The primaries to elect candidates of political parties contesting the bye-election into the Etsako Federal Constituency of the House of Representatives held on Saturday in Edo State.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the main election comes up on January 28, 2017.
Etsako Federal Constituency comprises Etsako West, Etsako Central and Etsako East Local Government Areas.
It’s former lawmaker is now the state’s deputy governor thus creating a vacuum.
As the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, was holding its primary election at the Ikelebe Sports Complex in Auchi, administrative headquarters of Etsako West Local Government Area, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, was also holding its own at Afashio, near Auchi.
The APC primary produced a winner in John Oghuma, a former two-time lawmaker in the Edo State House of Assembly. Mr Oghuma defeated Blessing Agbonmere by 334 to 75 votes.
The opposition PDP adopted Jude Imague, the former special assistant on students affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, as its consensus candidate.
However, the loser of the APC primary, Mr. Agbonmere, has rejected the results.
He has appealed against his defeat after accusing the party’s primary election committee, chaired by Bala Ibn N’Allah, of fraudulently manipulating the electoral process to favour his opponent.
Speaking on Sunday afternoon in Benin City, Mr. Agbonmere said the rules of the party provided for the accreditation of 26 delegates each per ward across three local governments to vote for the candidate.
He claimed the rules were suddenly altered after election began, making it possible for just 12 executive members out of the 26 to vote per ward, without a satisfactory explanation.
“What I want the party to do is to declare me as the winner. I know my party will do justice,” Mr. Agbonmere, who staged a walkout during the election, demanded.
“The process has already started. And I was leading. I complained when the process changed. The electoral committee chairman did not do anything. I am the candidate to beat.”
The embittered politician, however, absolved his party leaders of any blame for his defeat and urged his supporters to continue to support the APC.