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“Ready for Mass Burial”- Edo Governorship: PDP In Dilemma Ahead Of Primaries

Ahead of the February 22 governorship primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, concerns have continued to mount over the unresolved internal squabbles within the party.……CONTINUE READING>>>>>>

A party source who pleaded anonymity, told POSTREPORTERS that concerns over how the party zones its governorship ticket, the dissenting position of the camp loyal of the National Vice Chairman of the PDP, South-South, Chief Dan Orbih; and the insistence of Deputy governor, Hon Philip Shaibu to succeed his boss.

Governor Godwin Obaseki, who completes his constitutional mandated two terms this year, is said to be rooting for Mr. Asue Ighodalo to succeed him.

Obaseki had fallen out with his erstwhile political godfather, Adams Oshiomhole, then national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He thereafter left APC, joined PDP after a deal with Orbih’s camp ahead of the 2021 election, and won the election to secure a second term. But his relationship with Orbih’s camp has since collapsed.

However, POSTREPORTERS has learnt that party insiders are worried that Orbih, who worked with Obaseki in 2021 and has since parted ways with the governor, still controls a good share of traditional PDP members in the state.

It was further learnt that his camp has consolidated its base with its recent formation of the Legacy Coalition, which is an amalgamation of political forces in the state.

The camp is however yet to announce an anointed candidate for the February primaries.

On the other hand, the ambition of Obaseki’s deputy, Shaibu, is causing concerns as well.

After surviving an impeachment plot against him allegedly by his boss, the deputy governor has repeatedly insisted on his quest, which might further cause a split in the party if he fails at the primaries.

However, sources close to the party told POSTREPORTERS that a key concern is the zoning debate.

While Governor Obaseki is keen on favouring Edo Central for the top seat on grounds of fairness, equity, and justice, the challenge, according to insiders, is whether the zone has the numbers to deliver the election.

Beside his alleged candidate, Ighodalo, coming from Edo Central, Obaseki is said to have argued that Edo South and North have occupied the governorship for 16 years and eight years respectively. The central zone occupied the seat under Prof Oserheimen Osunbor for a little over a year before he was sacked by the court.

But it was learnt that those opposed to zoning the ticket to the central zone, say it does not have the electoral demography to win in the face of a building opposition.

It was gathered that the registered voters in Edo South are more than those of Edo North and Central put together.

They argue that Edo South has 52 per cent of the voters while Edo Central and North have 20 and 28 percent of the voters’ population in the state, respectively.

A party leader who pleaded anonymity, described zoning the ticket to the Central zone “as suicidal”, in the face of reports that the APC leaders in the state, who are angling to reclaim the state, have their eyes on picking their candidate from the South.

Moreover, it was learnt that supporters of former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ogbeide, have argued that their principal should have been given the ticket in 2024in the spirit of fairness, considering that he was prevailed upon in 2020 to step down for Obaseki after he lost out in the APC.

“If Hon. Ogbeide Ihama could listen to the voices of the party in 2020 and drop his ticket for Obaseki, the avenue to start the prayer for justice, equity, and fairness is the Ihama Avenue,” said another leader of the PDP.

Another source said of the development: “If Ihama could win Oredo Federal Constituency back to back in 2015 when APC was in control and 2019 when Obaseki was governor, it shows he is connected to the grassroots because the constituency has never reelected any Rep member since the start of the Fourth Republic. Besides, the leaders are saying, since we begged the young man to step down in 2020, this should be the time we honoured our word and support him as a candidate,” the source said.

However, Governor Obaseki and leaders of the different tendencies in the Edo PDP have embarked on what a source called shuttle diplomacy in the last week to wean over leaders of the PDP at the National level on this principal issue of zoning.

Sources in the party said that the PDP Governors’ Forum has also been asked to wade in with the National Working Committee already said to be polarized on the matter.

A meeting of the NWC on the thorny zoning issue was recently aborted just as aspirants in the race have embarked on lobbying among members of the PDPGF and the NWC, leading to the sharp division.

A source privy to strong debates among members of the NWC said that members have started accusing the party of being notorious for failing to reward loyalty and that implosion, which has been the Achilles heels of the party, took root in its failure to honour its loyal members.

One of the party leaders said that though the PDPGF and the National Working Committee are sharply divided on the matter right now, sanity should prevail in a short while.

A leader of the party however said that the PDP cannot afford to lose another election, especially that of Edo State where it has a head start with an incumbent governor, adding that the stakeholders would be prevailed upon to do the right thing. The threat posed by the APC to the PDP in Edo State is real and the threat of a one-party state is already ringing bells of caution in the ears of political leaders across the spectrum. That should ensure that things are looked at dispassionately and we should get it right,” a leader of the PDP said in Abuja.……CONTINUE READING>>>>>>

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