The governorship election in Edo State is a contest between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Many aspirants have indicated their intention to contest on the platforms of the two major political parties. In this analysis, Correspondent BEN OGBEMUDIA examines the PDP aspirants and their chances of getting the party’s ticket for the September 10 poll.
IF the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) intends to stage a comeback to the Edo Government House, as it has boastes in the past, it must do a lot of work to upstage the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
In this regard, the party is expected to resolve the crisis of credibility that marred its chances during the last general elections. But the, indications are that not much has changed in the party. The Edo chapter is still a divided house because of the effects of a court case against the tenure of the chairman, Chief Dan Orbih. But, efforts are ongoing to reconcile the factions.
Stakeholders are doing everything possible to pacify the warring factions. Indeed, the ward congress held recently was rancour-free, but a meeting of leaders held at a popular hotel on Sapele Road, Benin City, the Edo State capital, was truncated by supporters of some of the aspirants.
According to party insiders, the disturbances were caused by supporters of the aspirants, who were not favourably disposed to retaining Orbih as their chairman.
Nevertheless, many aspirants believe that they stand a good chance of dislodging the ruling party. Aspirants who have indicated interest in the governorship ticket include Chief Solomon Iyobosa Edebiri, Hon. Matthew Iduoriyekemwen and Pastor Osagie Ize- Iyamu.
Edebiri, who has been described as a core professional, is the President of the Nigeria Institute of Welding and West Africa Institute of Welding. He cannot be described as a ‘politician’. His popularity and support base are mainly from outside the party.
His supporters describe him as credible and accessible. He is believed to enjoy the support of some of the leaders of the party. Some PDP stakeholders and even beyond the PDP see in him as a man who has an impeccable character. He has been described as an astute businessman who has excelled in his chosen career.
He loves to give to the down-trodden, particularly widows, through his foundation, the Solomon Edebiri Centre for Change.
Among his co-contestants, Edebiri remains the only one who has not served in any capacity as a political appointee. Edebiri is believed to be popular at the grassroots because of the positive impact he has made on their lives.
He has keen interest in sports development and talent hunt.
However, Edebiri, nicknamed ISE, is new in the PDP and does not have a strong political structure. Critics say he does not understand the inter-party conflicts and intrigues within the hierarchy.
He is rated high among those who have chances of getting the PDP’s nomination.
Hon. Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, popularly referred to as ‘Major’ by his associates and admirers, is a two-time member representing Ikpoba-Okha Constituency at the Edo State House of Assembly. He has been in the PDP from its inception in 1998.
He was also the Edo State Commissioner on the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and boasts of a substantial followership.
One thing that cannot be taken from him is that he is a grassroots mobiliser and he connects easily with youths. He loves sports and understands the local politics of the PDP. Iduoriyekemwen has been described as a true loyal member of the party and deserves to be given the ticket.
His popularity has been in contention within the rank and file of the party and even beyond party lines. A political analyst described him as “local champion”, whose popularity does not go beyond Ikpoba Okha where he hails from. He also said Iduoriyekemwen is not very eloquent.
He has a chance of getting the ticket.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu, popularly described as ‘Don Kpelebe Muyoyo’, is a pioneer member of the party in 1998. He is the former Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Government under the Chief Lucky Igbinedion administration.
He has a vast and deep understanding of Edo politics, a good mobiliser and strategist. He has a way of driving home his point and speaks with so much of conviction, even if his reasons are not germane.
Ize -Iyamu is popular with the chairman of the party, Chief Orbih and those who defected with him to the PDP.
But, he is not known to have any working experience, aside politics. His exit from the PDP in 2007 or thereabout through the formation of Grace Group, whose slogan was “No man is God” and whose members largely formed the defunct Action Congress (AC), which eventually won the governorship election in 2007, may have a negative impact on him.
He is not generally accepted by a cross section of the party; many see the manner he dumped the party in the past as a betrayed of trust.
It is even rumoured that because of his role in the formation of the Grace Group, which was anti-Chief Anthony Anenih, the Uromi-born “leader”, has not forgiven him and he may be contemplating leaving the PDP again for a yet to be disclosed party.
Chances are that he might get below 80 per cent
Onaiwu, describes himself as the “solution”. Not much really is known about him other than the fact that he was the Director-General of the Governors Forum and later, the PDP Governors’ Forum.
He is not so popular within the party, even at the ward level.
But, he has a good marketing strategy as can be seen through the method deployed in the pasting of his campaign posters at strategic places.
However, his chances are slim because he is seen to be disconnected from the party’s hierarchy at all levels.