The Battle For 2016 Toughens In Edo State

The main political parties in Edo state, Peoples Democratic Party and the ruling All Progressive Congress have started planning in prepar...

The main political parties in Edo state, Peoples Democratic Party and the ruling All Progressive Congress have started planning in preparations for the 2016 governorship election.

Associate editor, the Nations Newspaper, Sam Egburonu, reports that in Edo state, the ruling APC and the opposition PDP have stepped up preparations to produce Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s successor in 2016. The two parties are making determined efforts to resolve their internal crisis before the primaries.

To resolve the lingering internal crisis in the state chapter of the APC, where some interest groups within the party are piling up on the party’s state chairman, Anselm Ojezua to resign, the party constituted a 17-man reconciliation committee last week.

It was alleged that party members rooting for the chairman’s removal had compiled his anti-party activities and sent it to the state governor, Comrade Oshiomhole. Ojezua was accused of meeting secretly with Chief Tony Anenih and Chief Tom Ikimi to “plot the emergence of an Edo Central Senatorial candidate to succeed Oshiomhole in 2016.”

Ojezua was also blamed for the outcome of the state and National Assembly elections in the Edo central senatorial district, where APC lost three state assembly seats and all national assembly seats to PDP. Ojezua had long described the allegations as hollow and without substance saying all right thinking members of the party should disregard such allegations.

After the crisis that rocked the state APC which led to the exit of Pastor Osagie-Ize-Iyamu and Chief Tom Ikimi, Oshiomhole, according to sources close to him stressed his wish not to allow the crisis in the party to degenerate, especially as 2016 governorship election draws near.

This made constituting a reconciliation committee to settle every issue likely to divide the state’s chapter of the APC very imperative.

“That is why we cannot afford to sleep. We are preparing to go to the election as united as ever,” said a member of the Edo APC state working committee who wants to be anonymous.

The PDP had earlier vowed to reclaim the state. The PDP governed the state for 10 years before Oshiomhole emerged the governor on the ticket of the former Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) before taking the state to the APC.

Oshiomole is described by his supporters as a grass root politician and an incredible mobiliser who cannot be easily dislodged by the PDP. It is believed that Oshiomhole’s APC government has performed so well that PDP will have to work harder to be considered a serious threat to the ruling party’s political fortunes in the 2016 governorship election.

This nonetheless, leaders of PDP in the state including political lords like former PDP Board of Trustees chairman, Chief Tony Anenih; the Igbinedion political dynasty, former minister of foreign affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi among others, whom have vowed to make sure PDP is still very strong in Edo state and must return to power.

Moreover, the strength of the party in the state, sources said Anenih, the Igbinedions and Ikimi may have taken the 2016 governorship contest as a furtherance of the personal political battles they have fought with Oshiomhole in the past seven years.

According to Dr. Francis Edosoma, a political analyst in Benin, the “results of the last elections confirmed that each of the two parties is strong enough to produce the next government of the state after Oshiomhole. But given Oshiomhole’s superlative performance, his party remains the party to beat in 2016.

“However, a lot depends on the level of unity of each of the parties, how far they would be willing to carry the people along, the quality and acceptability of their candidate and the level of their preparedness for the election. So, I think the winner will be the one that prepared better and the one that made the right choice of governorship candidate.

“It must however be clear to APC that PDP is still strong in this state. So, if the party wants to continue to occupy the Edo Government House after the Comrade, it must prepare well and be wise and fair when it wants to pick its flag bearer.”

The strength of the two political parties; APC and PDP in Edo state could be determined from the result of the 2015 presidential and national assembly elections. In those elections, PDP won the presidential poll in the state and got two out of the three Senate seats, plus five house of assembly seats. This brilliant performance is said to be influenced by former president Goodluck Jonathan.


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