Edo 2024: PDP Open Internal Affairs and Reconciliation., — By Elempe Dele
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Edo State Chapter, on Sunday, 3rd, 2024, had their congress across the 18 Local Government Areas, LGAs, to elect Ad Hoc Delegates from the 192 wards who will in turn vote for their preferred aspirants come 22nd of this same month of February.
From all indications, even from protestations emanating from the other 9 aspirants, which include Comrade Philip Shaibu, Hon. Ogbeide Ihama and others – a mix of contenders and the varied version, it is obvious Dr. Asue Ighodalo Esq, the leading aspirant will be duly elected to fly the flag of the party during the primaries.
Some political pundits are of opinion that the other aspirants should not continue to throw monies towards the directions of the delegates, while others have opined that it is not over until it is over.
What ever opinion is held by these political pundits, the obvious fact is known even if eyes are wide shut to the reality on ground.
Asue Ighodalo Esq is no longer a stranger to the mainstream politics of Edo State owing to the fact that since his intention to contest the election, he has been everywhere meeting party members, meeting the people of Edo State who will perhaps make the bulk of the electorates, meeting the press and accentuating his desire and plans to redefine growth and development in Edo State.
He is the most talked about PDP aspirant and the most visible – both physical interactions and on social media.
He has even used these press friendly opportunities severally to debunk the notion he is the anointed candidate of the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, something a section of the public are finding difficult to accept.
According to the National Working Committee, NWC, the Independent Electoral Commission and the Edo State Chairman, Dr. Tony Aziegbemi, the Ad Hoc Delegates election was free and fair.
And that anyone of the aspirants who feels otherwise should approach the appeal panel of the Party to register their reservations as an internal mechanism to address issues emanating from the congress. As of today, none of the aggrieved aspirants has registered with the panel except the press releases and letters to the NWC noting the election was prearranged to favour a particular candidate after they had carted away with fifty million Naira each for the purchase of forms.
According to Oluwole Iyamu, SAN, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the State, said what transpired on the 3rd was not a primary election, but a congress to elect Ad Hoc Delegates at ward levels who are willing to vote during the primary for aspirants of their choices.
He argued that it is only those who contested during the said election are the ones with vires or locus to challenge the conduct of the exercise. He added that unless an aspirant can prove that a delegate was not a member of the Party, PDP, the only valid option will be to focus campaigns on wooing delegates in preparation for the primary.
No doubt, the combatants from all sides seem to be resting in what seems a political retrospection to me since the Ad Hoc Delegate election. The war of words have been toned down to whispers or even silence.
No one knows what the next moves are. Yes, the other nine aspirants have rejected the congresses as being unfair, but nothing legal or concrete has so far been added to the mere disagreement.
Someone like Bar Anselm Ojezua, the former APC Chairman of the state who decamped to PDP sometimes in 2020 has been talking with some sense of disagreement, pity, sympathy, regret…on national television stations.
Now the obvious is known, what is next for the Party and key stakeholders?
In my own estimation, as a boardroom negotiator, I will bet Asue will favour reconciliation, horse-trading, dialogue and negotiation with the aggrieved aspirants rather than alienation and isolation. Afterall, politics is about numbers. Like he said recently with a stroke of an old shrewd politician he is not, he said he would rather be on the same side with Chief Dan Osi Orbih, the Vice Chairman, South South PDP, than be his adversary.
This was coming after he had previously said he was aware the vice chairman, South South, was not on his side of the political divide within the Party.
Much need to be done behind close doors to see how much of dialogue can be effected between now and the primaries, and afterwards. It will be necessary for Asue to display in politics the skills he has acquired to negotiate business deals.
Political deals must be brokered, give-and-take negotiations must be entered, raw nerves must be tempered, and if possible, funds used by serious contenders can be returned as to minimize loss.
This will be a litmus test of the growing political awareness and effectiveness of Asue Ighodalo Esq.