Obaseki is PDP candidate as Imansuangbon steps down

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On Thursday was a day of double victory for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as he was cleared by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Benin High Court, to contest the September 19 governorship election.

The APC NEC had after its meeting at the State House, Abuja upheld the outcome of the Monday  Edo   governorship primary election that produced Ize-Iyamu as candidate..

“The meeting ratified all the decisions that have been taken in Edo State   screening of aspirants and the  primary election. The name of our candidate in the Edo gubernatorial elections   will be forwarded properly to INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission), ”Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum Atiku Bagudu told State House correspondents.

The Court held that the sacked APC NWC did no wrong on May 21 when it  granted waiver to Ize-Iyamu to contest the party’s primary.

Presiding Justice Emmanuel Ahamioje affirmed  that Ize-Iyamu was a bonafide member of the APC and therefore was  qualified to contest the   governorship election.

He declared that granting of waiver was a matter handled internally by  all the political parties and not for the court to determine the beneficiaries  .

“I hereby declare that the third defendant (Ize-Iyamu) is qualified to contest, being a registered member of the APC,” Justice Ahamioje said.

The judge also stated that the suit lacked merit filed by  the now expelled   factional Deputy Chairman of Edo APC, Kenneth Asekomhe, lacked merit.

RELATED NEWS: Obaseki emerges PDP governorship candidate in Edo

Asekomhe was last week expelled for anti-party activities by the  disbanded NWC alongside Benjamin Oghumu, Mathew Ogbebor and Unweni Nosa, who are all loyalists of   Obaseki.

While the court was delivering its verdict, Obaseki’s only challenger Kenneth Imasuagbon met with the governor before they left together  for the venue of the PDP primary election.

At the stadium, Imasuagbon announced his decision to step  down  at 11th hour in the interest of “a  stronger PDP,” thus leaving the coast clear for Obaseki.

He however said it was very painful for him and his  supporters across the 18 local government areas of the state and beyond.

Imasuagbon said: “It is a defining moment for the party and the country. It is painful for me to submit my 16 years of trying to be governor, but I needed to take the decision, because of the unity of PDP. The party is far above me. The pressure was much.

READ ALSO: Court stops Obaseki from participating in PDP governorship primary

“The struggle is not about me anymore, but about Edo State and Nigeria. Obaseki is doing very well. So, I have decided to step down for him and support him.

“Obaseki has assured me that  he  tackle the issue of hunger, identify with the weak, address the challenges on our roads, build more schools and make the people happier.

“Humanity demands that a man who has done well, though he was distracted by the  APC and its former,   Comrade Adams Oshiomhole,  needs to be supported.”

He expressed optimism that the “PDP will defeat APC with a landslide on September 19.”

As of 7pm yesterday  voting was still ongoing,.

Meanwhile, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC)  in the state  Dr. Johnson Alalibo  has said that 15 political parties will participate in the Edo  governorship election.

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Alalibo, who was at   venue of the   primary,  assured that the  governorship election would be  free, fair and credible.

He said: “I wish to express satisfaction with the conduct of today’s (yesterday) indirect shadow poll of the PDP, in line with the Electoral Law and COVID-19 regulations.

“INEC is empowered by law to observe the election. That is why I am here, with some officials of the commission.”

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