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Edo2024: What to know about four leading guber candidates

by Akeem Adeyemi
Edo2024: What to know about four leading guber candidates

The race for Edo State Governor’s house, (Osadebe House) on September 21, 2024, began with the race of who will succeed the incumbent governor Mr. Godwin Obaseki, as all the political parties held their Primary election last week following the INEC Saturday, 24th of February 2024 deadlines for putting their Governorship candidate forward.

The four major political parties in the state present the winner of their respective primary election after rumbles and crumble primary as follows; Barr. Asue Ighodalo (PDP), Senator Monday Okpebholo (APC), Barr. Olumide Osaigbovo Akpata (LP) and Pastor Friday Azemhe Azena (NNPP).

What to know about the four major governorship candidates


Barr. Asue Ighodalo is a lawyer, a successful business person, and a corporate guru who hails from Okaigben Ewohinmi in Esan South East Local Government Area in Edo Central Senatorial Zone.

He holds a B.Sc in Economics from, the University of Ibadan, 1981; LL.B (Hons) London School of Economics and Political Science 1984; BL., Nigerian Law School, 1985.

He is a founding partner of Banwo and Ighodalo, a leading Nigerian corporate and commercial law firm.

His core areas of practice are Corporate Finance, Project Finance, Securities and Capital Markets, Energy and Natural Resources, and Mergers and Acquisitions.

He was until recently, Chairman of the Board of Nigeria Breweries Plc and Board of Directors, Sterling Bank Plc.

Asue is also the Chairman of the board of Directors, of Dangote Flour Mills Plc He is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and is a past chairman of The NBA – Section on Business Law (NBA SBL).

He is also a member of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN), USA, Nigerian Economic Summit Group, International Bar Association (IBA), Nigerian Maritime Law Association, Commercial Law & Taxation Committee of the Lagos Chamber Of Commerce & Industry, London School of Economics Lawyers’ Group and Associate Member Chartered Institute of Taxation and The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).

Ighodalo emerged as a candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of the state after defeating the state deputy governor, Philip Shaibu with 577 votes to one (1) vote, and other aspirants like Osaro Onaiwu, Anselm Ojezua, Felix Akhabue, Arthur Esele, Martins Ihomoibhi and Hadizat Umoru gote zero (0) in the Thursday, February 22, primary election of the party.


Senator Monday Okpebholo was born on August 29, 1970, he hails from Uwessan-Irrua Community in Esan Central Local Government in Edo Central Senatorial district.

He attended Udomi Primary School in Edo State, went to Ujabhole Grammar School, and bagged a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Abuja in 1986.
His biodata says: “Okpebholo, whose name also coincides with his Okpebholo ancestry, was popularly nicknamed Akpakomisa from childhood because of his survival of the tough times occasioned by the numerous water-borne diseases at that time.”

was a successful businessman and entrepreneur who founded and oversaw several businesses in a variety of industries, including hospitality, construction, oil and gas, and agriculture.

He was elected into the 10th National Assembly last year to represent Edo Central Senatorial District in the red chamber under the nation’s ruling party APC.

Senator Okpebholo joined politics in 2003 and contested for the House of Representatives under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He won the election and represented the Esan North-East/Esan South-East Federal Constituency from 2003 to 2007.

He was a vocal and active member of the House, where he served as the Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, and a member of several other committees.

In 2007, he ran for the Senate under the same party and won the election. He represented the Edo Central Senatorial District from 2007 to 2011. He was the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) and a member of other committees. He was instrumental in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which aimed to reform the oil and gas sector and ensure transparency, accountability, and efficiency.

Okpebholo polled 12,433 votes against other aspirants to emerge as the APC governorship candidate for the September 21, 2024, governorship election in Edo State.


Barr Olumide Osaigbovo Akpata was born on October 7, 1972, he hails from Edo South Senatorial District, and he is a legal practitioner and politician.

He is the first Non-Seniour Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, to assume the office of the president of the NBA and also the first NBA president to get married while in office to Osayomon Michelle Ogbebor, a lawyer, in 2022.

He is also a senior partner and the Head of the Corporate and Commercial Practice Group at Templar’s law firm in Nigeria.

He had his early education in Warri, Delta State before proceeding to King’s College, Lagos for his secondary education.

He later proceeded to the University of Benin, Edo State where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in law and was called to the bar after graduation.

Akpata began his legal career in Delta State under the mentorship of Dr. Mudiaga Odje, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, one of the most experienced litigators of his time.

In 1996, Akpata moved to Lagos where he formed a law firm, Templars with his cousin, Oghogho Akpata. He was a senior partner and Head of the Corporate and Commercial Practice Group of Templars until his resignation on 31 August 2023 to enable him to pursue partisan politics.

He was chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL). On July 30, 2020, he was elected as the president of the Nigerian Bar Association after acquiring a total of 9,891 votes of the total 18,256 ballots cast, defeating his closest rival Babatunde Ajibade (SAN) who polled 4,328 votes, and Dele Adesina (SAN) who polled 3,982 votes.
Akpata emerged as a Governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) of the state after defeating his opponent with 577 votes.


Dr. Friday Azemhe Azena was born on December 25, 1979, in Okpella town into the family of Mr. and Mrs. Beatrice Williams Azena of Okpekpe clan in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria.

He had his Primary Education at Eveva Primary School in Okpella from 1985 to 1991. He wrote the senior school certificate examination (WAEC and NECO SSCE) in Local Government Secondary School, Agassa, Okene in Kogi State in the year 2000 and got his certificate in 2002.

From 2003 to 2005 he had his OND in Mass Communication, Federal Polytechnic Auchi. From 2006 to 2008, he earned his HND in Mass Communication, Print option, at Federal Polytechnic Auchi, Edo State. He served the Nation in 2009/2010 at Imo State during his National Youth Service Corps In 2007, he had his Diploma in Theology at Omega Bible Institutes.

From 2015 to 2016, he earned his associate degree in religious Studies; In 2016 he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies, and in 2017, he earned his Master’s Degree in Christian Philosophy; In 2018, he earned his Doctorate Degree in Christian Philosophy at Bethel University College of Biblical Studies. In September 2020; Dr. Friday Azemhe Azena was awarded an honorary Doctorate by The Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria.

Presently, Dr. Friday Azemhe Azena is a Law Student at the prestigious Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State.

This Notable Pastor’s journey into the political arena has been accompanied by a diverse array of roles – from a seasoned politician to a devoted Christian.

He is currently a Senior Pastor of The Omega Fire Ministry (OFM), operating under the esteemed Apostle Johnson Suleman.

Pastor Azehme Azena emerged as a Governorship candidate of NNPP with 211 votes.

Meanwhile, the race began between the emerging Governorship candidates and their political parties.

It should be noted that Senator Okpebholo has held several political offices in the State compared to other candidates from PDP, LP, and NNPP and also has the support of the National ruling party APC.

However, Ighodalo of PDP has the backing of the state ruling party PDP, Governor Obaseki, the chairmen of the 18 local government areas, and the party’s machinery.

Akpata of LP also comes from Edo South Senatorial District, which currently had a Senator Representing the zone at the National Assembly on the platform of the Labour Party, this could be a big advantage for the governorship candidate.

Pastor, Dr. Azehme Azena as a Senior Pastor of The Omega Fire Ministry (OFM) with over 18 years in the ministry and over 132 branches under him could use the ministry population as an additional advantage.
An exciting four-horse race kicked off for Osadebe House on September 21, 2024.

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