The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party deepened on Monday as two factions in the party claimed that they had submitted names of their respective governorship candidates for the Edo State governorship poll to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The factions are the one being led by the party’s Chairman, National Caretaker Committee, Ahmed Makarfi, and the other under the factional Chairman of the party, Ali Modu Sheriff.
Both men and their followers are currently locked in a legal battle over the leadership of the opposition party.
The deadline for the submission of names of governorship candidates by political parties for the Edo governorship election, according to the timetable, released by the commission is Tuesday (today).
The election holds on September 10.
The spokesperson for the Makarfi camp, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, told our correspondent on the telephone that the party had done the needful.
He said he was sure that the commission would recognise its candidate, Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who he said had commenced mobilisation of the voters in the state.
Adeyeye added, “Well, we have met the standard as we have sent the name of our candidate and his running mate to the commission. We are not expecting the commission to deny them recognition. We have nothing to fear. We are already in the field.”
In the same vein, the Sheriff faction said it had sent the name of its candidates for the election to the electoral body.
The Deputy National Chairman of the group, Dr. Cairo Ojugboh, said his faction was relying on the court ruling that ordered that only the Sheriff group should be allowed to submit names of candidates for the Edo and Ondo governorship elections.
He said he was sure that the candidate that emerged at the primary conducted by the Sheriff faction, Mr. Matthew Iduoriyekwemwen, would make the INEC final list.
Ojugboh stated, “We have submitted the name of our governorship candidate for the Edo election based on the ruling of a Federal High Court in Abuja.
“The commission ordered INEC not to accept the lists of our (PDP) governorship candidates for the election in Edo and Ondo states from any other body except from the Sheriff-led leadership of the party.
“It was Justice Okon Abang who said this while delivering ruling in an interlocutory application filed by two governorship aspirants on the platform of the PDP in Edo and Ondo states.
“So, we have abided by the ruling of his lordship and that’s all. Anyone who submits or attempts to submit any other name apart from the name we have submitted is in contempt of the court.”
However, feelers from the commission did not corroborate the claims of the two factions of the former ruling party.
The Deputy Director of the commission’s Publicity and Voter Education, Mr. Nick Dazang, said as of 4.52pm, the PDP was not among the six political parties that had submitted the names of their governorship candidates.
He said, “As of 4.52pm, the PDP was not among the political parties that had submitted their candidates. But the deadline is still tomorrow, which is Tuesday (today). For now, six political parties have submitted the names of their candidates.”