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What you should know about the forthcoming Edo Governorship Elections

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Nigeria’s Edo State is a state in the western part of the country. Edo’s capital is Benin City and has a population of 3,233,366 people. It is bounded in the north and east by Kogi State, in the south by Delta State, and in the west by Ondo State.  The state has 18 local governments

In a few days, citizens of Edo will be going to the polls to choose a new leader or retain the current one.  As the date for Edo governorship elections gets closer, many activities  are in high gear and this article summarizes what readers need to know about this important election. 

What has INEC done so far?

The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), the body responsible for conducting elections in Nigeria, has acknowledged the impact of the COVID-19 on elections in Nigeria. In May, the commission published a policy which speaks to how to safely conduct elections during the pandemic. Besides its usual activities, like releasing the final list of the candidates that will be participating in the elections, removing bans on campaign,  the commission has invented an Election Result Viewing Portal (IReV Portal) which, according to it, is to encourage transparency in its preparations for the elections. The Voters Code of Conduct (VCC) has also been published to ensure voters safety amidst the pandemic.

INEC has revealed that it will recruit 20,000 ad-hoc staff  for the elections. It also confirmed that voting will be held in 2, 627 polling units in the 192 wards in Edo with 2, 210,534 registered voters. PVCs collected is 1,735,910, while the number of uncollected PVCs is 483,868. 

The final list of candidates released by the commission shows that 12 of the 14 governorship candidates are male while two are female.  The two female governorship candidates are Mabel Oboh of African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Agol Tracy of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

FEMALE GOVERNORSHIP CANDIDATE

S/NNAMESPARTYAGE POST
1MABELAKOMU OBOHAfrican Democratic Congress (ADC)56GOVERNORSHIP
2Agol Ebun TracyNew Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP)48GOVERNORSHIP

MALE GOVERNORSHIP CANDIDATE

S/NNAMESPARTYAGE 
1Osagie Andrew Ize-IyamuAll Progressives Congress (APC)58
2Godwin Nogheghase ObasekiPeoples Democratic Party (PDP)63
3Edemakhiota GodwinOsaimiamiaAction Alliance (AA)35
4Iboi LuckyEmmanuelAction Democratic Party (ADP)36
5Osagie Lucky IdehenAll Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA)40
6Igbineweke Osamuede Allied Peoples Movement, (APM)42
7Amos Osalumese Areloegbe All Peoples Party (APP)52
8Osifo UhunEkpenma Isaiah Labour Party (LP)60
9Stevie Nash OzonoNational Resistance Movement (NRM)53
10Felix Izekor ObayangbonSocial Democratic Party (SDP)65
11Jones OsiagiobareYoung Progressive Party (YPP)52
12Akhalamhe AmiemenoghenaZenith Labour Party (ZLP) 39

Meet some of the candidates

Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who is running under the All Progressive Congress and his opponent, Incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki, are the two key players in the forthcoming Edo governorship elections.

Osagie Ize-Iyamu

Ize-Iyamu is the APC flag bearer. The 58-year-old married to Mrs Idia Ize-Iyamu is a lawyer, businessman and a Pastor at the Redeemed Christain Church of God located at Adesuwa Road, G.R.A., Benin City.   He has previously served in Edo State as the Chief of Staff and Secretary to the state government while Lucky Igbinedion was governor. During the last governorship elections in 2016 in the state, he contested under the Peoples Democratic Party against the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki who was, at the time, under APC. However, in 2019, the pastor defected to APC to run again in the Edo 2020 governorship race and has been endorsed by President Muhammadu Buhari who handed him the party flag.

Obaseki

The incumbent Governor, Godwin Obaseki is the flag bearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).  Although Obaseki became governor under the APC, he defected to the PDP after he was disqualified from the APC primary by the screening committee for the Edo State governorship election and on several issues between the incumbent and the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomole. The 63-year-old governor is married to Betsy Bene Obaseki, a financial expert. Obaseki is seeking a second term with his deputy, the 53-year-old Philip Shuaibu, as his running mate.

Ebunoluwa Tracy Agol

Ebunoluwa Tracy Agol is the governorship candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

The 48-year-old candidate is running for governor with 57-year-old Enobhaysobo Jonathan Ibhanure as her running mate. She recently called for a law to curb the continuous cases of defection by politicians in the country.

Mabel Oboh

Nollywood actress and veteran broadcaster, Mabel Oboh, is the African Democratic Congress (ADC) candidate for the Edo gubernatorial elections with Reuben Edokpayi as her running mate.

Mabel is also the founder, Mabel Oboh Centre for Save Our Star (MOCSO).

The 56-year-old broadcaster and actress stepped into politics in 2020 after she became the spokesperson for the Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos chapter of the ADC.

After this, she was appointed a member of the ADC National Strategy Committee Edo 2020 Governorship Election. She became the party’s candidate shortly after the withdrawal of Benjamin Akhigbe whose running mate she was. The ADC effected the change of candidate on July 13, which was the last day set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for withdrawal and substitution of candidates by political parties. 

VIOLENCE

Elections in Nigeria have a history of  violence and misinformation. Should we expect the same in Edo governorship elections – slated to hold September 19, 2020 – or  has violence started playing out? 

As recorded by PLAC during the last elections held 2016, “Citizens worried about increased presence of weapons on the streets, incidents of armed robbery, and cult activities during the pre-election period.”  And it took the intervention of the Inspector General to douse the tension. Similarly, while monitoring the forthcoming elections, there have been reports of violence and the promise to meet violence with violence. In response to this, the Independent Electoral Commission has threatened to suspend the election process should the activities of political actors lead to a breakdown of law and order. The commission has also admonished the youth of the state to shun violence during a “Vote Not Fight Campaign,” held by a group in the state.

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