Friday, February 23, 2024

Atiku lost presidential poll because of Obi, Ayu, says former PDP senator

A former Senator representing Edo South District, Matthew Urhoghide, has blamed the loss of the People’s Democratic Party candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at the February 25 poll on the in-fighting between the former national chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu, and the G-5 governors as well as the sudden exit of Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, from the party.

Urhoghide, who recently dumped the PDP, made the statement on Monday night when he featured on a live television programme.

“The election was there for Atiku to win so much that even the APC acknowledged it. Former President Muhammadu Buhari also admitted that it was the division in the PDP that caused our loss.

“That was also what Adams Oshiomhole was referring to when he appeared on your platform,” he lamented.

The senator believed that the results could have been different if the PDP had presented a united front at the polls.

“It is a sound school of thought. Obi should have been allowed to remain in PDP. If that had happened, we could have replicated what happened in 2019. That’s because the vote that he got, whether by popularity or whatever happened to him in the PDP that made him leave, would have helped to bring in votes.

“Let me also say this. Even though the governors (G-5) were overbearing by their actions insisting that the national chairman of the party step down, of course we know the reason, they felt bad maybe because one of them was not made the party’s presidential candidate. But, at least, we could have avoided any rancour that was going to arise from the decision to pick another person.

“The only thing that should have been done by the chairman was to say ‘If it will take me stepping aside for the party to win, why not?’ I don’t know what persuaded Senator Iyorchia Ayu to stay. But knowing him and who he is, he is a gentleman. If I were Ayu, I would have stepped down. What was important to the party was to win the election. Everything will fall into place. That was equally what happened in my state, Edo, where the PDP came third,” he lamented.

Urhoghide was knocked out of the PDP primary election in May 2022 as he attempted to return to the Senate for the third time in 2023.

Urhoghide, who was the Chairman of Senate Committee on Public Accounts, contested for primaries alongside four other aspirants, but lost out.

The lawmaker was first elected into the Upper legislative Chamber in 2015 and returned in 2019 as a ranking Senator.

On May 31, 2023, Urhoghide and the senator representing Ondo Central, Ayo Akinyelure, defected from the PDP.

They made their defection known in separate letters read by the former Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over the plenary.

Labour Party’s Neda Imasuen won the Edo South senatorial on February 25, 2023.

Imaseun scored 167, 250 to defeat Matthew Iduoriyekemwen of PDP, who got 61, 749, and Asuen Valentine of APC, who polled 57, 933.

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