The governor met with the aspirants alongside party leaders and other Edo PDP officials, at the Government House, Benin City.

Obaseki, who sued for unity and harmony among party members and leaders, expressed confidence that the party will come out victorious in the forthcoming general elections.

He noted, “We have 24 seats in the EDHA and 162 people are contesting; it’s not everyone that will get the position. We should be united and not be our own opponents. The way we go about this primary election is very important.

“This is the first time since 1999 that a fundamental amendment has been made to the Electoral Act. After the primary election, we have nine months to prepare and campaign and the journey will not be easy or cheap. We should conserve our energy for this process. We should work in unity to win the forthcoming EDHA election in 2023.

“We have a primary election coming up and I am not asking anybody to step down but to sit with party leaders and see how to discuss and dialogue to reduce the number of aspirants to enable us to work better. If everyone decides to go into the primary, so be it as we all belong to one big family.”

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Obaseki added, “PDP will select candidates to go and contest for the position against candidates from other parties. For contestation at this level, we can’t be our own opponents. In any particular constituency, only one or two people will win, depending on the number of seats. We all will rally round to support those that emerge and together we will win the election.”

Warning against politics of bitterness, the governor stated, “I want to warn all the aspirants, I don’t want any of you to spend your future or sell your properties because of the election. There is a lot of bitterness in politics; we need to stop this as it can’t lead us to the political evolution that we desire. Edo is a pacesetter.

“I want to stay neutral in the build up to this primary despite the several calls I have received. Every aspirant is my own; the PDP is one and my goal is that the PDP must win at the state level, National Assembly and Presidency.”

“This is the first step towards winning. I want us to be strong and not go into the contest weak,” Obaseki urged.

On his part, Edo PDP Chairman, Tony Aziegbemi disclosed that 164 aspirants bought the EDHA forms, while 162 persons returned their forms and were screened and cleared to contest the primary election.