The primary election process of the Peoples Democratic Party in Edo State ahead of the 2024 governorship election has commenced under tense circumstances, marked by internal disputes and boycotts.
A significant faction of the PDP, loyal to the National Vice Chairman (South-South), Chief Dan Orbih, boycotted a crucial meeting in Benin City.
This group, known as the Legacy Coalition, expressed dissatisfaction with the party’s management in the state.
Further complicating matters is the political rift between Governor Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu.
Obaseki, while visiting Bauchi State, stated that the party would decide Shaibu’s and other candidates’ political futures.
Amidst these divisions, the PDP State Secretary, Hilary Otsu, denounced the supposed State Executive Committee meeting, advising party members to avoid involvement.
This development signifies a deepening crisis within the Edo State chapter of the PDP.
Otsu said, “Dear Edo PDP leaders, it has come to my notice that a certain notice of meeting has been sent to leaders of our party. Kindly note that the constitution of PDP empowers only the secretary to call meetings.
“The purported notice, carrying an unverifiable printed signature is being circulated by mischief makers, who intend to cause confusion and further divide the party.
“I have not abdicated my responsibilities to the party. So, I advise you to ignore this invite, as the party will not take kindly to such act of sabotage, going forward.”
Another group within the party, believed to be loyal to the governor, said it had launched a membership drive.
In a statement, the State Assistant Secretary, Luckson Ogedegbe, said the party commenced registration of new members yesterday.
It directed the State Working Committee of PDP to drive the timetable for the 2024 governorship primary.
Ogedegbe said the decision was taken at a meeting of leaders of the party across the state, which he claimed had 89 of the 120 expected members.
Claiming that key decisions were taken during deliberations on issues affecting Edo PDP, he said, “The SEC mandated the SWC to drive the time table of the coming governorship primary, as released by PDP’s National Working Committee.
“The SEC mandated all ward chairmen to open the party’s registers in their various wards, and commence the registration of new members, starting November 30, 2023.
“The SEC mandated the SWC to direct any ward where registration does not start by Friday, December 1, 2023, to open a new register.
“The SEC directed that all ward registers must be submitted to Edo State secretariat of PDP at 59, Airport Road, Benin City, not later than December 6, 2023, for onward submission to the national headquarters of the party in Abuja.
“The SEC directed that all activities of the party must be carried out in the various ward secretariats of PDP in Edo.”
Ogedegbe also disclosed that the SEC of the party directed the SWC to set up committees in the local government areas and wards to monitor the party’s registration.