Edo 2024; Orbih Group begins moves to wrestle party structure from Obaseki

By DADA AYOKHAI

The Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may soon take up the frontpage of most national dailies as factional leaders of the party are set to fight naked in the full public glare over control of the party structure

This time, the cannon fodder for the next phase of the much anticipated fierce tug-of-war is the INEC timetable for the Edo 2024 Guber election

The timetable details the series of activities to be undertaken by the Commission in conjunction with the political parties leading to the election, including fixing the dates for the purchase of nomination forms, holding of party primaries, as well as the commencement of the campaign

Inadvertently, the release of the election timetable by the election umpire will resurrect the battle for the soul of the ruling party which had hitherto pitched the faction led by Gov. Godwin Obaseki against the Legacy faction led by Chief Dan Orbih

Though the candidates fielded by the Obaseki faction enjoyed INEC recognition during the presidential, national, and state assembly elections, the Orbih faction are still much ready to wrestle the party structure from the governor.

Sadly, the 2023 general elections turned out to be the worst outing of the PDP since 1999.

The party lost all of the three senatorial seats and only managed to win a single House of Representatives seat

Ahead of the 2024 Edo Guber poll, there seems to be no respite in the ruling party. The recent face-off between the governor and his deputy showed the underbelly of the high-wire intrigues and divisions ravaging the party

The failure of the national body to reconcile and unite the warring factions gave Gov. Obaseki the impetus to consolidate his grip on the party.

Anyone who is opposed to his leadership style is “kept in abeyance”

Gov. Obaseki recently bared his fangs and also showed he is a one-man riot squad by ascribing to himself the exclusive right to produce his successor

The press statement of Friday, September 29, where he expressed his desire to “finish strong” and “swear in a successor” on November 11, 2024, says a lot about his mindset.

His follow-up statement that “It is not in my place to determine, appoint or anoint any successor” is a decoy. And to make himself appear like a Democrat, he stated,” All I know is that in the process of seeking my successor, there must be fairness, equity, and a sense of inclusion because our goal is to keep Edo as one”.

In a swift reaction, Vasco Ogie
State Publicity Secretary of the party agreed with a portion of the governor’s statement as it related to fairness in choosing his successor but noted that it is sad that the governor has also failed to promote equity and justice in the conduct of the affairs of government since he assumed office

Ironically, the state chapter Publicity Secretary belongs to the Legacy faction.

He boldly announced that the faction would take up the challenge to test the sincerity of the governor’s statement by nominating a gubernatorial candidate, adding the candidate would likely emerge from the collection of dedicated and loyal party members who have stood with the faction over the years

However, political pundits have asserted that Gov. Obaseki may face an uphill task in producing his successor if the national exco of the party is taken away from the grip of Alhaji Abubakar Atiku who was the party’s presidential standard-bearer during the 2023 presidential election

Borderline News24 learned from inside party sources that the leeway enjoyed by the Obaseki faction during the last Congress was the handiwork of the Dr. Iyorchia Ayu-led National Exco

The battle for the soul of the PDP National Exco is expected to resume after the Supreme Court verdict on the fate of the election petition by Atiku Abubakar who had earlier lost at the Court of Appeal level.

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