By Isaiah Jesuobo
I watched with disdain yet with some amusing laughter after hours of anticipation the Channels TV interview by Seun Akinbaloye where the two individuals interviewed showed their informed understanding about the crisis brewing in the Edo State PDP. One of them, Mr. Akemokue Lukman, a member of the ‘New PDP’ and an unofficial government propagandist, and the other, Mr. Osilama Okuofu.
(1)The first issue that caught my attention was when Lukman was asked what’s happening in PDP, his response was that they left APC after some crisis in the party…now, without going further, does it not sound as these people are harbingers of crisis? He is on TV talking again about crisis in PDP after about a year they left APC with loads of crisis which saw their then national chairman suspended from the party by this same group. Like I said, when a man keeps marrying and divorcing, he becomes the problem, not the women.
(2) Lukman said the Governor did not come to PDP as a political orphan, that he came with the full APC structure. Well, statistics after the election did not show that; PDP won the elections where it used to win and lost were it used to loose. For example, PDP normally wins in Edo Central and Edo South even in presidential elections. We have two senators and house of reps members in those senatorial districts, these are traditionally PDP play grounds. So what exactly did the governor’s structure bring to the table? The Deputy Governor lost in his ward and LGA in Edo North!
(3) On the issue of harmonization, Lukman, like his group, did not come to the discussion table with honesty. First, the PDP relinquished the positions of the governor and his deputy to them after elections, the first appointment Obaseki made was to appoint Bar. Ogie from the new PDP to become the SSG when everyone was expecting Bar. Pascal Ogbhome, who was the Campaign Director for the election in Edo North, to be so appointed. This gave leaders of the old PDP the feeling of doubt that Obaseki was going to be fair even when leaders of the party accepted integration, like he was never fair while in APC to its leaders. Thereafter, he appointed another new PDP as Chief of Staff and another as Deputy Chief of Staff. Obviously, the key five positions were taken by his men. Who exactly comes to justice without equity? How stupid will it be for the old PDP to accept that their executives, which was the only thing they have left, should be dissolved? Does Obaseki think others are fools? He eats his cakes and want to have it as well. And again, the dissolution of the state excos was a matter of illegality which we arbhor in PDP. PDP is a political party that wish to adhere to the tenets of the constitution of the party and that of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is not a gangster group and outlaws. So the governor does not have the authority to dissolve the state excos he met after a duly conducted congress.
(4) It is also untrue that there was a faction in PDP as erroneously claimed by Lukman. The pro-Tom Ikimi Faction never existed in Edo State PDP because Chief Tom Ikimi never was active or a factor in Edo politics, so he couldn’t have had a faction. This imaginary faction was created by this same APC elements in PDP. Chief Tom Ikimi, with due respect, came to limelight because he was among those in Abuja who courted the governor to join PDP after he was disqualified by the APC screening committee. Lukman cannot name one single PDP chairman in the 18 LGAs who was ever loyal to Tom Ikimi or who he can say he knows by name except that from his LGA. The structure of the entire party was and is still under the grip of Chief Dan Orbih, which he built over 10 years!…this fact is never in doubt. So talking about the ruse called harmonization and LGA election here is unnecessary after over one year in the shadowy limbo. All the issues about harmonization and appointments have been overtaken by events of disingenuous dishonesty from the side of the governor. And on this basis, the old PDP have decided to hold on to the structure of the party having realized that Obaseki and his mean men came to annihilate, dominate and capture.
(5) All the retailed lies Lukman peddled to eclipse that fact that Obaseki has failed to constitute his cabinet after over a year can only be sold to a school duns, not a mentally fit individual; in Sokoto and Benue States, the sitting governors decamped to PDP from APC, there were no demolition and dissolution of the PDP excos they met, why must it be done in Edo State? There were peaceful harmonization and integration because the intentions of the governors were clear, honest and peaceful. Why did Obaseki refused to learn from how these governors did it? Why must he first dissolve and make insolvent the state exco he met that was backed by the constitution of the party? What one would have expected of Obaseki was for him to sit with critical stakeholders in the party and have a round table talk on how appointments will be shared and how the integration and harmonization would go. He was not talking to critical stakeholders, he was talking to disenchanted party members who lost at the congress, he was making his appointments without consultations yet wanted his idea of harmonization which was a veiled political colonization. Yes, it is the prerogative of the governor to make his appointments, he does not owe anyone any explanation, he should go ahead fill all spaces with his men. What we are saying is, as the so called leader of the party, he has legal limitations. The governor does not want to make concessions just like he refused to do in APC, this is the crux of the matter.
Summarily, the old PDP members are no longer interested in appointments as it is obvious they have lost it in the government of Obaseki that is becoming an embarrassment to PDP. Our people can no longer access government house, he does not talk to our leaders except the willing tools among our ranks, he no longer picks calls from our leaders…Now, our interest is simple and plain going forward; he should keep his government while we keep the structure of our party.