Idahosa Drags Okpebholo, INEC To Court Over Edo APC Primary

An aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary in Edo State, Dennis Idahosa, has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Recall that the APC in Edo State has been engulfed in an internal crisis.

The crisis started when the first primary, conducted on February 17, threw up three winners, including Idahosa.

A rerun primary later conducted on February 22 produced Monday Okpebholo as the winner with 12,433 ahead of Idahosa, who polled 6,541 votes.

In a letter to the Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, through his lawyer, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Idahosa asked the electoral umpire not to receive any other name as the candidate of the party apart from him, claiming that he won the primary election.

In the letter dated March 4, 2024, and which alluded to a lawsuit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/274/2024 between Idahosa and Okpebholo, Olanipekun asked INEC to recognise his client as the Edo APC governorship candidate.

Also joined as defendants in the suit were the APC and INEC.

Idahosa maintained that he won the February 17, 2024, exercise monitored by the INEC, where he was declared the winner, and that there was no basis for the supplementary or rerun election, which Okpebholo won.

According to the federal lawmaker, the February 22 election was not a standalone but a continuation of the February 17 exercise, so the results of the former exercise could not be scrapped.

Olanipekun said, “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 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.”

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