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Oshiomhole's Victory Reflects Mass Rejection of Anenih in Edo Politics

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As the People's Democratic Party (PDP) reels from the loss, which many have linked with the failed leadership of Chief Tony Anenih at the helm of the PDP in Edo State, the talking drums have been rumbling that Anenih should take responsibility for the

dwindling fortunes of the party and resign from office immediately.

A highly placed PDP chieftain in Edo State described the victory of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), in the July 14, gubernatorial election in the state as a rejection of the leadership of the party in the state. "The defeat of the PDP in Edo State is a public rejection of Anenih's principles and leadership style," adding that: "there was still ample opportunity to rescue the PDP form imminent collapse if members would be sincere to tell themselves the truth."

The top party source, told on condition of anonymity that the victory of Mr. Adams Oshiomhole was a result of the long years of dictatorship by Tony Anenih and his cohorts in the leadership of the party in the state.   "If the structure of the PDP is left to remain, where Anenih, Odion Ugbesia and Dan Orbih are the only relevant voices in the party, what is seen in Edo election last Saturday would be a child's play compare to what the future elections hold for the PDP in the State".

The source lamented that Edo PDP "can't just continue with a dictatorial person in a democratic setting like we have today. From traditional institutions, political class to the elites, there is a mass rejection of the present leadership of the PDP in Edo State," the source said, adding: "We want a new leadership that can unite and build a stable political future for the party in the state."

Another PDP member in Edo State said: 'we actually lost the poll during the primary when the party elected a weak candidate to run against Oshiomhole. Most of the people that were supposed to have worked for the interest of the party deliberately remained indifferent while others supported ACN underneath…If the political trend is allowed to continue, PDP in Edo State will not be able to win a councilor seat in future elections in the state," he warned.

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday presented the Certificate of Return to the candidate of the ACN and incumbent governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, as the duly re-elected winner in the July 14 election. Oshiomhole defeated the PDP gubernatorial candidate, Maj.-Gen Charles Airhiavbere, said to have been hand-picked by Anenih by a wide margin of over 70% in a poll adjudged one of the most free and fair in Edo history.

Equally, the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) also congratulated Oshiomhole, on his re-election even as the Presidency described Oshiomhole's re-election as a verdict on solid performance and good governance which should be emulated by other political office holders, especially governors of other states. The governors in a statement signed by its Director General, Mr. Bayo Okuaro, said the election exemplified the confidence of the people of Edo in Oshiomhole's leadership.

Many PDP stalwarts have derived joy in condemning Chief Tony Anenih who had provoked tension in the build-up to the vote by insinuating that the election was a fight of ego between him and the governor. Anenih has few commendations from the party rank and file, who believe that his best days are already behind him and not even his principled fighting spirit, or his old age could whittle the winding down of his great political career; which explains the rising crescendo for him to step down as head of the PDP in Edo State.