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Court orders APC NWC, others to maintain status quo

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A federal High Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State, presided over by Justice Mohammed Umar has ordered a stay of execution on the June 8 judgement pending the decision of the Court of Appeal.

The court had on Monday, June 8, restrained the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, and the party from conducting any primary election in the state pending the determination of the suit filed by some members of the party.

Factional deputy chairman of the party in the state, Kenneth Asekomhe, and one of the governorship aspirants of the party, Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, are challenging the decision of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to adopt direct primary election for the nomination of its governorship candidate.

The defendants in the suit are APC, Oshiomhole, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP).The applicants had earlier filed an ex parte motion praying the court to restrain the party from adopting the direct mode of primary. They also prayed the court to restrain INEC from monitoring the primaries, and the police from giving effect to the NWC’s direct primaries order.

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At the resumed hearing yesterday, counsel to the second defendant, Roland Otaru, said the court lacked the jurisdiction to give the stay of execution order; hence they filed a stay of proceedings at the appellate court.

But Counsel to the plaintiffs, Ken Mozia, said he was not aware of the notice of appeal.However, Justice Umar transmitted all court proceedings at the high court to the Court of Appeal and adjourned till June 17.

DESPITE its manageable number of three governorship aspirants, indications have emerged that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State is planning to throw up a ‘weak’ candidate to make things easy for Governor Godwin Obaseki during the September 19, 2020 gubernatorial poll. Kenneth Imasuagbon is the aspirant considered strong enough to give the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) a run for its money in the general ballot.

This is just as Adamawa State Governor Adamu Fintri, who chairs Edo PDP Congress Committee, has declared that the state stands out as the party’s home.
Available indices show that the party is technically in control of the levers of politics in Edo, he remarked.

Fintiri explained to journalists in Benin City that his committee was in the state to oversee the ward congresses of the party, adding that the delegation of three men each from the 192 wards of the state “marks the beginning” of the process to nominate the party’s gubernatorial flag-bearer.

His words, “I want to say without mincing word that, technically, Edo is a PDP state, because in the previous election, you could see our performance; we won the presidential election here in Edo, won two out of the three senatorial seats and four of the nine seats in the House of Representatives in Edo.”

The screening committee set up by the PDP National Working Committee (NWC), last Friday at Wadata House, screened Gideon Ikhine, Dr. Ogbeide Ihama and Kenneth Imasuagbon for its governorship primary slated for July 22 and 23.

Although Ikhine and Ihama were physically present for the exercise, Imasuagbon, who was said to be in the United Kingdom, was taken up in a virtual mode, even as sources within the NWC disclosed that arrangements had been concluded to return Ihama as the party’s standard-bearer.

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The Guardian gathered that PDP has a political understanding with the incumbent governor to ensure that his re-election did not suffer any breach, especially given the stout opposition by the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.

When contacted, Imasuagbon said the NWC members led by Uche Secondus were decent men that would not toy with the bright chances of the party in the state, adding that his rivals were not popular in the state to defeat the incumbent.

Edo State PDP chairman, Tony Aziegbemi, told The Guardian that the party was too big to enter into political understanding with the APC, stressing that a level-playing field and credible process had been put in place for the best candidate to emerge.

However, former Commissioner for Information, Chief Kassim Afegbua, told reporters that Ihama had been favoured to pick the PDP ticket, since the former House of Representatives member possessed the right qualities to correct governance mistakes in Edo.

Chairman of the five-man screening committee, Kingsley Chinda, who is also a House of Representatives member, assured PDP faithful that the party was determined to pick the best candidate that would win the main election.

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