Barr. Olumide Akpata of LP

Edo 2024: Abia Gov, Alex Otti can’t influence LP’s Akpata victory in Edo State

By Imasogie Eddy.

In what seemed a validation-seeking stunt, Olumide Akpata Esq, the embattled Labour Party, LP, gubernatorial candidate for the Edo State election, was seen with Governor Alex Otti of Abia State, which Akpata posted on his X handle. The text on it reads:

“Spent quality time this morning in Umuahia with my friend and brother, H.E. Dr. Alex Otti, the Governor of Abia State. Our meeting allowed me to bring him up to speed on the progress we’ve made so far in the upcoming Edo elections, following the official commencement of campaigns. I also gained valuable insights into how he has adeptly managed Abia’s affairs within a short time and with limited resources.

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“Having worked professionally with Dr. Otti during his stellar banking career, I’m not surprised by his superlative performance as Governor. I’m grateful that we’re both members of the Labour Party and enjoy a strong relationship. I fully intend to leverage these advantages when we eventually berth at Osadebay Avenue…the seat of Government in Edo State”.

However, some Edo State citizens took to social media to condemn the politically quiet candidate. “We cannot vote in a candidate that will be leaving Edo State to go to other states to give updates of what is happening in our state. Akpata is mostly absent in Edo State while others are busy with their campaign strategies. So what is ‘bring him up to speed on the progress we’ve made so far in Edo elections…?”

One social media user queried. He added, “I am a member of the Labour Party, I can tell you categorically that nothing is happening in Edo State as far as LP electioneering is concerned. How many branded fez caps and shirts are we seeing? What about utility and campaign vehicles? Just a mere handful! I do not think Akpata is serious.”

No matter what strong relationship Akpata professes with Otti, that should be left in their private purse; the relationship cannot translate to anything meaningful in Edo State. Akpata cannot leverage on the relationship in far flung Abia to berth at Osadebay Avenue.

It is obvious Akpata is banking on the euphoria of the Obidient Movement in Edo State that has since fizzled out. In the general election of 2023, Edo State was won by Mr Peter Obi, but that was because he was on the ballot box. For this gubernatorial election, Obi is not on the box and Governor Alex Otti of Abia State cannot supplant the name of Akpata with that of Obi to make him win the election. The earlier he realizes this, the better.

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Secondly, the candidacy of Akpata is a negation of Justice, Equity and Fairplay. This has found an acronym in JEF. How be it that Akpata from Edo South Senatorial District wants to replace Governor Obaseki, who is from the same senatorial district, same local government and a blood relation – allegedly a distant cousin? Is our governorship election in Edo State now a matter of ‘hereditary’? Where is his sense of zoning that will ensure inclusiveness? The Akoko-Edo man from the North Senatorial District should be able to aspire to become the governor of Edo State just as it is fair and just for the Esan man now.

Imasogie Eddy wrote from Benin. He is a political commentator.

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