Let me state from the outset and without equivocation that I disagree with a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, Mr. Sunny Uyigue, on his claim that Edo PDP problem started when a leader from outside some senatorial districts tried to impose his authority on them.

Treading the already beaten path in his interview with Nigerian Pilot (published on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at page 26), Uyigue, who gleefully described himself as a factional chairman of the party in the State, pointed finger of guilt at former Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, in his tenuous accusation of imposition.

Read him: “PDP is never one in Edo State . PDP is in faction. I belong to a faction of the PDP in Edo State and that is Ogbemudia and Akhigbe’s faction and thank God, I happen to be the man leading that faction of the PDP now…. We are saying that there should be internal democracy; we have three senatorial districts and these should be autonomous. Edo South in particular, we are not subservient to Anenih; he should leave us alone in Edo South; stop dictating to us; stop doing to us as if we are slaves.”

The above pronouncement by Uyigue in which he celebrated his commitment to the factionalisation of the PDP in Edo with the full backing of an elder statesman, Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia and a former number two citizen of the country, Admiral Mike Akhigbe (retd.), would beat the imagination of right-thinking persons whose idea of statesmanship transcends proclivity towards divisiveness.

I am not suggesting that Ogbemudia and Akhigbe are in support of Uyigue’s fresh onslaught after the glaring outcomes of the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly elections in Edo State in which the so-called PDP leaders in Edo South and Edo North failed to deliver their zones to the party. They might as well be in his support. I stand to be faulted.

My validation: would the PDP not have made a better showing (winning some seats) in Edo South if Ogbemudia had solidly associated with and thrown his weight behind the party? The story would have been different in Edo South. But he did not. It is taken for granted that Akhigbe is not a tested politician and could not have therefore delivered his area to the PDP even if he were to support the party.

But, even at that, he did not support the party going by his confessions in Vanguard of Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at page 41 in a publication entitled: “Edo: House of Assembly Polls Raise Stakes for 2012.” After the defeat of the PDP in his area, he was quoted to have said: “now we know who owns the land. They said I am not a leader; that I don’t have political value, but the result of this election has shown you that they only make noise in Abuja. They said (Mike) Oghiadohme is their leader, not me. I said okay. Now, their leader could not even win his polling unit. I told them they will be disgraced. It is only those days when they rig to win that they feel relevant. Now, the people have spoken and the PDP will continue to suffer this way in the State until the right thing is done.”

What more evidence of anti-party activity is needed against Akhigbe? If his action was not considered to be anti-party, it must then mean that he is a member of the Action Congress of Nigerian (ACN) and not of the PDP. In the webs of political intrigues and back-stabbings in which the PDP was caught, it was only Anenih, whom Uyigue said should leave Edo South alone, who deployed his political sagacity cum strategy and delivered his Edo Central zone to the PDP.

From the outcomes of the polls, it was clear that Anenih actually left Edo South and Edo North alone to the charge of the so-called PDP leaders in the zones. But did these so-called PDP leaders work with other genuine leaders of the party to win the elections? The answer is unarguably negative; which was why the PDP lost in the zones. Uyigue and his group know, between them and their God, the role they played to undermine the PDP in the elections because they have a supposed axe to grind with Anenih.

Their contention, which Uyigue has restated in the published story and to which this piece could well, in the estimation of some people in some circles, be a response, is that Anenih is exercising authority over the party in the State, which in their own words amounts to imposition. Can the claim of imposition (if Uyigue and his group mean nomination of candidates for the elections) be validated against the backdrop of the free, fair and transparent primaries of the PDP which threw up the various candidates?

For instance, reports indicated that during the PDP primaries, which were devoid of skirmishes and bloodshed, some incumbent Legislators lost their bids for re-nomination. In particular, Hon. Frank Okiye, who was believed to be Anenih’s preferred candidate, lost at the primaries. Anenih, according to those close to the development in the party, could have saved and imposed him; he did not. Hon. Ereghan, an incumbent from Irrua, reportedly lost at the primaries. He could have been saved and imposed but he was not.

Yet, Uyigue and co. would want the whole world to believe that candidates in all the three zones were imposed by Anenih. What manner of revisionist is Uyigue? Now, how could someone (Anenih), who has spent his time, energy and resources building the PDP since 1999 as well as providing solid leadership, be the party’s problem? Would he not want the success of the party? Would he not crave the best for the party in terms of electoral contests and governance? He certainly would. He, in fact, did as attested to by the way he ensured the defeat of the ACN in Edo Central Senatorial Zone.

Indeed, the problem of the party is the group of persons within the PDP that has vowed to assume leadership of the party for which the group lacks the capacity to do and failing to assume leadership, the group has been working tirelessly, even if clandestinely, to ensure that the party (PDP) does not remain united in the battle to dislodge the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

The group, which aim is exemplified by Uyigue, is the problem of the party. It has consistently toed the path of insubordination. But there is established machinery within the party to deal with insubordination to and contempt of the decision and directive of the National Leadership of the party that has recognized the Chief Dan Osi Orbih-led State Executive Committee of the party as the bona fide leadership in Edo.

I ask, what is the motive behind the refusal by Uyigue and his backers to conform to the decision of the National Leadership? Why has his group chosen to frustrate reconciliation moves by the Orbih-led SEC? The answer could well be that the group has lent itself to usage by the ACN as instrument to destabilize the PDP and make it impossible for it (PDP) to dislodge the ACN?

Some of the so-called leaders of the PDP in Edo South and Edo North are members of the PDP in the day while they are ACN members in the night. They do not care if the PDP structure is completely ruined because they want to even scores with Anenih whom they have found difficult to dislodge in their politically-selfish bid to assume control of the party.

This is why Uyigue and his group are running a parallel structure funded by ACN’s Oshiomhole. They cannot genuinely controvert this truth and it is a fact that as long as Oshiomhole continues to sustain these people on his payroll so long will they continue to run a parallel structure to undermine the bona fide PDP structure (secretariat) in the State.

These persons who crave the satanic pottage and filthy lucre of the ACN are the real problem of the PDP. But for how long will the PDP leadership tolerate them? After a series of failed reconciliation efforts, why is the PDP reluctant to wield the big stick against these so-called leaders whose shenanigans have become quite evident with their questionable roles in the party’s losses in Edo North and Edo South Senatorial Zones of the State in the just-concluded general elections?

Written by John Ainofenokhai, a political and public issues manager, contributed this piece from Benin.

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