July 20, 2024

Edo 2024: Cecil, Imuse, Umakhihe, Ize-Iyamu, Osunbor, EJ, Others Get Nod for APC Ticket

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All Progressives Congress

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By Correspondent

As the race for the September 21, 2024 Edo State Governorship Election hots up, the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, are fine tuning modalities to ensure an open and transparent primary that will produce the acceptable candidate for the party and the state.

This is so, as the leader of the party in Edo State, His Excellency, Senator Adams Oshiomhole told Midwest Herald that he has distanced himself from the processes that will lead and produce the APC candidate. The Comrade Senator spoke exclusively with Midwest Herald during the week.

Informed party sources disclosed to Midwest Herald that, the leadership of the party has put a system in place that will ensure that elected and appointment positions are shared equitably across the three Senatorial Districts, as a way to “balance” power sharing in Edo State.

In addition to this, the party has agreed to encourage those holding elected offices to retain such positions, so as to create room for others. The APC leadership is also not unmindful of the growing number of governorship aspirants, but described the development as “a sign of good things.”

With less than 150 days to the party primary, the searchlight is focused on eight party members, presently aspiring to win the coveted All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket, to fly the party’s flag and lead the epic battle for Edo Government House.

The frontline aspirants with serious consideration are Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, Edo North; Gen Cecil Esekhaigbe, Edo Central; Col Dr. David Imuse, Edo Central; Prof Oserheimen Osunbor, Edo Central; Mr. Festus Ebae, Edo Central; Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Edo South; Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, Edo South, and Hon. Ehiozuwa Johnson Agbonanyinma, Edo South.

Umakhihe’s consideration is based on his “unquantifiable support for the APC in Edo North and being able to attract several projects, particularly roads to the senatorial district. Umakhihe who hails from Owan/Akoko Edo axis, is being considered to balance the power equation that has already favoured the Etsako with two successive ministers – Prince Clem Agba and Engr. Abubakarn Momoh.

Gen Cecil’s strong presence in Edo Central and his past experience as Director General of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s campaign organization are part of his credentials being considered. He is also rated as a man with strong character.

Col Dr. David Imuse (rtd), the incumbent State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress is considered very knowledgeable on developmental politics. His clear understanding of the nooks and crannies of the entire 18 Local Government Areas in Edo State, Midwest Herald learnt, is an advantage to the party. Dr. Imuse we were told, has served as Director General twice to past governorship aspirants in the state. He was also the Medical Director at the Military Hospital in Benin City, before his retirement.

Prof Osunbor’s 18 months as governor, is rated high, coupled with his calm organizational strength, even when he is under pressure. His relationship with the traditional rulers in Edo Central is considered as an advantage to the party. However, some APC leaders who are remnants of late Chief Tony Anenih’s political school, are still nursing the wounds they suffered during the post 2007 governorship victory skirmishes between Osunbor and Anenih.

Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu was at reach-end during the 2020 governorship contest in the state. His aspiration succumbed to the bitter fight between Senator Adams Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki, his political godson.

The gains and loss of that struggle, especially amongst the Edo South politicians who supported Obaseki along ethnographical line, may work in Osagie’s favour, because Governor Godwin Obaseki has successfully driven those that fought and cleared the political path for him, into political purgatory – where they are all expiating their ‘sins’ hoping-perhaps, to enter their elusive heaven that they have watched from far since November 2020.

The 2020 political fallouts within the Edo APC seems to have been set aside, which has created conducive room to accommodate all shades of interest. A former Group Executive Director of the defunct Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Engr. Chis Ogiemwonyi will benefit from the new spirit in the opposition party in Edo State. His contribution to the party and consistency as a strong party member, as well as his ‘war chest’ are working in his favour.

Ehiozuwa Johnson Agbonayinma’s consistent determination in his quest to occupy Osadebey Avenue has won the admiration of several APC and political opinion leaders in Edo State. Midwest Herald was told that he has demonstrated ‘capacity’ and readiness to slug it out in an open contest that will produce the APC flagbearer.

Hon. Festus Ebae’s grassroots political experience, coupled with his cross border appeal are seen as huge advantages to his party – the APC. The former deputy speaker is believed by some APC members from Edo Central, to be cordial.

Although, he had initially abstained from contesting the ticket for the 2024 election, Midwest Herald was told by APC handlers that, Gen Charles Airhiavbere (rtd), has reversed himself and reached out to announce his interest, after his short sojourn at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as the Executive Director, Finance and Projects. The consideration of what is willing to bring to the table has given him substantial place.

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