With two major governorship elections – Edo and Ondo – coming up in 2016, the internal crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may cost the party dearly if it is not resolved soon. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the PDP stands the risk of not participating in the Edo guber polls if it does not get its house in order soon.
According to INEC’s deputy director for public affairs, Nick Dazang, the PDP needs to “put its acts together in time for it particularly to collect the forms for those that will conduct the elections in Edo and Ondo and also to conduct the primaries that will lead up to who will now be their standard bearer for Edo governorship election to be conducted on Saturday 10 September.
“The primaries are supposed to take place between 2nd June and 4th July. So, we expect that between now and then the PDP should be able to resolve some of these issues in the interest of that election.”
Dazang however disclosed that INEC is yet to take a position on the leadership crisis rocking the leading opposition party.
“The PDP, as we have said is in a state of flux. In spite of what happened in Port Harcourt, the Commission was there because it was invited and by law we are supposed to be invited 21 days to a convention or congress,” he said.
“We sent a high powered team led by a national commissioner to monitor the convention. They have submitted their report as at now but the Commission is yet to take a position in terms of who is supposed to be the chairman of the party,” he said on Thursday on “Political Platform,” a programme on Ray Power FM Radio Station.
At the convention, acting national chairman, Ali Modu-Sheriff was sacked and replaced with Ahmed Makarfi, a former governor and senator, on a caretaker basis till a convention is held. However, Sheriff has declared his sack as unlawful. The case has been taken to court but in the meantime, the party’s Board of Trustees declared that it was taking over the leadership of the party.
According to INEC’s timetable, party primaries in Edo are expected to hold between June 2 and July 4. “So we advise that they resolve some of these issues in good time to collect the forms so that they can hold the primaries and the candidates that will contest under their platform can emerge. They have between now and 4th July to do that.
“We normally encourage them. We have a department that relates particularly with the political parties to ensure the processes we laid out and articulated in the timetable and schedule of activities are strictly and religiously followed and we expect them to that.”