AHEAD of next month’s primaries of the political parties, no fewer than 61 aspirants are jostling for the governorship tickets of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; All Progressives Congress, APC; and Labour Party, LP, in Edo State.
They are seeking to succeed Governor Godwin Obaseki of the PDP, whose second term will expire on November 12, 2024. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has fixed the election for September 21.
A peep into the long list of aspirants shows that the LP has 32, APC 19, and PDP 11. There are three women and most of the aspirants fro Edo Central Senatorial Zone.
Among the aspirants of the PDP are the current Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu; Mr Asue Ighodalo, John Yakubu and Anslem Ojezua.
He hails from Jattu, Uzaiure in Etsako West Local Government Area and Edo North Senatorial District. He says he is the most experienced to take over from Obaseki and that in the history of the PDP, the governorship ticket has never been given to anybody from Edo North.
He is from Ewohimi in Esan South-East Local Government Area. He is from Edo Central Senatorial district and says he has been in government as a member of the Economic Team since 2008 when Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was governor of the State.
John Yakubu is said to be one of the most grassrooted of the PDP aspirants having been the local government chairman of Esan North-East. He hails from Uromi in Edo Central. He cites his performance as local government chairman a reference point of his capacity to deliver.
A native of Eidenu in Irrua, Esan Central LGA, he was Edo State chairman of the APC before he defected with Obaseki to the PDP. He says he is the stabilizer and a bridge between technocrats and politicians and that he has the experience and capacity to bring all the warring factions in the PDP together and win the election for the party.
Some of the aspirants in the opposition APC include Prince Clem Agba who is from Uzanu in Etsako East LGA, Edo North Senatorial District. He was commissioner during the eight years of Governor Oshiomhole and was later appointed as Minister of State for Budget and National Planning in the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Dennis Idahosa is from Ovia South-West LGA in Edo South Senatorial District. He is a second term member of the House of Representatives representing Ovia Federal Constituency and he is popularly called Mr Projects by his constituents. He represents the agitation for youths to take over the state as he is just over 40 years old. His reputation soared when he defeated the daughter of the Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, Omosede, in 2019 who was the then member representing the area in the House of Representatives. He defeated her again as the candidate of the PDP in 2023.
Mr Victor Eboigbe is a leader of the APC from Ewohimi in Esan South-East LGA. He said that his decision to enter the contest is to serve the people.
Prof Oserheimen Osunbor was governor of the state for 18 months before his administration was truncated by the courts in 2008 to give way for Oshiomhole. He is arguably one of the most experienced aspirants having been in the Senate for eight years before he became governor. He said his eighteen months were eventful and he needs to build on the development the APC had taken the state to before now. He is from Iruekpen, Esan West LGA in Edo Central. His 18 months aborted reign was the only time Edo Central occupied the Government House in the history of Edo.
Mr. Gideon Obhakhan is from Ekpoma, Esan West LGA in Edo Central and he was at a time the commissioner for Education under the Oshiomhole administration. He has been a philanthropist and his supporters say he has the capacity to govern the state.
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu was the candidate of the APC in 2020. He claimed that internal sabotage by some APC governors cost him the victory. He said APC must win the governorship election this time and he is the right man to make that happen. He was Chief of Staff and later Secretary to State Government (SSG) when Lucky Igbinedion was governor of the state, He led the faction of the PDP that joined other groups to form the Action Congress of Nigeria that morphed into the APC. He is a great mobiliser across the state. He is from Orhionmwon LGA in Edo South,
Col David Imuse, retd, is the state chairman of the APC and he is from Ekpoma in Esan West LGA, Edo Central. He was the state vice chairman, Edo Central before he was unanimously appointed Acting Chairman of the APC when Ojezua left. He said his background in military and health would be an added advantage to drive development in Edo, if elected.
Dr Victoria Amu is the only woman that has so far indicated interest in the race on the platform of the APC. She is an Occupational Therapist from Owan West LGA in Edo North. She has been in the party for a long time and she was an aspirant for the state House of Assembly until the party decided that the 14 lawmakers that were not sworn in should be given automatic tickets.
Mr. Festus Ebea, a former deputy speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, hails from Ubiaja in Esan South-East LGA. He is among the three favoured by some leaders of the APC from Edo Central in their attempt to reduce the number of aspirants from the zone.
Mr. Thomas Okosun, a former Speaker of the House of Assembly and former state chairman of the party, is from Edo Central.
Mr Ehiozuwa Johnson Agbonayinma from Ikpoba-Okha LGA in Edo South was the first aspirant to formally inform the state leadership of the party of his intention to contest. He represented Ikpoba-Oka/Ego Federal constituency in the House of Representatives and he said his experience as an aid to Governor Oshiomhole will count in his quest to redirect the state, if elected.
Mr Anamero Sunday popularly called DANCO is from Okpella in Etsako East LGA in Edo North. He is currently the member representing Etsako Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
Senator Monday Okpebholo is the senator representing Edo Central Senatorial District and he is from Uromi in Esan North-East LGA. In his first foray into competitive politics he won the APC senatorial ticket and then the election, which came as a surprise to some observers.
Prince Kassim Afegbua is from Okpella in Etsako East LGA in Edo North. He was Chief Press Secretary, and later Commissioner under the Oshiomhole administration. He has been a strong follower and member of the APC and he is very popular among his people.
Gideon Ikhine was the first aspirant to step down for Governor Obaseki when Obaseki left the APC in 2020. He worked for Obaseki’s success in the election but he was said to have been frustrated when he discovered that contrary to their “agreement,” Obaseki had other plans than his. He left the PDP for the APC and has commenced consultation among party leaders to get the party’s ticket.
Barr Ken Imasuangbon popularly called Rice Man is arguably the most popular of LP aspirants largely because of his yearly distribution of rice which he has been doing over the years. He has traversed the PDP and APC and strongly believes that he would fulfill his lifelong ambition of being the governor of the state via the LP. He is from Ewohimi in Edo Central and he is among those insisting that power must shift to his senatorial zone. He was the first to declare his intention and has been consulting the state leadership, local government, ward and unit levels.
Dr. Azemhe Azena is a pastor in the Apostle Johnson Suleman’s Omega Fire Ministry. He is a philanthropist and businessman. He is from Okpekpe in Etsako East LGA, Edo North.
Dr. Dorry Okojie is from Ohordua in Esan South-East local government area in Edo Central. He recently met with the traditional rulers of Esanland to seek their support, and blessings at Ohordua, his hometown at the palace of the Onojie of Ohordua Kingdom, HRH Steven Ehizojie Eluojerior I in Esan South-East LGA.
Akpata“Barr. Olumide Akpata, former president of the Nigerian Bar Association took the LP by storm since he declared his intention to run. He is from Benin, Edo South. He donated a brand new Toyota Hiace bus to the party and 22 Sienna buses to the leadership of the party and others to mobilise for his ambition. He also paid the needed fees for the LP local government chairmanship candidates in the recently held LGA election in the state to pursue their petition at the election tribunal.
Mr Sergius Ogun was in the House of Representatives and represented Esan North-East/Esan South-East Constituency. He is from Uromi in Esan North-East LGA. He is seen as one of the few, who can win election for the LP, if paired with popular running mate from Edo South.