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Edo 2024: I’m APC candidate, Idahosa writes c

The last may not have been heard on the governorship primary election of the All Progressives Congress in Edo State as an aspirant in the election, Hon Dennis Idahosa has written to the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission not to receive any other name as the candidate of the party apart from him who he said won the primary election.

The APC has named Sen. Monday Okpebholo as the governorship candidate of the party.

In a letter dated March 4th 2024 written by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), marked WOC/ABJ/VOL.01/074/2024 and addressed to the Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmud Yakubu, Idahosa said a legal action with Suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/274/2024 between himself vs Sen. Monday Okpebholo, the APC and the INEC has already been instituted where he is claiming the candidacy of the party and urged INEC to take cognizance of the suit.

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In the suit, Idahosa said that he won the February 17 2024 exercise monitored by the INEC where he was declared winner and that there was no basis for the supplementary election ordered by the leadership of the party as no reason was given for the decision.

He also argued that the 20th February was not a stand alone election but a continuation of the February 17th exercise and so the results of the 17th exercise cannot be jettisoned.
He said “The record of INEC/the Commission will show that, under your leadership, the Commission monitored the Edo State APC primary election for the nomination of the Governorship candidate of the APC pursuant to the prior notification that the primary election will specifically hold on 17th February, 2024. The primary election was indeed held, and our client garnered 40,453 votes (a copy of the result certified by INEC is attached herein as Annexure 1). INEC’s report of monitoring the election confirms that, at the end of the process, our client was returned as the duly elected candidate of the APC (a copy of the INEC report as certified by the Commission is attached as Annexure 2). The APC primary election committee that conducted the election also confirmed that our client won the election as evidenced by a report signed by all members of the committee (without a single instance of dissent).

“Our client is aware that the APC subsequently confirmed to INEC that the primary election held as scheduled on 17th February, 2024; however, without giving any reason, indicated that the election was inconclusive and will be completed on 22nd February, 2024 and invited INEC to monitor the completion exercise. At the end and in respect of the completion exercise, Sen. Monday Okpebholo was said to have scored 12, 433 votes whilst our client was allocated 6,541 votes. Sen. Monday Okpebholo scored 100 votes at the primary election of 17th February, 2024 (a copy of the result sheet from the completion primary election on 22nd February, 2024 certified by INEC is attached as Annexure 3). Our client disagrees that the primary election of 17th February, 2024 was inconclusive or that there was any basis to schedule what was described as a completion of the process. Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/ 274/2024 has been instituted to ventilate that challenge.

“As things stand, INEC is in custody of two results for the APC primary election for the 2024 Governorship election in Edo State (one dated 17th February, 2024, and the other dated 23rd February, 2024). The summation of the votes in both results demonstrates clearly that our client won the primary election even if his votes from the 17th February, 2024 results are the only ones reckoned with. Put differently, an addition of the votes of all the other aspirants from both results will neither match nor supersede our client’s votes from 17th February, 2024.At best (assuming it is valid), the completion primary election of 22nd February,2024 was a supplementary election. Fortunately, the Commission under your leadership has had cause to conduct supplementary elections including the 2018 governorship election in Osun State where a winner was declared by INEC upon a summation of the votes from the main and supplementary election. The decision of the Commission to make a return incorporating both balloting exercises (since they were part of the same process) was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Adeleke v. Oyetola (2020) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1721) 440 at 555.

Prior to the Osun scenario, INEC had also declared the 2016 governorship election in Kogi State inconclusive and conducted a supplementary election. The Commission declared a winner upon the summation of the votes from both balloting exercises and the correctness of same was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Faleke v. INEC (2016) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1543) 61 at 121.

“The representation by APC to INEC that the process of 22nd February, 2024 was a completion acknowledges that it is not a standalone and indeed has its foundation in the election of 17th February, 2024. In the prevailing circumstances, it has thus become compelling that the Commission maintains fidelity with its earlier referenced precedents in Kogi and Osun States and takes full cognizance of the results from the 17th February, 2024 primary election in accepting and subsequently publishing the nomination of APC’s candidate. The Commission will also appreciate that there are pending reliefs for injunction in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/274/2024 and are urged not to take any step that will either pre-empt the court or prejudice the ongoing judicial process.”

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