BY GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE
Given the bruising defeat the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and its flag bearer, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole gave the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and its candidate, Major Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd) in the July gubernatorial elections, it is not surprising that the PDP would veer into a period of introspection.
Following the election the sobered PDP and its leadership decided not to challenge the results.
Though the candidate has gone ahead to contest the result of the election, he has, however, been denied by the party and the mainstream of the party in the state.
The division between the party leadership and the candidate was not the only immediate fall out of the election. A group of party stakeholders including one of the former gubernatorial aspirants had on their part sought to dethrone the leadership of the party in the state as presently led by Chief Dan Orbih.
That agitation which also included some former executives of the state chapter of the party soon petered off as the agitation could not be sustained.
Now, another set of party activists are championing a more cautious reform of the party with the intent of boosting the fortunes of the party in the state.
Perhaps realizing the fallacy of uprooting the Orbih leadership or overcoming the suzerainty of the party leader in the state in the person of Chief Anthony Anenih, the group consisting of stakeholders from Edo South Senatorial zone is proposing a reformation of the party in the district. The significance of the group’s action in Edo South lies in the fact that Edo South commands more than half of the voting population of the state.
The group which styles itself “Concerned Members” are nevertheless of the opinion that the current leadership of the party in the Senatorial Zone should be overhauled to make way for the professionals within its rank to have a say in its running. One of the leaders of the group is Mr. Larry Ogieva, former Chairman of the Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Development Commission (EDSOPADEC).
“We are fighting a cause that would ensure that our party moves forward to the next level in our senatorial district. We are not fighting to destroy the present structure of the party in place because they were constitutionally put in place by the party, but we are fighting from within to ensure that the professionals and other groups were appointed into party positions,” he said during a recent press parley.
Remarkably, a steering committee has been set up by the group to woo professionals that are interested in moving into the PDP and contribute their quotas to its development.
The Committee is made up of Mr. Chris Nehikhare, Larry Ogieva, Dr. Elvis Omoregie, Raymond Enogieru, Victor Imansuen Osazuwa and Samuel Osazuwa and others.
However, one point where the group may clash with the state executive is the support its champions are giving Airhiavbere in his case in the court.
As Nehikhare said with obviously a high dose of hyperbole, the people are “over 100 percent behind the party’s governorship candidate in the election, Major Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd) who is challenging the outcome of the gubernatorial election at the Election Petition Tribunal.”
Dr. Elvis Omoregie on his part said the concerned group has come to the point to let the people know the need for a change and can look back to the glorious days of the party in the state, adding that, “it is important for us to re-position ourselves as the new crops of leaders and faithful members who have seen the need for us to embrace a change and chart a new way forward for the party. We appreciate the roles played by our elders”.
While Osazuwa Samuel also stressed the need for a drastic change within the leadership of the party in the senatorial zone, he said vibrant young men and women who can effect changes within the party should be encouraged to come in.
They however commended the leadership of the State Chairman of the party, Chief Dan Osi Orbih what he has done for the p[arty. He is the first state party chairman to tour the 192 Wards in the state and campaign vigorously for the party in the last election.
He has offered a dispassionate leadership to the party and we commend him, the group said.