Nigeria’s Edo State to complete primary elections

Today marks the deadline for the 15 parties contesting the Edo state governorship to conduct their primaries, per the timeline

Nigeria TheGuardian

Photo: The Guardian

Today marks the deadline for the 15 parties contesting the Edo state governorship to conduct their primaries, per the timeline released by Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in early June.

Incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki recently emerged as the centre-right People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and is expected to face Osagie Ize-Iyamu—his main rival and the flag bearer of the centre-left All Progressives Congress (APC)—in September’s main election.

Obaseki, who contested the 2016 gubernatorial election under the APC, recently defected to the PDP after his disqualification by the APC screening committee on the grounds of alleged educational certificate forgery. The move forced the PDP to overhaul its existing strategy, postpone its primary by three days and bully its other aspirants into surrendering the nomination.

Expect Obaseki’s prospects in September to be threatened by the forgery accusations, which he has dismissed as baseless and diversionary sabotage. His lengthy track record of political infractions could boost support for Ize-Iyamu—who defected from the PDP to APC after the 2016 race—and his comparatively leftist platform. Obaseki’s refusal to participate in any form of electoral contest and instead rely on the backing of high-ranking PDP officials could cause internal party tensions to spiral out of control. While the COVID-19 pandemic could disrupt proceedings come September, the INEC has indicated a strong commitment to the enforcement of domestic restrictions and is expected to limit political gatherings in the interim.

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