Idahosa Files Lawsuit Against Okpebholo and INEC Over Edo APC Primary Dispute

Idahosa Files Lawsuit Against Okpebholo and INEC Over Edo APC Primary Dispute

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The ongoing internal crisis within the Edo State chapter of the APC has taken a legal turn as one of the primary contenders, Idahosa, has taken legal action against Monday Okpebholo and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The discord erupted following the initial primary held on February 17, which resulted in three winners, including Idahosa. However, a subsequent rerun on February 22 saw Okpebholo declared as the winner with 12,433 votes, surpassing Idahosa’s 6,541 votes.

In a formal communication addressed to Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of INEC, via his legal representative Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Idahosa vehemently contested the outcome of the rerun. He urged INEC not to acknowledge any candidate other than himself, asserting that he emerged victorious in the primary election.

The letter, dated March 4, 2024, referenced a legal proceeding labeled FHC/ABJ/CS/274/2024 between Idahosa and Okpebholo. Olanipekun implored INEC to affirm his client as the official APC candidate for the Edo governorship race. Both the APC and INEC were named as co-defendants in the lawsuit.

Idahosa insisted that he rightfully secured victory in the primary held on February 17, which was overseen by INEC and where he was declared the winner. He contended that there was no legitimate basis for the subsequent rerun election, which favored Okpebholo.

The lawmaker further argued that the rerun on February 22 should be viewed not as an independent event but as a continuation of the initial primary. Therefore, he asserted, the results of the first exercise should stand.

Olanipekun emphasized, “Our client disputes the characterization of the primary election on February 17, 2024, as inconclusive or warranting a supplementary process. Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/ 274/2024 has been initiated to address this challenge.”

He added, “INEC currently holds two sets of results for the APC primary election for the 2024 governorship race in Edo State (one from February 17, 2024, and the other from February 23, 2024). When combined, these results affirm our client’s victory, even if only considering the votes from February 17.”

“In essence, the supplementary election on February 22, 2024, if deemed valid, was merely a supplementary exercise. Fortunately, INEC, under your leadership, has previously conducted supplementary elections, such as the 2018 governorship election in Osun State, where the winner was declared based on the combined votes from both the main and supplementary polls.”

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