From Tony Osauzo and Ndubuisi Orji, Benin
Godwin Obaseki looked set to clinch the All Progressive Congress, AC ticket for the Edo State governorship race as ballots were being counted after the primary held in Benin yesterday.
Of the 2,582 delegates accredited for voting, Obaseki had won over 849 votes as at the time of filing this report shortly after midnight.
The deputy governor Pius Odubu and Mr. Kenneth imasuagbon were running neck and neck but with Obaseki giving them a margin.
The primary was marred by allegations and counter allegations of bribing delegates with huge sums of money. The delegates were alleged to have induced with large sums of money ranging from N100000 to N450000, in what was regarded by many as competition among the aspirants as to who would be the highest bidder.
Tension heightened last night as some of the aspirants engaged Governor Adams Oshiomhole in hot exchange over alleged interference in the nomination process.
The exchange was intermittent between the governor and Imasuagbon, one of the aspirants.
Imasuagbon was later joined by the deputy governor and former Minister of Works, Chris Ogiemwonyi, both of whom were displeased with the governor’s frequent movement among the delegates while voting was on. It took a great effort of both security agents and some leaders to calm Imasuagbon down. At a stage, the atmosphere in the stadium became charged, forcing the chairman of the APC Primary Election Committee, Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari to make a public announcement, urging all delegates who has voted to leave the stadium.
He was supported by the state Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, who also asked delegates that had voted to leave the venue, threatening: “Or we will leave with you.”
However, he warned against the repeat of what happened in Bayelsa when thugs took over the gubernatorial primaries of the party.