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Edo 2016: APC, PDP And Aggrieved Aspirants

Published by Leadership on Thu, 14 Jul 2016

MUYIWA OYINLOLA in this report examines the happenings within the two major political parties in Edo State, the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), even as the deadline for the submission of their governorship candidates for the forthcoming election in the state expired Tuesday.Predictably, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State ran into troubled waters over which of its two governorship candidates would be accepted by the Independent National Electoral Commission.After the battle to the finish between the Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction and the Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee, the INEC on Tuesday confirmed it had received the name of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the PDP governorship candidate for the September 10 election in Edo State.Before then, the deputy national chairman to Sheriff, Cairo Ojuogboh, had told Leadership that his faction of the party had submitted the name of Matthew Iduoriyekemwen to INEC, citing it did it based on the ruling of a Federal High Court in Abuja. But on the contrary, the Makarfi camp said it submitted Iyamus name based on a July 4 Federal High Court judgement in Port Harcourt that recognized the camp as the legitimate leadership of the party.This development has not only thrown the Edo State chapter of the party into confusion but the Sheriff-led faction has also rejected the refusal of the INEC to recognize its candidate, Iduoriyekemwen, for the Edo State governorship election.But whereas the situation is different within the camp of the the All Progressives Congress (APC) where the name of Godwin Obaseki has been submitted to the electoral body as its flag bearer for the election, and the party is seeing the election as an easy ride, there are still a lot to be done.The partys National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Tuesday in Abuja said the election would be a walkover for the party. After presenting the certificate of return to Obaseki on Tuesday, he said: we are just going to go ahead and win.But while Oyegun has expressed optimism that the party would win the forthcoming election, pundits are worried about the grievance of those who are aggrieved with the conduct of its governorship primary.Recall that two of the APC aspirants, Barrister Kenneth Imasuagbon and Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi have been challenging the election of Obaseki as the partys flag bearer. They jointly submitted a petition calling for a scientific examination of the electoral materials as well as critical evaluation of the entire process.The petition signed by the two aforementioned aspirants explains that the election was scientifically, systemically or methodically rigged with altered voting materials designed for the nefarious and despicable acts of rigging out the petitioners allegedly by some corrupt elements within the National Working committee.This development has left the presidency with no option other than to step in and calm aggrieved contenders.A source at the APC secretariat Abuja, raised more concerns that the deputy governor Dr. Pius Odubus comments during the petition hearing, seemed to suggest that the manner with which the state governor, Adams Oshiomhole, handled his role as a biased umpirethough entitled to his choice of successorbordered on the streak of a dictator who would rather have his way even at the split of the party. Yet most of the partys state executive and legislative mercenaries have disagreed, attributing the petitioners outcry for justice to just mere tantrums of a sore losers.It was also gathered from agents of the other aspirants who wish to remain unidentified for security reasons that the first eye brows were raised when it was realised that the delegate list released a day earlier had several names omitted. Moreover, it was alleged that during the accreditation exercise even more questions were asked when they found out the alterations were not consistent with neither the national working committee nor Obasekis agents list.This was why pundits expressed worries if this coincidence was part of a grand scheme to disenfranchise the Edo delegates of their constitutional right or was it just another honest mistake that may have exposed the incompetence of the team brought to Benin City. My hopes were dashed at the polling centre when I saw a number of persons who werent accredited since their names were struck out on majority of the list were now adorned with accreditation tags and allowed to vote, remarked one of the agents.Recall that the APC women delegate coalition chaired by Mrs Evelyn Igbafe had expressed the displeasure of their group shortly after the exercise. She explained that the manner with which Obaseki was foisted on the delegates and subsequently the people of Edo state only proves that he is not fit for leadership at the moment and advised that his nomination is nothing short of a disaster waiting to happen.In apparent retaliation from government house, she has since been unceremoniously dismissed from her post of executive director to the governor on poverty alleviation.With the die cast and a forensic analysis in the works, some of the questions the forensic team may be clarifying will be namely: whether the ballot paper had been altered, whether the thumb printing was of an indelible ink as required by the electoral act, and finally whether the video screening reveals non-accredited delegates voted at the stadium. A party stalwart from one of the petitioners camp remarked saying thus: We are hoping that through forensic and finger print experts and other analysts we can prove that the process was flawed.Recall also that members of the Edo state chapter for Truth and Justice Vanguard, (TJV) a non-governmental electoral watchdog lead by Barr. Felix Osemwingie has retracted their earlier congratulatory message to Obaseki citing revelations from several investigations that indeed the election was neither free nor fair. They have begun compiling a list of dissatisfied delegates of over 1600 who claim that they didnt cast their ballot for the supposed winner.They have also signed a petition to be submitted before the end of the week accusing the national electoral committee of providing vanishing ink for the polling exercise. The delegates are alleging that the ink used during voting was not indelible ink as provided for by the Manual for Election Officials 2016, rather one that lasted but a few second on their thumbs.Developments within the two major parties in the state have shown that there is internal wrangling and animosity among the candidates and those aggrieved with the outcome of the primaries of the two parties.Although it is too early to predict what the outcome of the disunity within the camps may be, it is predictable that unless the aggrieved parties are pacified and perhaps placated, it may spell doom for both parties, especially the APC where the aggrieved aspirants have large followers.There have been cases in the past where aggrieved politicians stay within their parties and work for another, thus making their parties lose elections.
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