HomeContemporary Legal issuesEdo PDP: Division, Litigation and Confusion

Edo PDP: Division, Litigation and Confusion


The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State appears to be at crossroads. Can the chapter make it to the September governorship poll?

PDP was not expected to bounce back four years ago until Governor Godwin Obaseki defected to the party from the All Progressives Congress (APC). His defection became a blessing to the chapter. But, the party also slided into acrimony over defective harmonisation, following the influx of new members. The crisis was never resolved.

The goal of the party is to retain power in post-Obaseki era. To do so, it must make haste. Speed is required as delay could be dangerous. To survive, it must prepare for legal fireworks in the court and avoid a lot of pitfalls.

The recent judgement of thr Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court was a blow. It invalidated the process that led to the emergence of Dr Asue Ighodalo as the governorship candidate of the party.
Justice Inyang Ekwo held that the PDP’s primary held on February 22 failed to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, the guidelines for the conduct of the poll and the constitution of the party.

The political interpretation is that in Edo PDP, there is no internal democracy.
But, it is beyond that. The chapter has been polarised. Cracks were not mended. Reconciliation had hit the rocks. Ironically, the court judgement against Edo PDP led to jubilation in a section of the chapter.

The celebration was in two respects in the state. The camp of the All Progressives Congress (APC) saw the judgment as a positive step as it removed a serious challenger to the bid of their candidate, Senator Monday Okpebhelo.

But more surprising was that a substantial part of the PDP, comprising those who consider themselves as the original stakeholders of the PDP before the advent of Obaseki welcomed the verdict and saw it as a just recompense against a man who was welcomed to the party but decided to take over the title documents.

The Dan Orbih group, fiercely loyal Nyesom Wike, has refused to be pacified. The governor has not been successful in his attempt to erase the past and achieve full integration of diverse interests.
While the news immediately went round that Ighodalo had been disqualified, some national officials of the PDP subsequently issued a statement that Justice Ekwo did not specifically mention Ighodalo as having been disqualified.

But according to legal pundits, the disqualification of Ighodalo was never brought up by the plaintiffs who originated the case. The plaintiffs were 372 delegates who emerged from the ad-hoc ward elections. They claimed that they were removed by the party from participating in the residue of processes that led to the emergence of the candidate.

These ward delegates went to court with certificates of their election signed by the party’s electoral officers in each of the supwards.

Also, PDP came to court with certificates of ward delegates, which were allegedly signed by the chairman of the Ward Delegates Election.

While examining the claims of the PDP, the judge wondered how one man could have been in 192 wards at the same time to sign the results of the delegates’ election.

Remarkably, the new chairman of the ad-hoc ward delegates election came after Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde pulled out, following fears that a disaster was about to happen to the PDP.

PDP is paying a price for disunity.The impression that the PDP is united in supporting the candidacy of Ighodalo has been widely debunked, given the fact that the state secretary of the party, Hilary Otsu, blamed Obaseki for the problem the party is facing.

He said: “The news of the Federal High Court ruling on Edo governorship congresses and primary does not come as a surprise. The process was faulted by many and just as nine out of the 10 aspirants went to various courts to challenge the outcome.

“The governor insisted on his way or no way. Unfortunately, he isnt the candidate. His belligerent posture all these years led him to mishandle this process leading to this first time ever debacle.
“Edo PDP has never had its governorship primary challenged in court. One of the aspirants, Barr. Ojezua, warned severally on TV that PDP stands the risk of not having a candidate and fatally, so it is right now.”

The division in the PDP was reflected in the fact that about eight of the party’s aspirants were seen in a video celebrating the court decision.

What next? The party is on appeal. But, what is more important is a truth and reconciliation meeting where aggrieved chieftains will once again hear their grievances, forgive and forget wrongdoings and resolve as one body to sslvage the platform from liquidation.

Dialogue is always better than warfare. Through some creative political solutions, Edo PDP can still be rescued from the brink.

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