Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, one of the aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the September 21, 2024 governorship election in Edo State has urged his supporters not to despair as he was still very much in the race.
BusinessDay reports that the immediate past Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security was among the six aspirants screened by the committee set up by the party as an internal mechanism to prune down the number of aspirants to a manageable size.
He, however, did not make the list of the subsequent screening in which the number was pruned to four.
Addressing a crowd of supporters at the Benin Airport, who came to pay him solidarity while returning from Abuja, he said that he was still very much in the governorship race.
Umakhihe, who said he was coming from Abuja after purchasing expression of interest and nomination forms to contest for the party’s primary election scheduled for February 17, 2024, urged the supporters not to despair of the earlier report that he was screened out by the committee.
He said that he was among the six aspirants screened to contest the party’s primary.
He also said that his aspiration was born out of his desire to win battle for better schools, better jobs, and health care for all.
The governorship aspirant, who promised “Fresh Hope Agenda” told his supporters that he remained the best and the first choice of the party.
He further said that he would bring his experience and connections with international development partners and local partners to develop the state if given the mandate to govern Edo.
“My antecedent span various ministries such as national planning and budgeting, central administration and infrastructure because I was a permanent secretary in the ministries of Works and Agriculture.
“In the course of this work, I have had extensive experience and connections with international development partners and local partners.
“I was also secretary to National Economic Council (NEC) and in that position I have interfaced with the 36 state governors and Vice President; this further enriched my knowledge about the working of the Nigerian economy,” he said.
He added that as a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, he was able to attract a lots of projects to the three senatorial districts.
He listed some of the projects to include boreholes, rural roads connecting farms to markets, skill acquisition centres, health facilities, school building and empowerment of farmers, especially women and youths.