Edo PDP primary: Tight security as accreditation begins

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Security has been beefed up at the venue of the Edo State People’s Democratic Party’s governorship primary election, the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin.

On Thursday morning, motorists were not allowed into the stadium road as men of the Edo State Traffic Management Authority scrutinised every vehicle intending to use the road to gain entrance into the stadium.

Policemen were stationed along the road while many others were at the entrance of the stadium ensuring that only those who have business there were allowed in.

On Wednesday, the police, through its spokesman, Chidi Nwabuzor, said the crises which occurred at the All Progressives Congress primary election on Saturday was an eye-opener and the police authority will no longer treat such election as just a party affair.

He said, “You could remember that we had just a little hitch of a particular party delegate election. That has been an eye-opener to Edo State Police Command that we should no longer see it as a party affair.

“The delegates are people with diverse interests, people with diverse behaviours, people with different attitudes and characters. So, this time around, we are going to ensure that the right thing is done and protect the lives and property of these party members.

“The Nigerian Police, Edo State Command is ready to ensure that there is a peaceful, hitch-free delegate election cutting across political parties in the state.

“The Commissioner of Police has adequately deployed officers and men for the exercise and we believe that with the number of officers, the calibre of officers he has deployed for this exercise, we are not hoping to see any form of violence or civil disobedience.

“The vigilante will not be part of the election process, be it a state election or general election. They are a state-owned security outfit, so we cannot take the risk of having them around in this kind of important assignment.”

Ten aspirants vying for the PDP governorship ticket in the state will test their popularity at the primaries today as 563 delegates nominate the party candidate for the September 21 governorship election.

The candidates include Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu, former chairman of Sterling Bank, Asue Ighodalo, former Edo State All Progressives Congress chairman, Anslem Ojezua, former House of Representatives member, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, Felix Akhabue, Amb. Martin Uhomoibhi, Hafia Hadizat Umoru,. Omosede Igbinedion, Earl Osaro Onaiwu and Arthur Esene, will be hoping to clinch the ticket despite protests from nine of the aspirants who felt that the delegate election was skewed in favour of Ighodalo.

The election will be carried out according to guidelines released by the party on Wednesday.

As of the time of filling this report, accreditation was ongoing at Edo Hotel Marquee at the Government Reservation Area, Benin.