The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has begun moves to reconcile all aggrieved aspirants and political groups in Saturday’s governorship primary.
This move came after the Chairman of the Edo State Economic and Strategy Team, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, was declared the winner of the party primary by the Chairman of the APC Primary Committee and Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Bello Masari, on Sunday.
Those who participated in the primary included the state Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Odubu; a former governor, Prof. Oserhiemen Osunbor, and a former Minister of State for Works, Chris Ogiemwonyi.
Others are Maj. Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (retd.), Kenneth Imasuagbon, Peter Esele, Tina Agbarha, Blessing Agbomere, Emmanuel Arigbe-Osula, Prof. Ebegue Amadasun and Austin Emuan.
Obaseki polled a total of 1,618 votes to record a landslide win over the other contestants.
His closest rival was Odubu, who came a distant second with 471 votes.
Imasuagbon and Ogiemwonyi had 247 and 137 to settle for third and fourth places, respectively.
Some aspirants including Odubu, however, stormed out of the venue of the primary before the results were announced.
The party, in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Godwin Erhahon, on Sunday, assured the aspirants that it would reunite all rival groups that went into the primary to ensure victory for the party in the September 10 governorship election.
But the party said, “We appeal to all aggrieved persons to forgive all pre-primary offences and cooperate as members of one family to mobilise voters for the APC in the forthcoming governorship election.
“The APC and its government in Edo State will strive to heal all wounds and pains, physical and emotional; that may have been sustained or felt during the battle for various aspirants towards the primaries.
“They should, therefore, humble themselves and appease those they may have offended as Obaseki is now the candidate of the party, no longer for any group,” the statement added.
Prior to the voting, the Katsina governor said that out of a total of 2,873 delegates, 2,582 were accredited for the exercise.
He explained that voting would be done by thumb-printing on the ballot paper bearing the images of the 12 aspirants, adding that the delegates were expected to append their thumbprints on the paper bearing the image of their preferred candidate.
He, however, urged the aspirants, their agents and the delegates to see the primary as a family affair, as there would be no “loser.”
Earlier, the delegates drawn from the 18 local government areas of the state, were accredited at three accreditation centres in the state capital.
They later converged at the stadium to await the arrival of the committee.
Oshiomhole, the APC caucus in the National Assembly as well as members of the House of Assembly were seated at the VIP stand and were later joined by the aspirants.
Voting commenced amidst tight security at about 6pm on Sunday following the arrival of the committee members, with the statutory delegates led by Oshiomhole.
The governor described the process as peaceful and in line with the democratic ideals of the APC.
Other delegates later cast their votes according to their respective local government areas.
Polling ended at about 10:28pm while sorting began immediately.
Personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Services and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps,, took positions in strategic areas around the stadium and adjoining streets.
They also cordoned off both ends of the stadium road to prevent any breach of peace.
However, a mild drama played out at the venue of the exercise when Imasuagbon suddenly flared up in anger while voting was still on.
The aspirant, who is popularly called “Rice Man,” due to his act of philanthropy, was heard asking Oshiomhole to leave the polling point.