Obaseki clinches PDP governorship ticket, slugs it out with APC’s Ize-Iyamu

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*Ize-Iyamu, Obaseki

The governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki yesterday emerged as the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at the party’s primary held at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.

Obaseki was affirmed as the candidate having polled 1,952 votes after three other aspirants including one of the strongest contenders, Mr. Ken Imasaugbon had stepped down for him before the commencement of voting.

A total number of 2,024 delegates were accredited as voters while 72 votes were voided.

Declaring Obaseki as winner of the party’s primary and candidate of the party in the September 19 governorship election, the chairman of the election committee and governor of Bauchi State, Mr. Bala Mohammed, said: “By the powers conferred on me as chairman of the party’s primary election, I hereby return Governor Godwin Obaseki as the declared winner and candidate of PDP in the Edo State governorship election slated for September 19 this year.”

Yesterday’s primary was an anti-climax following intrigues by the other aspirants to ensure that Obaseki, who defected to the PDP last Friday, after he was disqualified from vying for the APC’s ticket, did not participate in the primary.

However, with the intervention of party leaders, two of the aspirants, including Mr. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, who had secured a court injunction to restrain the governor from running in the primary, stepped down for Obaseki.

The remaining aspirant, Imasuagbon, was adamant until the eve of the primary when he stepped down too.

It was learnt that he recanted on Wednesday night during a meeting attended by the Bauchi State governor.

At the meeting that was attended by PDP stakeholders with the governor of Oyo State, Mr. Seyi Makinde and the governor of Zamfara State, Mr. Bello Mattawalle and two other members of the ad hoc elect committee, it was agreed that Imasuagbon would be at the Ogbemudia Stadium venue of the primary to enable him officially announce that he had stepped down for Obaseki for the overall interest of the party in the state.

Obaseki will face his political rival Mr. Osagie Ize-iyamu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and other candidates in the governorship election.

In 2016, Ize-iyamu was PDP’s candidate while Obaseki with the backing of the former chairman of the APC, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole contested under APC and won the election.

In June 2020, Obaseki left the APC after he was disqualified by the party’s screening committee for the primary election.

Obaseki accused the party of bias in the screening process and defected to the PDP days after.

Ize-iyamu on the other hand emerged the APC governorship candidate after the party’s primary election.

The national executive committee of APC yesterday ratified his candidacy as the party’s standard bearer for the September governorship election.

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