Edo State Deputy Governor, Pius Odubu, formally declared to contest the 2016 governorship election of the state on Wednesday.
The declaration took place at his campaign office at the G.R.A. of Benin City, the state capital.
Family members, friends, supporters and well-wishers attended the event, while leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Edo State government were notably absent.
Some past officials however attended. They include a former Commissioner for Special Duties (Oil and Gas), Jackson Eribo; a former Commissioner for Basic and Primary Education, Patrick Agwuinede; a former Commissioner for Budget Planning, Chris Ebare; and a former council chairperson, Charity Okoro.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed the state governorship election for Saturday, September 10, 2016.
PREMIUM TIMES reliably learnt that owing to the absence of party and government officials at the declaration, a road trek from the campaign office to the state APC secretariat on Airport Road, immediately after the media briefing, had to be cancelled.
Mr. Odubu, a lawyer who has practiced for 30 years, said he was in the race to stay. He said he was not planning to step down for anybody.
He however said he would support whoever wins the ticket in a free, fair and democratic primary election.
Mr. Odubu said if elected, he would not probe Adams Oshiomhole, the current governor.
“For some time now, the speculation that I, Pius Egberanmwen Odubu, will seek the All Progressives Congress nomination as governorship candidate in the September 10, 2016 governorship election in Edo State has saturated the air.
“I am here today to formally announce that I am seeking APC governorship ticket in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State.”
“My motivation derives from this conviction that, at all times, we must leave society better than we met it. Our children must, and should enjoy better and more qualitative life than us,” the deputy governor said.
In the days leading to his declaration, Mr. Odubu’s campaign organizations and supporters have been up in arms against his principal, Governor Oshiomhole, whose body language, they alleged, has not been supportive of Mr. Odubu’s aspiration.
Explaining why no party leader or government official was present to receive Mr. Odubu at the declaration venue or party secretariat, Edo State APC Chairman, Aselm Ojezua, said that the party formally informed Mr. Odubu of the inability of its State Working Committee to receive him and urged him to pick another date, which he was yet to communicate to APC.