By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The unfolding political drama in the two major opposition parties in Benue state, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Social Democratic Party, SDP, is somewhat creating a smooth walkover for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and reelection of Governor Samuel Ortom in 2019.
The crisis rocking the APC stemmed from the fact the political heavy weights in the party have been at daggers drawn and are not prepared to shift grounds as to who becomes the running mate of the party’s governorship candidate, Mr. Emmanuel Jime.
As at today, APC has not been able to pick a running mate from the Benue South district or Idoma speaking area of the state where the position is usually zoned to.
Findings from the Makurdi office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, indicated that the party picked one Isaac Vembe, from Gboko local government area, same senatorial district with the gubernatorial candidate, as running mate.
The choice of an acceptable candidate had thrown the party into deep crisis following disagreements among stakeholders from Benue south who are pitched against each other and also having to contend with leaders of the party from other zones who are also bent on having a say on the matter since they had no input on who eventually picked the governorship ticket.
For now, APC is like a house divided against itself especially with most of the party’s former governorship aspirants who control the party’s structure still nursing the wound of being compelled to jettison their ambitions and having a candidate imposed on them from Abuja.
Vanguard reliably gathered that some top APC members in the state now attend nocturnal meetings in the PDP in a bid to sabotage the party as revenge for the manner Abuja hijacked the selection of its governorship candidate to the exclusion of those who spent time and resources to galvanize support for the party even when majority of Benue people referred to the APC as a Miyetti Allah party.
The SDP is also enmeshed in deep crisis as Mr. Hinga Biam, the preferred candidate of majority of the founding members of the party in the state has instituted a legal action against the the party and INEC for denying him the governorship ticket of the party by substituting his name with that of a new entrant, Dr. Stephen Hwande.
The development has thrown the party in disarray and no doubt the SDP faced the prospect of an implosion before the elections with majority of its members already threatening to dump the party for the PDP.
So far, the PDP seems to have caught its groove in the state as all things seem to have fallen into the right places for the party. Former governorship aspirants are donating their campaign structures to Governor Ortom while stakeholders and leaders have found the right cord and are singing the same tune to ensure victory for the party in 2019.