Six Edo State governorship aspirants in the All Progressives Congress (APC) have submitted their expression of interest and nomination forms ahead of the June 22 primary.
They are Governor Godwin Obaseki, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Osaro Obaz, Dr Pius Odubu, Matthew Iduoriyekemwe and Chris Ogiemwonyi.
National Organising Secretary, Emma Ibidiro, received the forms on behalf of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) between Monday and Wednesday.
The party realised N135 million from the sale of the forms at N22.5 million each, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The money includes N2.5 million for Expression of Interest Form and N20 million for the Nomination Form.
The sale of forms began on May 20 and ended on Wednesday.
Obaseki, after submitting his form on Wednesday, asked APC National Chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomole not to interfere in the primary.
He said: “I call on Comrade Oshiomhole to recuse himself from the Edo nomination process because he is an interested party.
“It is against natural justice for a man to be a judge in his own case. So, I think the honourable thing to do is to recuse himself and let’s have a free process and let’s reconcile and build our party.
“On a final note, I am actively pursuing peace, actively pursuing harmony in our party, particularly at home, and I believe that there will be peace.”
The governor denied betraying Oshiomohle who helped him to power in 2016, saying the National Chairman was “a bigger betrayer”.
“In life, everybody gets helped, everybody gets assisted. The person you talked about (Oshiomhole) had no money when he left Labour to contest.
“We knew what we did to make him governor. I sacrificed eight years of my life to serve Edo State Pro-bono. I collected no Kobo to serve him in Edo”.
The governor also debunked reports that he has obtained Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nomination form.
“It is very absurd. I am someone that is very exposed. How can I collect a form from two parties when we have rulings in the past disqualifying people on that?
“I am a party man to the core. APC is my party because I come from a progressive political family. I believe in the ideals of APC.
“I believe in our President, I believe in what he stands for so I am a party man to the core. I am not an old-style politician. I represent a new direction of politics that is based on facts and truth, not lies,” Obaseki said.
Iduoriyekemwe said he was in the race because the party denied the incumbent the right of first refusal.
The former Edo State House of Assembly Minority Leader expressed his preference for indirect primary.
Ogiemwonyi, a former minister, said the state needed “a governor who has empathy, love and could care for the people”.