Edo 2016: Moment of decision in PDP

Written by on November 7, 2017

As the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State holds its governorship primaries today, BANJI ALUKO examines some issues that may sway delegates.PreamblesWhile 12 aspirants contested the primary election of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Saturday, the primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be contested by only three aspirants.

The contenders are a former Majority Leader of the Edo State House of Assembly, Matthew Uduoriyekemwen; a former Secretary to the Edo State Government, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and a former governorship aspirant of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Solomon Edebiri.

Many names were touted to contest the primaries of the former ruling party, the PDP, but only three names eventually collected the N13 million nomination form.

One of the early aspirants, Osaro Onaiwu, opted out of the race after he flooded Benin City and other parts of the state with his campaign billboards and posters.

When it was time to collect the nomination form, the director general of the PDP Governors Forum, he failed to show up.

Other speculated names for the ticket included a former Minister of Works, Architect Mike Onolememen, and Senator Ehigie Uzamere.Before now, two zones-Edo South (Benin) and Edo Central (Esan)–had been locked in succession battle across the two major political parties in the state.

Edo South in Lucky Igbinedion ruled between 1999 and 2007, while the only governor produced so far in the current republic by Edo Central, Oserheimen Osunbor, had his tenure truncated after spending only 18 months in office.

The third senatorial district, Edo North, will be completing eight years with Oshiomhole by November12. As far as Edo South is concerned, Edo Central has had a fair share of power and it was time power returned to Edo South.

Edo Central would, however, not have that as they continued to lobby to allow the zone produce the governorship candidates of the APC and the PDP.

The hope of having an Esan governorship candidate in the PDP was, however, extinguished after their leading Esan aspirant in the race, Architect Mike Onolememen, refused to declare interest in the race.

For Onolememen, who is from the Edo Central senatorial zone, the decision not to contest the primaries was a strategic one made to allow an aspirant from the Edo South senatorial zone pick the ticket of the PDP.

With Onolememen out of the way, it was easy for the PDP in the state to effectively zone the governorship ticket to the Edo South and deputy to Edo Central. With a voting population put at about 58 per cent and a strong determination to produce the next governor, it appears the PDP understands that the first step to winning the election is picking a candidate from the Edo South zone.With only three governorship aspirants, it is believed that the PDP may have less post-primary crisis to battle with unlike the APC with 12 aspirants.

The successful conduct of the ad hoc delegates’ election last week meant that the status of delegates, who will elect the party governorship aspirants, is settled.

There is also something that appears like unity among the governorship aspirants. They have been preaching peace and have vowed to combine forces with whoever among them picks the ticket.

Last week, they were all brought together under one roof by an Edo PDP group, Unity League, to discuss how they can foster unity among the aspirants and the supporters.

On that occasion, the aspirants once again gave their words to give their support to whoever wins among them.


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