A faction of the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, led by Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff has revealed why the party lost the governorship elections held in Edo and Ondo states recently, stating that impunity and lack of respect for the party’s constitution and the rule of law are the major reasons the party was defeated.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Monday, the Deputy National Chairman of the faction, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh laid the blame for the defeat suffered by the opposition party on three governors elected under the platform of the party. Although the faction did not mention the names of the three governors, it has been engaged in running battles with governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State.
Ojougboh, who stated that, “only three governors have been the architects of the destruction of the party”, disclosed that only the governors of “Taraba, Gombe, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers and a few others have been very cooperative and are willing to let the party grow. They have shown maturity, understanding and sagacity in the affairs of the PDP.”
Tracing the genesis of the dwindling fortunes of the party, the Sheriff faction recalled that the impact of impunity in the PDP manifested itself for the first time in the 2011 general elections when the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, defeated the PDP in Nasarawa State.
“We had a sitting governor then who could not deliver. This was the first warning against impunity. It was ignored.
“Then in 2015 we had governors in Benue, Kogi, Niger, Jigawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Bauchi and Adamawa. We lost in all these states for a common reason, the governors were not unpopular but they imposed their surrogates and the people voted them out. We paid for impunity,” it said.
The faction further pointed out that an analysis of the 2015 general elections showed that all the ten states the party lost were in the northern part of the country, adding that the party would have suffered the same fate in the South-south had it been that former President, Goodluck Jonathan was not from the region. It said the figures that emanated from the South-east were also “abysmal.”
The factional Deputy National Chairman disclosed that the outcome of the 2015 general elections proved that although governors are very important in winning elections for a party, they do not necessarily determine the outcome.
“The running of the party should therefore not be left entirely to their whims and caprices. The party must have a say because party is supreme. In the case of Mimiko’s Ondo, the party was denied the valuable say,” he said.
Ojougboh also stated that the faction had cried to all concerned ahead of the Edo election that the party hierarchy in the state was defective and that the Leadership needed to be changed “to allow the 60 stalwarts of the PDP who defected to APC return to the fold.”
According to him, “Of course the governors refused. There was no surprise to the result.
“In Ondo State, the script was written in 2013 when Governor Mimiko returned to PDP. All members he met on the ground left the party for him and he took over the PDP. The structure was handed over to the Labour Party.
“If Oke had not gone to AD and Mimiko managed leadership sportsmanly, PDP would have won the election convincingly.
“In the election, APC scored 244,842 votes while PDP scored 150,380 and AD scored 126,889 votes It is a fact that the AD votes belong to PDP and the simple arithmetic shows why PDP lost; our votes went to Oke and AD,” he said.
He explained that when Mimiko returned to the PDP, his fellow governors appealed to him to allow for harmonization but he refused, adding that this made all the PDP members led by Olusola Oke therefore left the party.
Ojougboh further stated that in choosing a candidate to succeed him, Mimiko did not allow original members of the PDP to buy forms, alleging that: “He mainly anointed Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) who was returned unopposed.
“Party members cried to the high heavens that Jegede is from the central zone where Mimiko hails from. Their cries fell on deaf ears,” he said.
The party leader also stated that the primary election organised by the Sheriff faction had six participants which returned Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate, adding that: “Jimoh hails from the South. He campaigned vigorously and convinced the people to vote for him. But alas Mimiko will not allow him carry the party flag.
“Mimiko used the instrumentality of state government to overwhelm Jimoh but could not overwhelm the masses and voters. Of course the result is out there for all to see,” he said.