WITH the recent reconstitution of the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission, ESIEC, and the proposed conduct of the local government councils election in the first quarter of 2018 and its outcome are expected to serve an acid test for the Governor Godwin Obaseki’s Administration. Although, no date has been fixed for the election, and the whistle is yet to be blown for proper campaigns to begin, preparations are already in top gear with the emergence of hordes of aspirants across the local councils. Some chairmanship aspirants, especially from the ruling party in the State, the All Progressives Congress, APC, have already embarked on day and nocturnal visits to party leaders in their various local government areas to boost their chances of picking the tickets. While the State chairman of the main opposition party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, said that his party is still in the dark on whether or not the election would be conducted, there is tension in the APC especially in Edo South Senatorial District. Local councils where the forthcoming poll is generating tension include Egor, Ikpoba/Okha, Oredo, Uhunmwode, Orhionmwon, Ovia South West and Ovia North East among others.
APC amending LG law for evil intentions – Orbih
Chief Orbih had told Vanguard in an interview while reacting to the proposed election that “no date has been announced for the election. ENSIEC has not called a stakeholders meeting on the election and the government is busy amending the local government law for their evil intention”
Vanguard further learned that the tension is very high in Egor local government as no fewer than 14 chairmanship aspirants made up of three former council chairmen, two former secretaries to local government, two former leaders of the Legislative Arms, two former supervisory councillors, councillors and two fresh aspirants have indicated their interests in the local government seat.
Fear of imposition of candidates looms in APC
While most of the chairmanship aspirants who are well grounded in politics are busy doing what they could politically to garner support from their party leaders and members, a top member of the party from the area expressed the fears that some leaders of the party in the state may impose unwanted candidates on them. For instance, he mentioned a female chairmanship aspirant, who was boasting that she has been anointed by Governor Godwin Obaseki, ex- Governor Adams Oshiomhole and the APC State leaders for the chairmanship position in Egor local government. “This is an aspirant, who do reside in the local government, does not even know the names of the Ward chairmen and has brought factions into the politics of the area by parading her own Ward chairmen for the purpose of the party primaries.” He expressed fears that if the issue of imposition of candidates on the party by the leaders was not properly managed, it will throw the party into chaos and deep crisis especially in the local government, which he said, “ voted en masse for the APC in all elections since 2011 and the 2016 governorship election. The party may never recover from the crisis before the 2019 general elections “Apart from Egor local government, the situation is not different in other councils. For instance, in Oredo local government, there are cries for equitable distribution of political offices among the 14 wards in the area in the spirit of equity, justice and fair play. The general complaint among politicians in the area is that the wards that have been producing political office holders are still the same clamouring to produce the chairmanship candidate for the party. A party leader from the area who wants to remain anonymous for fear of victimization said: “Ward 4 where Governor Godwin Obaseki comes from is allegedly putting foward Mr Tom Obaseki, the younger brother of the governor as the chairmanship candidate.”
APC ‘ll not impose candidates – Ojezua
Contacted for his reaction to the alleged plans to impose candidates on the party by its leadership, State chairman of APC, Mr Anselm Ojezua allayed the fears saying: “It has never been our position to impose candidates on the party. In all that we have engaged in so far, we have never done that. So the local government primaries will not be an exception”