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Anxiety as parties perfect strategies, oil political machines



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• PDP, LP still struggling to keep house in order

• APC overcomes initial challenges


From Tony Osauzo, Benin


4 21


Ahead of the September 21 governorship election in Edo State, some of the major political parties taking part in the election are currently plagued by internal contradictions, disagreements and conflicts.

The success or failure to resolve these disagreements will determine the performances of the parties at the election, even as realignment of forces, horse-trading has gained currency among political parties ahead of the poll.

Specifically, the Legacy Group within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which prides itself as the aborigine members of the party, last week at a well attended meeting of its members from the seven local government areas of Edo South, issued what looked like a riot act to the state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, requesting him to commit himself to their demands before the election.

The group recalled the governor’s failure to fulfil his agreement with them when it offered him the platform of the PDP to run for a second term of office after his former party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) declined to give him a second term ticket.

They accused the governor of taking over 85 per cent of political offices for members of the APC who came with him to join the PDP while neglecting members of the party that rescued him in his time of need.

Consequently, the Legacy Group requested Obaseki to commit himself to the group and come forward for discussion ahead of the governorship election to enable it make up its mind on the position to take for the election.

The State Secretary of the PDP, Hillary Otsu, a member of the Legacy Group, told Sunday Sun in Benin that the issues raised by the Edo South of the party have been hanging for years without resolution, alleging that “since Obaseki joined the PDP, nobody has been able to pin him down for anything. The governor has confiscated everything to himself, he said.

“It is very important to note that the governorship election is for the PDP to lose”, he said.

Otsu, however, noted that the party has five months to the election and, therefore, the onus lies on the governor to respond to the demand of the Legacy Group.

When asked what would happen if Obaseki fails to respond to the request of the Legacy Group, a top member of the group said: “We are gone; the party is dead. The truth is that the PDP has to die in Edo State for now”.

But another member of the group and State Deputy Chairman of the PDP, Hon. Harrison Omagbo, disagreed with the position of the Legacy Group.

He contended that in the next six months, Obaseki will no longer be governor, urging members of the party to support the party’s candidate, Asue Ighodalo, because he has what it takes to take Edo State to the next level.

“You can’t continue to quarrel and fight without settlement. If you do so, you are pushing yourself out of political relevance.

“Some us have decided to take our destiny in our hands. I have taken a decision to work with the PDP. I am a PDP man”, he stressed.

Just as the PDP is grappling with its internal crisis, the Labour Party (LP) is not spared, as some of the party’s failed governorship aspirants are erecting hurdles on the party’s path to put up a good showing at the election.

One of the aspirants, Kenneth Imansuangbon, has sued LP alongside the party’s candidate, Olumide Akpata, in two separate suits filed at Benin and Abuja Federal High Courts.

In summary, Imansuangbon is contending that the party’s governorship primary election was not conducted in line with the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.

He, therefore, wants the courts to nullify the election and declare him winner of the primary election, having scored the second highest votes.

But the Edo State Publicity Secretary of Labour Party, Sam Uroupadei, told Sunday Sun that the party did not have any contention arising from the primary election as no aspirant registered grievances after the primary.

He described those laying claim to the party’s governorship ticket as “social media candidates”.

On the likelihood of the party’s conflict with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) affecting the performance of the party in the Edo governorship election, Oroupadei said it would not.

“The voters are in Edo State, they are not in national. The party is set for the election. We are good to go”, he said.

The LP Publicity Secretary while alluding to last week’s attack of its party candidate, Olumide Akpata, by students at the University of Benin, alleged that the PDP was afraid hence it masterminded the attack from Government House.

But when reminded that the PDP has denied any involvement in the attack, the LP spokesman said: “We believe so because Asue Ighodalo attended the same event at the University’s Senior Staff club and he was not attacked. They want to intimidate us from the race, but we can’t be intimidated.”

Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC), though has resolved the crisis that trailed its governorship primary election, Sunday Sun learnt that some of the aspirants that lost out are not happy with their exclusion from some important meetings of the party.

But the Edo State Publicity Secretary of the party, Peter Uwadiae, disagreed with the claim, saying that those who hold that position do not mean well for the party.

“The unity we have now, the zest and spiritedness and the willingness is to forge ahead to uproot the PDP.

“The APC as a party is built on love, fairness and accountability. The aspirants are now in unanimity. The winner of the primary is Senator Monday Okpebholo and he has appointed Hon. Dennis Idahosa as his running mate.

“We are united to regain power from the PDP come September 21”, Uwadiae said.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is expected to lift the ban on campaigns to signal commencement by political parties to explain their manesfestos to the electorate and woo them to vote for their parties.

The Edo election is expected to be keenly contested going by the enthusiasm of the participating political parties and the electorate ahead of the election.