With the warning by the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of factional chairman of the party, Modu Sheriff, to steer clear of the activities of the party in the state ahead of the September 10 governorship election, all is now set for more confusion in the party.
To make it more confusing, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said they acknowledged the primary that was done last week and its result.
Sheriff had declared the June 20 governorship primary election of the PDP as illegal.
Sheriff also announced a new date for a fresh congress for the party.
But the state chairman of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, told journalists in Benin that the Edo chapter had no business in the crisis at the national level of the party.
Orbih described the primary, where Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu emerged as the party’s candidate, as successful and devoid of rancor.
The PDP chieftain noted that Edo did not need an “external investor” and would not tolerate any form of “northern irredentism”.
”In the interest of our people and our party, he (Sheriff) should not allow whatever differences he has with Abuja to come to Edo State. We are determined, right here in Edo State, to go by the law,” he said.
Orbih added, “Let us not mix the Abuja politics with Edo State politics. I am advising his group to stay away from what we are doing here because we are at peace with ourselves, and we are satisfied with the efforts that we are putting in place to ensure that Edo State is rescued from the hands of external investors.
“We will not tolerate Sheriff playing the role of an external investor. Edo State belongs to Edo people, and we will not, in any form, tolerate those who want to perpetrate northern political irredentism,” he said.
The Sheriff group, which is claiming leadership of the party, is said to have made it clear that Ize-Iyamu may end up as a liability for the party if retained as candidate because of his involvement in the $155 million Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke campaign money scandal as the candidate is undergoing investigation.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu was invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as part of investigation into how the money was shared by some PDP leaders.
The group is claiming that the party may have unwittingly played into the hands of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, which may use the EFCC to investigate the allege role of the PDP candidate in the deal or even detain him as the election approaches, forcing the party to have two battles to contend with – the governorship election and the EFCC.
Meanwhile, the APC led by its governorship candidate, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, in a surprise move, approached Dr. Solomon Edebiri to work together with him.
Obaseki was said to have gone to Edebiri’s home on Tuesday evening in company of Major Gen. Charles Arhiavbere, Senator Domingo Obende and other top members of APC, Edo State, for the meeting.
Although details of the meeting were not known, the APC’s move may be one of the strategies of the party to bring in people with substantial followings in the PDP to the APC.
Edebiri is believed to have substantial following and a force to be reckoned with in the political equation of the state.
Meanwhile, Sheriff has declared the governorship primary of the party in Edo State as illegal, dismissing it as the work of an illegal care-taker committee.
A statement co-signed by Sheriff and Wale Oladipo, former National Secretary, PDP, disclosed that a letter had been written to the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, urging him not to “give legitimacy to what happened in Edo”.
However, INEC has contradicted the claims by the factional chairman that the commission’s personnel did not monitor the governorship primary in Edo State conducted by the Makarfi-led caretaker committee.
While inaugurating his group’s version of the governorship election primaries committee for Edo State in Abuja, Sheriff said, “INEC is a creation of law and is created to monitor political parties. We are told officially that INEC did not send anybody to monitor the election.”
But the commission confirmed to newsmen that it actually sent its staff to witness the PDP’s governorship primaries in the state.
The INEC’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze Uzzi, who spoke to journalists on telephone, said that, “I am not aware of claims by anyone to the contrary, but all I can say is that INEC’s staff witnessed the PDP governorship and they are in the process of submitting their report.”
Speaking in the same vein, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, confirmed to reporters that the commission was represented at the primaries which saw the emergence of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the PDP flag bearer.
The question now is, what will the PDP do with the crisis threatening their chance of winning the election? Whose interest is Sheriff protecting especially now that the Ahmed Makarifi -led caretaker committee is accusing him of working to weaken and destroy the party.
The Ahmed Makarfi -led faction of the PDP has accused Sheriff and his associates of working with its opponent to destroy the party.
Reacting to the inauguration of a congress committee for Edo election, Dayo Adeyeye, spokesman of the Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee in a statement, said Sheriff has proven that he does not mean well for the party.
He added that Sheriff has connived with some former and serving governors of the All Progressive Congress, APC, to completely cripple the PDP to serve the interest of the ruling party.
Makarfi’s faction however, warned that any member of the party serving in any committee set up by Senator Sheriff will be engaging in anti-party activities and will face disciplinary action.
He further revealed that contrary to Sheriff’s claim of having a court order; investigations have revealed that there is no trace of any court order obtained by Senator Sheriff or his associates either at the Federal high court in Abuja or any court in Nigeria.

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  • Bako

    Sheriff is actually a disgrace