By BERNADETTE IDALU
THE quest to have full dominance of the political terrain of Edo State come (February) 2015 has clearly pitched the two major political titans- the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) against the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Both parties assiduously sought to put forward their best aspirants to clinch key public offices for the upward delivery of the dividends of democracy.
Making the posters do the talk
Even as posters journeyed to designated points in town, virtually defacing state party secretariats of the various political parties in order to assert the aspiration of individuals, however, concessions had to be made through subtle overtures even at the last minute to ensure the emergence of the more popular candidate of choice.
The fate of female aspirants
Interestingly, despite the 35% affirmative action for women with the free collection of nomination forms by women and the physically challenged, female aspirants no doubt had cause to salute the courage of Sarah Jubril whose only vote at the shot for presidency was the one she cast for herself in the 2011 PDP Presidential primaries. Few days before the primaries, one after the other, female aspirants in the APC began to pull out of the race for the Edo State House of Assembly. They pledged their allegiance to the party and other aspirants of choice. They unanimously revealed their willingness to collapse their structures into the structures of the party and the candidates of the party.
As one or the other left the scene before the primaries, one was brave enough to sail her political dream to the end but she sadly crashed out of the race with no vote cast in her favour at Ugo. This was the case of Mrs. Doris Izevbigie an APC woman leader in Orhionmwon who gallantly watched fellow women casting their votes for other candidates of choice who incidentally were male. Despite the outcome she was nonetheless pleased with the orderly conduct of aspirants.
Mrs. Efe Imaghodor an APC aspirant into the Edo Stare House of Assembly who also lost out said she is ready to work with other candidates who won the party ticket and the women of Egor, to move the party forward. However, she maintained that her vision will never die. She kept sealed lips when asked if she was asked to step down. This was however not the case with Hon. Mrs. Elizabeth Ativie, currently the only female legislator in the Edo State House of Assembly who coasted home to victory, winning the ticket to return to the Assembly on the platform of the APC.
The surprise package
The mood though high and the people full of expectations, what suddenly awed political onlookers was the manner in which some decampees crashed out of the primaries in Edo State. The honourable members representing Esan North East constituency II and Igueben constituency, Hon. Emmanuel Okoduwa and Hon. Kingsley Ehigiamusor who left the APC to the PDP crashed out at the assembly primaries. This was the case of Hon. Abdul Rasak Momoh of Etsako West Constituency I who only recently narrowly cheated death by the whiskers when alleged hoodlums stormed his house. The invasion of privacy of the legislative quarters and subsequent hospitalization due to the beating he received led to accusations and counter accusations for both political parties. Accusing fingers were even pointed at the police due to the breach in security of the legislative quarters. This fate also befell Hon. Jude Ise-Idehen who lost the PDP primaries to the House of Representatives having moved out of the APC.
The riddle in the box
Though Comrade Godwin Erhahon, the State Publicity Secretary of the APC openly derided and mocked all political decampees from the APC in an article titled, “Woes of APC Decampees in the PDP, Sad Lesson To Political Irritants,” on page 14 of the Nigerian Observer of December 3, 2014 where he made such to realize that under labour laws, “All those who resigned from the services of the Edo State Government during the APC post-congress crises early this year are, under Labour Law, deemed to have absconded from service because they neither waited for their employers to accept their resignation nor handed over government properties in their possession properly, thus disqualifying themselves from election under the electoral act,” it is worthy of note that the APC decampee and ironically, PDP acclaimed Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Festus Ebea retained his candidacy for Esan South East Constituency. Same feat was repeated by Hon. Monday Ehighalua for Esan west Constituency and Hon. Patrick Iluobe for Esan North East Constituency I. These candidates were all returned unopposed.
Also unopposed was the incumbent legislator, Hon. Victor Edoror representing the APC in Esan Central Constituency
Interestingly, new names or budding politicians are emerging on the political terrain; a departure from the hegemony of political ruling families or class who perpetually cling to power. The results of the PDP primaries into the Edo State House of Assembly in Edo North showed that in Akoko Edo Constituency I, Pastor Johnson Ojo Momoh won the primaries while Barr. Bisi Idaomi got that of Constituency II. Tijani Abubakar got that for Etsako Central and Moses Abokor got that for Etsako East. Mr. Blessing Agbebaku got that for Owan West. For Etsako West, Sylvernus Eruaga got the ticket for Constituency II.
Racing against time
Dr. Ogbeide Ihama who once was at the helm of affairs of the Labour Party but now a PDP aspirant to the House of Representatives, representing Oredo Federal Constituency emerged winner while the closest runner up trailed with 18votes. Johnson Agbonayinma who crossed over from the APC to the PDP clinched the ticket with 37 votes. In the Edo South Senatorial District for the PDP, Pharmacist Mathew Urhoghide won the ticket with 127 votes. He is known to have associated with other political parties but came back to roost in the PDP.
The issue of consensus candidates
It is a season of surprises, concessions were made, and internal zoning of political seats to certain wards in order to build bridges and cement the unity of the parties did take place. The use of the terms consensus and unopposed candidacy gained prominence in conversations by the hour during primaries into the Edo State House of assembly but it was not replicated in the primaries for the Federal legislative seats where all aspirants tested their popularity in the public domain. Skirmishes thankfully were on the low side for delegates and candidates conducted themselves in
Edo Primaries : As We Look Forward To 2015
By BERNADETTE IDALU