25th April, 2022
By Jethro Ibileke
About eight aggrieved aspirants for Edo State House of Assembly on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), have accused the party leadership in the state of barring them from contesting the forthcoming 2023 election by imposing candidates on them.
The aspirants who addressed the press in Benin on Monday said that the state chairman of the party, Mr. David Imuse summoned them to a meeting and mandated them to drop their ambition as the party plans to give automatic tickets to the 14 members-elect of the party in 2019, but were not inaugurated.
Imuse had on Monday while addressing aspirants on the party platform, said that “the 14 lawmakers from our party have the right of first refusal because of the way they were treated by the government of Mr. Godwin Obaseki. That is what we have said because despite all they have passed through, they have remained with the party”.
He added that the decision was a “party decision and as party members, they should abide by it.
“It is just like the same way aspirants during our national convention were prevailed upon to step down for our new national chairman.”
But the aggrieved aspirants argued that the directive from the national body of the party is that there should be no consensus candidate and that everyone should be allowed to go to the field and try their popularity.
One of the aspirant, Franklin Uyi, from Ovia North-East, said the state chairman of the party addressed them in a military style when he summoned them and warned them not to purchase expression and nomination of interest forms.
He added that Imuse shut everyone that tried to raise objection to his warning up.
“He summoned us to a meeting and addressed us in a military style. He warned us not to purchase expressions of interest and nomination forms. And when I tried to speak, he shut me up, saying “shut up you small boy.”
Another aspirant, Stephen Imokhuede Ohimai from Owan West local government, alleged that the state chairman of the party told them that the seats have been reserved for the 14 members-elect in 2019 that were not inaugurated by the state governor, Godwin Obaseki.
He called on the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to prevail on the state leadership of the party to halt the alleged imposition of candidates on the people of the state.
On her part, Victoria Amu, an aspirant from Owan West Local Government Area, described the chairman’s order as dictatorial and anti democratic.
She lamented that women have not been given opportunities to occupy the state’s legislative seats particularly in the Owan West constituency.
On her part, Jegede May, also an aspirant from Owan East constituency, called on Adams Oshiomhole, the former national chairman of the party and the former governor of Edo State and Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the party’s candidate in the 2020 governorship election in the state to prevail on the state chairman and his executive to rescind their decision.
She said, if the chairman’s order is allowed to stand, it will portend a grave danger to the party during the elections.