The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is apparently in disarray in Edo State ahead of the 2016 governorship poll even before intense campaign activity begins. Sunday Mirror observation showed that members, chieftains and leaders of the foremost opposition party in the All Progressives Congress (APC)-governed state are now worried as a leadership crisis threatens to tear it into pieces amidst a denounced fake online portal: www. pdpmembership.org/register, urging interested citizens to register as PDP members through electronic process, disclaimed on Friday by the PDP National Publicity Secretary. Since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) formally announced on Thursday that the Edo State Governorship election will be held on Saturday, September 10 and thereby paving the way for the beginning of open and intense campaign activities by aspirants seeking the party’s tickets and by the party leaders, seeking majority votes in the scheduled election, not much has been said or heard by PDP leaders in Edo State.
Party sources told our correspondent at the weekend that the PDP was ready to begin high level campaigns but was presently pegged back by the uncertain position of its Chairman, Chief Dan Osi Orbih, and the other members of the state executive council, whose allegedly expired tenure is presently being challenged in court. It willt be recalled that an Edo State High Court in Benin City last week in an order that disorganised the embattled leaders, aspirants and followers of the party nationwide, restrained the leadership of Edo State PDP led by Chief Orbih from conducting the party’s congresses earlier scheduled for last Thursday until the hearing of a substantive matter brought to challenge the legality of the state party leadership. The court order resulted from the petition of a member of the party, Mr Ehi Osula, of Ward 12 in Oredo Local Government Area and other aggrieved party members, who approached the court urging it to declare as illegal, the continued stay in office of the current leadership of the party, whose tenure allegedly expired legally on September 24, 2015.
While the Orbih PDP leadership had concluded plans and logistics to conduct congresses across 192 wards and 18 local government areas of Edo State from February 24, 2016, the court ruling which a party leader craved anonymity to describe as “shocking and unexpected”, has totally thrown the party into a state of confusion, chaos and crisis that may eventually consume its ambition to return to Edo State power again if not nipped in the bud now. According to the claimant ’s counsel, Mr Matthew Edaghese, a chieftain of PDP himself, who asked the court to the restrain the Chief Orbih leadership from conducting any congress until the hearing and determination of the motion on notice, an illegal leadership cannot determine the fate of legal party members and aspirants. In his ruling, Justice Ikpomnwen, granted the claimant’s injunction and adjourned further hearing to February 29, 2016.