Cracks in Edo APC, PDP over 2016 guber election
A leader of the People Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Odion Ugbesia, disclosed at the weekend that political leaders in Edo Central zone had conceded the position to Edo South thereby foreclosing the agitation of Ken Imansuagbon and former Governor Oserhiemen Osunbor, both of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to succeed Oshiomhole. They are both from Edo Central.
Ugbesia made the remark during the inauguration ceremony of new PDP Secretariat in Benin City where he also called on the party leadership to provide a level playing field at the primary for the best candidate to emerge if it was serious in winning the 2016 governorship.
But in a swift reaction yesterday, Imansuagbon described those working against Edo Central producing the next governor as “enemies of Esan land” who cannot win any free and fair elections.
“Those who said Esanland cannot have the governorship are enemies of Esan land. Since Jonathan lost the 2015 election it is now clear to them that they cannot win any election and that is why they are coming up with evil plans against Esan people. They know I am going to become the next governor and that is why they are panicking. They cannot call for such meeting in the open because they know the people will stone them
“The 2016 governorship election in Edo is in God’s and Edo peoples’ hands and not any godfather. Because equity and justice demand that it should be the turn of Edo Central. The Binis have had their turn so it is only proper that we are allowed to have our own turn. If we are denied the opportunity, it will trigger hate and disunity in the state.”
Meanwhile, the Benin Leaders of Thought (BLT) led by the Enogie of Obazuwa and younger brother to the Oba of Benin, Prince Edun Akenzua, yesterday declared that the appointment of a Minister of Benin extraction, in the person of Dr Osagie Ehanire by President Muhammadu Buhari, would not stop the Binis from producing the next governor of the state in 2016.
The BLT was reacting to comments from some leaders of the APC from Edo Central who are agitating that the governorship ticket be ceded to the Central District since the Minister is from Edo South district.
A statement signed by the Chairman of the BLT, Prince Akenzua, commended Buhari for appointing Dr Ehanire as a Minister asserting that “this is the first time a proper representative of the people of Benin is being nominated for appointment to the office of a Minister. Hitherto in the past 16 years, a politician outside Edo South would patronizingly recommend any Benin person for appointment.”
President Buhari’s appointment of Dr Ehanire to represent Edo State has set tongues wagging in some quarters. Some politicians in Edo Central are saying that the nomination rules out Edo South from next year’s gubernatorial race. They say elective offices are zoned and Edo South got the Ministerial slot, it should therefore not get the gubernatorial slot.
“The statement is baseless. It is fallacious. There has been no zoning policy by any political party in the state. In Chief Obasanjo’s Presidency, Edo Central had four Ministers, namely: Chief Tony Anenih, Odion Ugbesia, Dr Itoto (Late) and Architect Onolenmeme. They succeeded each other. President Jonathan removed the only Benin man he met as Minister, even though he was a “Junior Minister”. In his six years as President, he did not include a Benin person in his cabinet.
“Why are they now talking of zoning, as if it had been there and that they had applied it to Edo South during the PDP days? Politics they say, is a game of number. In other words, in democratic politics the majority carries the votes. The minority will always have their say but the majority will have its way. National Census gives Edo South about 52 per cent of the population of Edo state; Edo Central has about 17 per cent. Why will a minority group continue to take the lion’s share”, the statement queried.