC members tomorrow. We have to do the right thing, if we continue to do what is wrong as a country, we are not going to move forward.

“So I am calling on Mr. President to call NWC to order. Elections were held on the 17th of February. What they did on the 22nd was just selection. I challenged one of the LGA returning officers to show me a picture of him at the local government headquarters where he collated the results, he was just blabbing. There was nothing because I know that they were in the same hotel in Benin and that’s where they wrote all the results.

“So my fellow party members, I am not here to make trouble. I am only here to seek justice. I have written yesterday to the appeal panel commitee and I know they will do justice. I just want to go through the process, having exhausted the party’s conflict resolution mechanism. I will go further to seek justice in the court of law as I will not allow this to stand.”

An Edo lawyer and chieftain of the party, Bernard Ekun, who accompanied Idahosa told journalists that the NWC was deliberately trying to avoid fielding a viable candidate for the election.

According to him, when something is inconclusive, it invariably means some areas have been identified for primaries to before it can be termed completed.

He said, “The governor who was in charge of the purportedly selection primaries said that it was going to be a fresh election. Between you and I, when you know the issue of INEC, there is supposed to be 21 days notice from INEC for that primary. Nothing of such was done and we are out of time. Are you people saying that the selection process you have done, which you called a fresh election, should be acceptable to us?

“Our demands is that the February 17 primary stands. That is known to law. What they have done is kangaroo selection. What these people have done is that they have sold their responsibility and the excellence in them as reasonable men. They have sold it for a Chinese cusuine. People were in their hotel sleeping. How were they able to get the results? There was no election. We stand on February 17 election because that is the only that is one duly observed within the ambit of the law.”