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Edo: Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu lock horns in 12 battleground LGAs today

Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu

…as INEC warns election officials against malpractices

Parties jostle for 1.726 million votes, 483,000 PVCs abandoned

Police surround Wike, PDP govs’ hotel –Secondus

At least 12 out of the 18 local government areas of Edo State will play a decisive role in Saturday’s (today) governorship poll as incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki, who is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, clashes with the leading opposition All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Although 14 parties fielded candidates for the poll, observers have argued that the election would be a two horse race between the PDP and the APC.

According to analysis by Saturday PUNCH, the 12 battleground local government areas are Egor, Ikpoba/Okha, Oredo, Ovia North-East, Ovia South-West and Uhunmwode.

Others are Akoko Edo, Owan West, Owan East, Etsako East, Etsako West and Etsako Central.

Six out of the 12 battleground LGAs are located in the Edo South Senatorial District where both the incumbent and the leading opposition candidate hail from.

Interestingly, the Edo South Senatorial District has the highest number of voters totalling 1,281,414 votes, according to the figures released by the Independent National Electoral Commission. This represents about 74 per cent of the entire voting populace which INEC put at 1,726,738.

Further findings revealed that the remaining six battleground LGAs are located in the Edo North Senatorial District where the immediate past Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, and the state deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, hail from. The deputy governorship candidate of the APC, Gani Audu, also hails from Edo North.

Figures from INEC’s voter register show that Edo North Senatorial District has 564,122 voters.

However, the Edo Central Senatorial District which has 364,998 voters is expected to be dominated by the PDP. According to Saturday PUNCH findings, the Edo Central Senatorial District has been historically dominated by the PDP.

Meanwhile, INEC put the number of registered voters for the election at 2,210,534. However, 483,796 PVCs were not collected, leaving 1,726,738 voters eligible to take part in today’s election.

According to INEC’s breakdown of the eligible voters with permanent voter cards in the 18 LGAs, Akoko Edo has 115,343 voters; Egor has 158,817; Esan Central has 40,831;  Esan North-East has 66,790; Esan South-East has 58,802; Esan West has 83,467;  Etsako Central has 42,042; Etsako East has 67,715;  Etsako West has 128,188; and Igueben has 34,988.

Others are Ikpoba/Okha with 214,822; Oredo, 240,197; Orhionmwon, 102,739; Ovia North-East, 113,167; Ovia South West, 77,468; Owan East, 77,827; Owan West, 46,245 and Uhunmwonde 57,290.

According to the delimitation of the state, elections would be conducted in the 2,627 polling units in 192 wards in the 18 LGAs of the state.

APC, PDP to jostle for Edo North votes

Political stakeholders said the trio of Oshiomhole, Shaibu and Audu who are from Edo North would make the six LGAs in the senatorial district a major battleground.

The six LGAs in Edo North are: Akoko Edo, Owan East, Owan West, Etsako Central, Etsako West and Etsako East.

Several LGAs in Edo divided between APC, PDP – Analyst

A political analyst, Alex Stephen, said all the LGAs in Edo North Senatorial District would be a battleground for the two leading parties, the PDP and the APC.

Stephen listed some of the LGAs to include Akoko Edo, Etsako East, Etsako West, Etsako Central and Owan West.

He said, “In the Akoko-Edo Local Government Area, it is a battleground for the candidates. And in my town which is in the LGA, there has been a crisis there for over two weeks. This happened because the state House of Assembly member representing the LGA is from my village. He is one of those who have refused to defect to the PDP.

“Then, the Chief of Staff to the deputy governor is also from my village and he defected alongside his boss to the PDP. The entire town and LGA are factionalised into the APC and PDP and there has been too much of power tussle and turbulence there.

“I understand that the same is with Owan West. In fact, the entire Edo North senatorial zone is divided. Oshiomhole, Shaibu and Ize-Iyamu’s running mate are all from the Etsako West.

“You see, Shaibu was brought up and nurtured by Oshiomhole. Philip is a grass roots man. Oshiomhole was also a grass roots man before he became the APC national chairman. The chairman of his ward was the one who went on national television and said they had expelled him from his ward. As we talk now, it is 50-50 for the two leading parties. People feel that Oshiomhole is an Abuja man, while Shaibu is young, dynamic and more of a grass roots man. However, there are some other people who feel Oshiomhole has been badly treated by Obaseki and they are ready to support him this time round.”

Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu battle in strongholds

Also, analysts said five out of the seven LGAs in the Edo South Senatorial District, which has over 70 per cent of PVC holders, would be major battlegrounds for both Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu.

Aside from the fact that both of them are from there, the Edo South has the largest number of voters among the three senatorial districts. This made it a natural battlefield.

There are seven LGAs in the senatorial district. They are: Egor, Ikpoba/Okha, Oredo, Orhionmwon, Ovia North East, Ovia South West, and Uhunmwonde.

However, some analysts believe Obaseki is expected to win Oredo LGA where he hails from while Ize-Iyamu is also expected to win his Orhionmwon LGA. The remaining five LGAs are expected to be fought over by the APC and the PDP.

APC to tackle PDP in Edo Central

The Edo Central Senatorial District which has five LGAs will also record some battles. According to analysts, even though the PDP has always won the senatorial district, the APC may likely take the battle to the PDP’s stronghold this time.

An Edo-based political analyst, Mr Douglas Ogbankwa, told Saturday PUNCH that the APC might not easily concede the place to the PDP this time round.

He said, “I must say that the PDP where the governor just moved to is strong in Edo Central area while the APC structure he left behind is still very virile except for few political allies who moved with him. We will be looking at local governments like Esan West, Esan South-East and Esan Central.

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