24th February, 2012
There is palpable tension in the air as the five aspirants vying for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship ticket in Edo State gear up for the primary slated for the Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City on Saturday.
P.M.NEWS gathered that the tension is so high that even the party elders and 735 delegates that are expected to cast their votes for their choice of who flies the party’s banner in the July 14, 2012 poll are feeling it.
There is said to be a heated debate among the five aspirants, namely: Professor Julius Ihonvbere, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, Barrister Ken Imansuangbon, General Charles Airhiavbere (retd) and Hon. Matthew Iduoriyenkewen on whether to use 18 ballot boxes (one ballot box for delegates from each local government area) or to use a single ballot box for the votes to be cast by all the delegates.
Those opposed to the idea of 18 ballot boxes are reportedly scared that it might be a ploy to railroad the delegates into voting for an anointed candidate.
“By insisting that 18 ballot boxes should be used for the voting the leadership of the party are inadvertently trying to monitor the voting pattern and scare delegates from casting their votes for their choice aspirants.
“We will resist this vehemently. It is unheard of that a party classing itself as a democratic entity should be doing things in such dubious manner.”
Where is the internal democracy that we are all preaching about?” one of the aggrieved aspirants (who does not want his name disclosed) told P.M. NEWS.
He queried the rationale behind the nocturnal moves to impose a candidate on the party when the incumbent governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is looming like a mighty colossus in terms of his many achievements in the state.
“I am the only aspirant that can give Oshiomhole a run for his money at the governorship election on July 14th. I am the only person in tomorrow’s race for the governorship ticket who can win the polls
conveniently in July.
“If the PDP leaders skew the process of picking the party’s flag bearer in favour of an anointed candidate in the name of zoning then the party should just wait for its doomsday.
“This is a battle between the apostles of change and the established old order. The outcome of Saturday’s (tomorrow) governorship primary will determine who owns the state,” he boasted.
Meanwhile, there are feelers from the grapevine that some of the aggrieved aspirants are weighing the option of dumping the party for the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the event of any perceived hanky-panky in the selection process.
—Isaac Olamikan/ Benin