AN internal crisis threatening to rock the foundation of Edo State Chapter of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), is brewing following the alleged manipulation of the results of the Edo Central Senatorial Zone district primary held last month, and which was reportedly won by Theo Okoh.
Of all the shortcomings witnessed during the polls, the most critical is the alleged plan to deny legitimate winners of their mandate to represent their people in the forthcoming general elections. Observers who have been following the development in Edo Central Senatorial Zone have questioned the plot to replace Okoh, with Herbeter Okonofua, a former Peoples Democratic Party woman leader, who recently pitch tent with the ACN. Governor Adams Oshiomole it was learnt, is backing Okonofua’s bid to represent the Senatorial Zone, but sources within the ACN have insisted that any such move would be fully resisted.
An insider told Vanguard that the polls were clearly won by Okoo, but because some results were snatched at the Senatorial collation centre in Irrua, the governor, reportedly ordered for a rerun, an idea he later jettisoned to handpicked Okonofua, who, came third in the elections.
It was further alleged that the governor, during a meeting with Okoh, offered the latter a ticket to represent the zone in the House of Representatives elections in April but Okoh, politely turned down the Greek gift, preferring instead to go for a rerun, as earlier announced by the governor.
According to one party stalwart in Uromi, “What is happening within the Edo State chapter of ACN is something that might cause the gradual death of the party because if we are preaching that we are the better alternative to the PDP, then how come, are we not showing it in the way we conduct our internal elections”
He said that the crisis has made some party faithful to start rethinking their loyalty to the ACN, as some have started crossing over to the PDP, in the run-up to the general elections in April.
But a close aide to the governor rebuffed talks of people decamping to other parties, insisting that there was no plan to play politics with Okoh’s purported mandate.
“People are fond of pointing accusing fingers at those at the top and I am not surprised that they are saying what they are saying now. If there is anything that the Comrade Governor stands for that thing is the defence of the people’s mandate and I do not understand why there are insinuations that he wants to deny anybody his mandate.
“I consider this a political move but let us play this game fairly so that the future would be bright for everybody. Politics is not a do or die thing. The governor is too busy to be involved in such things as being championed by some persons”, added the governor’s aide.
Amidst all these intrigues, what is however not clear is what would be the fate of ACN in the race for the Edo Central Senatorial Zone at the forthcoming general elections, following the submission of the names of candidates to INEC last Monday.