Edo 2024: APC Gathering Before and After Primary., — By Elempe Dele
“ The mob must always be dismissed as something as insane as a river full of vomit. Once you put the mob in the wastebasket where it belongs you’ve got a chance…”
— Charles Bukowski
The Edo State Chapter of the All Progressive Congress, APC, have slated their direct primary for 17th, Febuary, 2024, to elect the candidate who will be in combat with other party’s candidates for the fixed September gubernatorial election. As it seems, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are already settling for Asue Ighodalo Esq from all calculated indications even when there are subtle protestations. And this has led pundits to think the undirect primary slated for 22nd this month will be a mere formality.
The APC is a bit mired in a surmountable mix after the Professor Julius Ihonbere’s committee met recently to prune down the numbers of aspirants who will go into the primary. Although it was said to be advisory with the intention to prune down the number from about 30 to just 4, some of the aspirants, such as Pastor Ize-Iyamu, POI, and Dr. Blessing Agbomhere; with no known political influence anywhere, have been speaking through proxies and directly against the Screening/Pruning Committee, and the motives behind it.
While POI’s supporters and his several media handlers have been blaming Senator Oshiomole for being the one behind the orchestration of the said undemocratic exercise, according to them, Agbomhere was openly out to register his anger.
In a statement made available to newsmen, Agbomhere alleged that the Prof. Julius Ihonvbere-led screening committee set up by some APC leaders was coerced to tactically prune down the number of the APC aspirants from 30 to one.
However, while the likes of Dr. Agbomhere who are not popular enough to win elections where prophesying doomsday for the party, the Acting Chairman, Hon. Jarret Tenebe, cleared the air in a recent press conference held in Benin City.
He said the screening committee was not saddled with the responsibility to disqualify aspirants but a persuasive one to prune them down to avoid complexity due to the very large numbers.
He said the yardstick used was deducted from the understanding that aspirants must have won their units for the party during the last general elections of 2023 before they are considered.
He argued that for an aspirant to be electable, he must first be able to win his polling unit, and perhaps ward. He concluded that everyone who has obtained the forms are in the race and will be given level-playing ground during the primary.
As it were, tempers are relatively calm now and aspirants who have since obtained and submitted their forms are focused on wooing party card-carrying members from Local Government Areas, LGAs, and wards since it is going to be direct primary.
The pre-primary gathering of stakeholders of the party is not without issues, what happens after the primary when a winner and the losers are already known is up for analysis by political pundits. Will the opposition party in the state be able to conduct free and fair primary across 192 wards that will be accepted by all? Will those who will certainly loose like Dr. Agbomhere, an armchair media politician with detached rhetorics accept the outcome?
Will Senator Adams Oshiomole be able to bring together the aspirants who will no doubt feel short-changed?
These are critical issues that will shape the party after the primary election.
It was alleged from unconfirmed sources that Ize-Iyamu, who seems to favour an entitlement mentality to the ticket, vowed not to work with the party if he is defeated during the primary. It was said he is measuring his support for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the event of his envisioned loss.
His disposition after the primary will be used to confirm this rumour. However, politically, it seems a lot is not working in his favour this time: During the last presidential election, it was known he supported the then vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo during the primary.
And it was also gathered that after Osinbajo lost the ticket, he was never openly seen going round during campaigns for President Tinubu, who took note of his conspicous absence. It was also gathered by stakeholders that during the general election, he lost his ward.
To add to his growing woes, apart from the fact he is not in the best of terms with Senator Oshiomole, it was also noted that his post 2020 election accounting was never given to stakeholders, which gave breathe to all kinds of rumours concerning how the funds were dispensed, and what happened to the left over funds.
From all indications, even as the most popular aspirants in APC, it seems the party stakeholders are bent on trying another aspirants in the coming election, obviously not Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu this time around.
What will be left to determine is if he will walk away from the party when this is achieved by leaders of the party who have been giving unofficial signals as to whom the ticket should be gifted.