Edo Guber: Real Reason Edo PDP Leaders Are Chanting Ofonee

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has been jolted over its aspiration to hold the Edo State Government House in the election coming up this September with the chant of Ofonee echoing across the political landscape.

This follows the judgment of an FCT Federal High Court which invalidated the process that led to the emergence of Dr Asue Ighodalo as the candidate of the party in the governorship election.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, held that the PDP’s primary held on Feb. 22 failed to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022; the guidelines for the conduct of the poll and the party’s constitution.

Remarkably, the development led to celebration in many parts of Edo State. The celebration was in two respects. The camp of the All Progressives Congress, APC saw the judgment as a positive step as it removed a serious challenger to the bid of their candidate, Senator Monday Okpebhelo.

Even more surprising was that a substantial part of the PDP, comprising those who consider themselves as the original stakeholders of the PDP before the advent of Governor Godwin Obaseki welcomed the verdict and saw it as a just recompense against a man who was welcomed to the party but decided to take over the title documents.

There were viral videos of the PDP leaders chanting Ofone, Ofone, meaning it is finished to encapsulate their travails in the PDP since the entry of Obaseki into their fold.

While the news immediately went round that Ighodalo had been disqualified, some national officials of the PDP subsequently issued a statement that Justice Ekwo did not specifically mention Ighodalo as having been disqualified.

But legal pundits aver that the issue of disqualification of Ighodalo was never brought up by the plaintiffs who originated the case. The plaintiffs were 3 delegates who represented 378 others who emerged from the ad-hoc ward elections but were removed by the PDP from participating in the remaining process that led to the emergence of the candidate.

These ward delegates went to court with certificates of their election signed by the party’s electoral officers in each of the supwards.

What many saw as the albatross for Ighodalo was that the PDP came to court with certificates of ward delegates which were mostly signed by the governor of Enugu State, Mr Peter Mbah who was the chairman of the Ward Delegates Election.

The judge in examining the claims of the PDP wondered how one man could have been in 192 wards at the same time to sign the results of the delegates’ election. Recall that Mbah came in as chairman of the ad-hoc ward delegates election after Governor Seyi Makinde pulled out fearing that a disaster like this was about to happen to the PDP.

That was about the albatross for the PDP.

The impression that the PDP is united in supporting the candidacy of Ighodalo has been widely debunked given the fact that the secretary of the PDP in Edo State, Mr Hilary Otsu blamed Governor Obaseki for the problem the party is facing.

He countered the national party’s assertion in a statement circulated to newsmen:

“The news of the Federal High Court ruling on Edo governorship congresses and Primaries, does not come as a surprise. The process was faulted by many and just as 9 out of the 10 aspirants went to various courts to challenge the outcome.

“The Governor insisted on his way or no way. Unfortunately he isnt the candidate. His belligerent posture all these years led him to mishandle this process leading to this first time ever debacle.

“Edo PDP has never had its governorship primaries challenged in court. One of the aspirants, Barr. Ojezua warned severally on TV that PDP stands the risk of not having a candidate and fatally, so it is right now.”

The division in the Edo State chapter of the PDP was reflected in the fact that about eight of the party’s aspirants were seen in a video celebrating the court decision with their chants of Ofonee, Ofonee.

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