Crisscrossing political parties is fast becoming a core feature of Nigerian politicians who, at the first sight of trouble on in pursuit of an ambition, abandon their party and seek refuge in another. Several parties, like the Labor Party in Ondo with the defection of Olusegun Mimiko, have suffered greatly from this with their influence dealt a major blow. However, from recent developments, it appears the same fate will not befall the Edo State Chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
From Bloomshire’s investigation, the victory of the Ahmed Markafi-led faction of the PDP at the Supreme Court saved the Edo state chapter of the party from a complete collapse as it halted plans by swathes of members to defect to the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
It will be recalled that the supreme court had on Monday, July 10, 2017, in Abuja, reaffirmed the election of Mr. Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the September 28, 2016, governorship election in Edo state.
The defeat at the apex court — to a large extent — destabilized the in-control Markafi group in Edo state. Bloomshire gathered that many of those in the faction were contemplating defection to negotiate a soft landing for themselves politically in the state. However, according to a top member of the party in Edo state who pleaded anonymity, the Supreme Court judgment which handed the leadership of the party at the National level to Ahmed Markafi rekindled hope and many of them shelved their defection plans, with a bid to join in the rebuilding of the party.
He disclosed that members of the party at the national level were already meeting to iron out ways to address the various issues that led to the crisis that tore the party apart for over a year, stressing that some members of the party who recently spearheaded the formation of APDA, as possible alternative if Sheriff wins at the supreme court, would have to be accommodated one way or the other in the much expected rejuvenated PDP.
He pointed out that the unimpressive performance of the Buhari-led administration at the federal level is another factor being x-rayed by PDP members in the state who are contemplating defection, adding that if things remain the same, especially as it affects hunger in the land, the PDP has a good chance of securing the presidential seat in 2019 – provided it puts its house in order.
In addition, Bloomshire also gathered that the disposition of the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, discourages a number of PDP members who may have developed a soft spot for the APC. Hours after the victory of the APC Governor was affirmed in Abuja, he boldly announced that members of the PDP in the state should not consider any chance of getting political appointments as they are exclusively reserved for members of his party.
In an interview with an influential member of the APC who also pleaded anonymity, he likened the APC in Edo state to a crowded canoe, adding that a situation where nobody wants to be in the opposition party is unfortunate.
“Based on the body language of the governor, he is not interested in wooing PDP members to APC, he wants to work and fulfill the promises he made during his campaign. The governor is not prepared to lure anybody to his party, those in his party are crying that things are hard, and not to talk of those who want to join the governor’s party with the ulterior motive of grabbing from the system”, the source said.
The future of the PDP is presently unclear, but the victory of Ahmed Markafi has emboldened members of the party in Edo state and they are now willing to stay and join the rebuilding process.
Report by Cliff Abel