he crisis rocking Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has taken a new dimension, as two factions of the party led by Ahmed Makarfi and Ali Modu Sheriff have submitted the names of two different people as their candidates for the forthcoming November 26 Ondo State governorship election.
It was learnt on Thursday, September 15, that while Sheriff’s faction submitted the name of Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim as its candidate, Makarfi’s faction submitted the name of Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) as its own candidate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Confirming the submission of Mr. Ibrahim’s name as candidate in the forthcoming Ondo poll for Sheriff’s led faction, spokesman for the faction, Mr. Bernard Mikko said the faction relied on two court orders, one of which asked the commission to take candidates for the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states from Sheriff’s camp, adding that his faction was sure of winning the election in the state.
Speaking further, Mikko, a former member of the House of Representatives, described Mr. Sheriff as “the man who has the love of the party at heart,” adding that is sure Mr. Sheriff would be pronounced the “real and authentic National Chairman of the party by the courts.”
According to him, “We have a formidable candidate in Jimoh Ibrahim and we have forwarded his name to INEC as the party’s candidate.
“We believe he will defeat any other candidate based on the clean process that threw him up and his antecedents in the state.
“He had contested before and was and still, well received by the electorate. He’s our candidate for the election.” Mikko added.
Reacting to the development, a member of the National Caretaker Committee under the leadership of Makarfi, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, berated Mr. Sheriff over the submission of Ibrahim’s name by his faction, adding that the faction will fail just like it failed in its bid to submit another name as the party’s governorship candidate in Edo State.
Speaking further, Adeyeye questioned why the faction got the courage to take the name to INEC, when the electoral umpire did not monitor the primary that produced its candidate.
Recall the contentious primary that produced Mr Ibrahim as the candidate for Sheriff’s faction took place in Ibadan, Oyo State while the one won by Jegede who is Mr. Makarfi’s candidate was done in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
Meanwhile, Adeyeye called on members of the party in Ondo State in particular and Nigeria in general, not to panic as INEC didn’t monitor Mr. Sheriff’s primary which produced Jimoh Ibrahim as candidate.
According to him, “If they do that (submission of Ibrahim’s name), it will amount to nothing. This is because, we have court judgments in our favour and moreover, INEC did not monitor their own primary.
“Let them continue with the entertainment. Nigerians are enjoying their drama.” Adeyeye added.
Also reacting to the development, INEC’s Deputy Director on Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Nick Dazang, confirmed that Mr. Makarfi’s faction had submitted the name of its candidate.
In his words, “Yes, one of them, the Makarfi group had submitted the name of its candidate. I’m not sure if the Sheriff faction has done the same thing either today (Thursday) or yesterday (Wednesday).
“At the end of the day, the commission will sit down to look at the law and take a position on who is the right candidate and who is not.” Dazang added.