By Amb. Tony Okonigene

I must confess that I was among those who temporarily believed that Governor Godwin Obaseki actually meant to broker peace with the one man Igbinadion committee. My temporary insanity was cleared when his children appeared in court the next day asking the judge to subvert justice by compelling INEC to recognize them as the authentic candidates of the party.

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People have asked severally, why the disputes within the Edo State PDP have not been resolved despite the several attempts to broker peace. To get the answer, it is important to understand the motives behind the many court cases hindering the publication of the names of the Legacy PDP candidates by INEC.

Before I go further, let me lay down the current positions of The PDP, INEC and The Court concerning who are the candidates of the party.

After the PDP primaries, INEC on request, released the certified true copies of the names of the candidates of the party that its officials monitored their Primaries. They were all from the Legacy PDP group.

The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered INEC to recognize only the candidates of the Legacy PDP group.

After many failed attempts to offload the names of the governor’s candidates on INEC’S portal, the PDP National Working Committee finally in a letter dated June 30th 2022 signed by the National Chairman and National Secretary, forwarded the names of the candidates of the Legacy PDP to INEC .

So as at date, the three critical actors, ie, The PDP, INEC and the courts, recognize the candidates of the Legacy PDP as the authentic candidates of the party. What is then preventing INEC from publishing the names?

There are currently four cases concerning the candidates of the PDP in different courts from the Federal High Court, Appeal Court to the Supreme Court.
The kangaroo judgement procured by the governor’s group after it was thrown out by the Court of Appeal is now in the Supreme Court.

The judgement of The Federal High Court Abuja that affirmed the ad-hoc delegates and National Delegates produced by the Legacy PDP as the authentic delegates is at the Court of Appeal.

The Federal High Court’s order affirming the Legacy PDP candidates to be recognized by INEC is at the hearing stage.

Again in an obvious abuse of court process, the governor’s group has instituted same case in the Federal High Court Benin which is also at the hearing stage.

With all the above, INEC has decided to play safe by awaiting the disposal of the court cases before formally publishing the names of the Legacy PDP candidates.

It is important to note that the governor’s group is not seeking to be recognized as the authentic candidates of the party unlike the Legacy PDP.. They are aware that with the non monitoring of their staged congresses and primaries by INEC, there is no way any court can declare their candidates as authentic. Their motive is to discredit the congresses and primaries conducted by the Legacy PDP so that at the end, the courts should declare that the Edo PDP has no candidate for the 2023 general elections. The main targets are the candidates for the House of Assembly. The governor has already positioned his preferred candidates in the Labour party .

The sad news for the governor’s group is that this is not the same scenario as that of Zamfara. The Legacy PDP candidates have already gotten the nods of all the critical actors. The duplication of cases in the courts by the governor’s group will not see the light of the day.

The Edo State Governor has the task to ensure that the Edo PDP delivers its presidential candidate whom he was a key actor in producing with his Vice. Since the presidential elections and NASS elections will come up same day, the candidates must all be delivered. For the House of Assembly Elections, the governor will choose to either allow the APC to take over the House or the PDP. The Labour Party option is a dead end.

Your Excellency, the ball is in your court.

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