Can PDP Rise Again in Edo?

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, once a strong political institution, has in the last seven years suffered a self-induced dwindling of fortunes.
The July 14, 2012 governorship election defeat in all the 18 local government areas may well have signalled the death of the party in the state. It would be helpful for a fuller and better understanding of how and why the party in Edo State came to this sorry state. After the unfortunate and ill-advised annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by late M.K.O. Abiola , an Interim National Government headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan was put in place by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida in August 1993. It had lasted barely three months when it was overthrown in November of the same year by Gen. Sani Abacha.
Abacha promptly dissolved all political structures in the country including the two political parties of SDP and NRC, the National Assembly, state assemblies and governments. His attempt at giving the nation a democratic government led to the formation of political parties that later became known as the five leprous fingers. The idea to transform self from military head of state to a democratically elected president reared its head at this time. The subsequent death in 1998 of Gen. Abacha and the ascendancy to leadership by Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar thereafter paved the way for the resumption of full political activities with the announcement of a transition time table to end with presidential elections in 1999.
It was, therefore, in 1998 that several political players dubbed old and new breed politicians held meetings that culminated in the formation and registration of several political parties prominent amongst which are PDP, ANPP, AD, ACN, APGA and LP. In Edo State, prominent political figures teamed up in Edo Solidarity Movement (ESM) to scout for a national party which they believed could win elections. These figures include Chief Tony Anenih, Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, Chief Tom Ikimi , Chief J.B. Momoh and a host of others.
The alliances formed before and after this consultative meeting led to the three major political gladiators in the state, Chief Anenih, Dr. Ogbemudia and Chief Igbinedion, teaming up in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. This simple fact of these leaders who had previously held sway in different parties joining forces in the same party gave the PDP an edge. In the 1999 elections, the PDP performed so well that it appeared it was the only party that contested elections in the state.
In the heat of the 2004 diabolical plan of President Olusegun Obasanjo to secure an illegal third tenure, the then leadership of the party, with active support of the now chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih, hatched a membership re-registration scheme designed to deregister all those who were perceived not to support the self perpetuation plan of Obasanjo. More than half of the members of the party were thus shut out.
One other factor w that has torn things apart for the PDP in the state is the fortuitous emergence of Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole as governor, having won the gubernatorial election of April 2007 on the platform of ACN. The woes of the PDP have since then multiplied beyond manageable proportions with the Oshiomhole administrations transparently committed and systematic application of state resources to better the lives of the people.
In six years, the Comrade Oshiomhole administration has done what two successive PDP governments could not do in 10 years while in power in the state. Every aspect of governance has been affected positively. The present administration has constructed, reconstructed and rehabilitated more than 50 inter and intra-city roads most of them complete with covered side drains, walkways and street lights; primary and secondary schools have been reconstructed and furnished; healthcare centres have been built and renovated; 100 new buses have been acquired and running; thousands of youths have been employed.
The woeful failure of the PDP at the 2012 governorship and 2013 local government council elections must be seen as punishment for its misrule of the past.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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