Edo PDP Crisis: Now The Political Dust Is Settled.
For a couple of months now, PDP have been belaboured by internal wrangling over which camp should present members for elective positions. There were arguments for and against, back and forth. The Chief Dan Orbih’s camp felt since the Legacy PDP members were not factored into the cabinet equation even with their superior number after the hurriedly hatched amalgamation, the camp should have that, which seems sensible, logical and a fitting matter of natural justice. The Governor Godwin Obaseki’s camp felt the governor is the alter ego of the party, he should have both the cabinet and the elective positions as the leader of the party. There were negotiations on this matter for several days by leaders of both camp in Abuja under the Governor Ortom led reconciliation committee but nothing meaningful sufficed. Both parties went home with empty diplomatic bags.
When it was time for preparations for primaries into House of Assembly, House of Representives and Senate, the Party had no option than to use only ad hoc delegates who will be elected at ward levels without the use of statutory delegates because such was not provided for in the Electoral Act, as amended. It came as a rude shock because the Chief Dan Orbih’s camp had always depended on having the statutory delegates as their only bargaining chips, and as well as their bragging rights. Well, as a great political thinker who does not take anything for granted, Chief Dan Orbih brazed for the challenge and went to see his camp elected the 3 man ad hoc delegates, and the National delegates in all the 192 wards of the state, and 18 LGAs respectively, which were duly monitored by INEC to give the exercise legitimacy before the eyes of the law. And on the other hand, Governor Godwin Obaseki felt comfortable with his relationship with Senator Ayu, the National PDP Chairman, and his lordly position as the leader of the party. He wrote his own list per ward without INEC’s blessing and went to hand deliver it to Ayu, who took it as a project that must fly.
When Chief Dan Orbih, who is a member of PDP National Working Committee got a whiff of the news like an _eau de cologne_, his members approached the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to pray their list must be the only list accepted, which was duly monitored and signed by INEC, not the manipulated list with Ayu. The court obliged them their prayers in a way of injunction. In the wisdom or lack of it by the governor’s camp, they didn’t vacate the order or even attempted to set it aside, rather, they rushed to a state high court sitting in Abudu to get an order recognizing the said ad hoc delegates list with them. As usual, Chief Dan Orbih’s camp appealed the ruling for lack of jurisdiction and it was successful, which meant the appeal court agreed that the state high court lacked jurisdiction to entertain electoral matters which section 84(14) of the Electoral Act addressed. The case was struck out for reason stated above.
And with these, the whole parrallel primaries conducted by the governor’s camp, which were not monitored by INEC are in nullity and of no effect as of today. Both the National body and the State executives has acknowledged this legal fact. At least, the list of Delegates from the Chief Dan Orbih’s camp were the only ones allowed to vote during the just concluded presidential primary because the party knew the far-reaching implications if the illegal list was substituted to vote.
And now, to the conundrum. What’s next going forward after the settled dust from the parrallel primaries in Edo State PDP? Should the governor’s camp proceed to the Supreme Court to further seek justice or let go and continue to recognize the legal primaries conducted under the watchful eyes of INEC?
For me, the fight should come to an end. The Chief Dan Orbih’s camp participated in a morally justified struggle against dominance and subjugation.They can reach out for peaceful resolutions and coexistence if the stories of the governor helping his men into Labour Party are not true. On the other hand, both the Legacy and the New PDP members are from the same parent PDP, the governor should not look at it as if he is being defeated, you win some you loose some. At least, his preferred candidate won the PDP presidential ticket while that of Chief Dan Orbih, Governor Wike lost. He should be magnanimous enough to forget about going to the Supreme Court, bury the hatchets and make peace. He should join the Party to help those who were duly elected under PDP to succeed. After all, some of them are his friends and acquaintances like Hon. Paschal Ugbome who was his campaign director for Edo North and a member of his transition committee. He would be needing the support of the governor and a united PDP as a reciprocation to confront the Behemoth Oshiomhole in Edo North. He is also a friend to Dr Mike Onolememen CON who won the primary in Edo Central Senatorial District for Senate. They are long term acquaintances and close friends. The governor should not out of politics break these and other relationships, stooping is not necessarily defeat, it might be bravery and it takes courage.
If the governor takes the lead in acquiescing himself with the fact that it is time for unity in the Party especially to face APC both in these elections and that of the presidency, his actions will percolate down to the now so bitter followers at the lower wrung who write and show explicit anger towards others.