APC Replaces Uzodimma As Edo Guber Primary Committee Chairman

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The National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has replaced Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State as chairman of the Edo State Primary election committee.

Uzodimma had chaired the committee which triggered controversy after producing three different candidates – Dennis Idahosa, Senator Monday Okpebholo and Anamero Sunday Dekeri – for the September 21 governorship election in the state.

Following the controversy, the NWC of the ruling party held an emergency meeting on Tuesday night in Abuja, where it was resolved that a fresh primary will be conducted on Thursday.

In a list released on the eve of the new primary, Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River was listed as the chairman of the new committee that will oversee the election.

The list signed by the APC national organizing secretary, Sulaiman Argungu, had Hon. Shettima Shehu, Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, Nentanwe Yilwatda Goshwe, Umar Hassan and Lawan Garba as members while Alhaji Rabiu Suleiman is to serve as secretary of the committee.

The party equally named Barrister C.C Udenwa as chairman of the appeal committee and Muhammed Zakari Sarina, Udogu Anthony Chijioke, Muhammad Garin Ali as members and Yunusa Mohammed as secretary.

The APC also named Dr Wambai Ahmed, Prof Adediwura Alaba Adeyemi, Barrister Sanusi Samaila, Niyi Akinsuju, Stanley Ugboaja, and Sani Galadima as secretariat (primary election /primary election appeal committee).

Before the announcement was made, some aspirants in the race had rejected Uzodinma and demanded President Tinubu and the Abdullahi Ganduje-led NWC to remove him as chairman of the exercise.

In a statement jointly signed by Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Chief Lucky Imasuen, Senator Monday Okpebholo and General Charles Airhiavbere (retd), the aspirants, the aspirants said Uzodinma did not observe the minimum requirements for compliance with the relevant provisions of the laws and regulations guiding the election as provided both in the Electoral Act and in the APC Constitution.

They said, “We strongly believe that whatever was responsible for his flagrant disregard for due process and unusual hasty declaration of unconfirmed fictitious results of the primaries outside the designated collation center may not have abated from his mind, and therefore may be repeated if given the opportunity to play the same role as chairman in the process.

“In the circumstance, we are calling on Mr. President to kindly use his good offices to replace Senator Hope Uzodinma with any other respected member of our great party, as chairman whom the President strongly believes will comply with the law, maintain internal democracy, protect and defend the integrity and goodwill of the President which he has attained over the years that endeared him to both national and international stakeholders.

“Furthermore, we believe that this is the only way to remedy the ridicule and embarrassment that Uzodinma’s tactless and overzealous behaviour, which in the view of keen observers of happenings in the ongoing process of nominating a viable candidate of our party, runs within the borderline of mischief and clotted with antidemocratic vestments, unknown to law.

“We have implicit confidence in Mr. President’s devotion to justice, equity and fairness in the process that will produce the Gubernatorial Candidate of our party in Edo State which is now rescheduled for tomorrow 22nd February 2024, and also ensure victory for our party in the governorship election that is scheduled for September, 2024.”

Also, protesters on Wednesday stormed the APC national secretariat in Abuja, demanding the sack of Uzodinma as chairman of the primary election committee.

The protesters led by Ambassador Tijani Abdulminim wielded placards and banners with different inscriptions such as ‘Uzodinma must go’, ‘we demand a free and fair primary’ among others.

Meanwhile, a foundation member of the APC, Mr. Osita Okechukwu in a statement urged governors who are members of the APC to remove Uzodinma as its chairman, following his “shameful outing” in Edo State.