L-R: Former Edo State Governor, Chief Lucky Igbinedion; Senator Odion Ugbesia, People’s Democratic Party National Chairman, Price Uche Seconds and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike
Those who are expecting the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to leverage on the lingering crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress(APC) in Edo state may be disappointed. This is as the political power brokers in the PDP are already sweating it out, and escalating a raging war of attrition to gain the control of the party structure in the state ahead of this year’s stand alone governorship election.
This situation has plunged the Edo PDP into a deep crisis, tearing the party to shreds.Chief among the power brokers jostling to seize the control of the party include a frontline PDP leader in Edo, Chief Lucky Igbinedion; Senator Odion Ugbesia, PDP national chairman, Uche Secondus, Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, among others. The crisis in the party reared its ugly head at a recent meeting of the PDP leaders in the state held to unify party positions ahead of the January 25 congresses to be held across the entire state.
While majority of the members are said to be advancing arguments for Hon. Anthony Aziegbemi, a one-time member of the House of Representatives to replace Dan Orbih as the state Chairman, the acclaimed leader of the party in the state, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, had reportedly made a move to cede the chairmanship position to Owan axis of the state but was kicked against by some leaders who argued that the outgoing Chairman hails from Edo North.
Apart from Hon. Aziegbemi who many of them believed is a frontline candidate for the Chairmanship, there are two other persons in the race to replace Orbih. They are Fred Okah (Edo South) and a two-time Senator Odion Ugbesia (Edo Central). It is believed that these aspirants are being propelled by some external forces as well including elements within the APC in Edo State to have some significant legs in the PDP.
Asides the crisis generated over the state chairmanship position, the PDP gladiators in Edo are currently having a running battle over who gets the party’s ticket. The party’s candidate list is said to include Senator Matthew Urhoghide, chairman Senate Committee of Public Accounts; Mr Kenneth Imasuangbon, alias “the rice man”, Arch Mike Onolememen, a former Minister of Works; Hon. Omorogie Ogbeide-Ihama, a young politician from Oredo and Gideon Ikhine. But the chances of Imasuangban, Ikhine and others from central senatorial zone appear bleak because the current dynamics favour only aspirants from Edo South. Urhoghide, a two-term senator is said to be generally admired by many across political divide.
It is believed that Governor Wike of Rivers, PDP Chairman Secondus and other political heavyweights prefer Senator Urhoghide from South to fly the PDP ticket for the governorship. Insiders confided in The New Diplomat that this might be among the key reasons why the chairmanship of the party has been zoned to Edo Central Senatorial zone where Ugbesia hails from. For many people, Senator Urhoghide is the one with the political weight across party divide and state wide to take on APC in the stand alone 2020 governorship polls in Edo State.
But Musa Kadiri and other interest want people from Central senatorial Zone like Imasuagban aka “Rice man” to also run. His group believes zoning the chairmanship to Central will automatically shut out Imasuagban and others from Central Senatorial zone, a development that may have caused some internal rift.
Recall The New Diplomat had reported that judging by its voting population, all eyes will be on Edo South where both Governor Obaseki Godwin Obaseki and Pastor Ize-Iyamu hail from. Both may likely slog it out for the APC ticket. The Senatorial zone has about 58% of the State’s projected voters demographics strength. In fact, the projected voting strength of the other two- Senatorial zones-North (25%) and Central (17% ) when polled together do not seem to equal or rival the South in terms of statistical voting power. This could have explained reasons why the PDP is favouring the Senatorial zone for its choice of candidate.
The Bayelsa Scenario Playing Out Again?
Meanwhile, what’s currently playing out in the Edo PDP has a semblance of the factor that made PDP to lose Bayelsa. Recall Governor Dickson’s decision to foist an unpopular governorship candidate – Duoye Diri on PDP against Timi Alaibe who is more popular among many stakeholders including former President Goodluck Jonathan led to the party’s shambolic outing at the poll.
If the PDP continues to play another politics of infighting among political juggernauts, analysts believe that it will likely play its game into the waiting hands of the APC in the state in the later’s bid to totally crush and decimate the PDP in this year’s governorship election.