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From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The confusion currently rocking the two camps of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) in Benue seems to have taken another dimension as the Ali Modu Sheriff’s led faction of the party has released new names of its flag bearers ahead of the forthcoming council polls in the state.
The PDP had recently in a statement by its national secretary; Prof. Wale Oladipo urged the general public to ignore the earlier list of candidates released by the Ahmed Markafi-led faction in the state.
And following the declaration of Sheriff as the authentic PDP National Chairman, the Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BESIEC) has accordingly, rejected list of candidates earlier submitted by the Makarfi- led faction of the PDP for the June 3rd Council polls in the state.
A careful perusal of the new list as displayed by BESIEC shows that the list of all the candidates of the PDP from the Markarfi/Ngbede led faction had been replaced with a list from the Sheriff/Ale faction as at last week.
Speaking on the development recently, the Senator Makarfi faction’s State Publicity Secretary, Mr. Bemgba Iortyom said his faction had rejected the list and gone ahead to contest it in court.
Iortyom who claimed that his faction was legitimate stressed that BESIEC had no basis for rejecting the list that emanated from his faction because according to him, the state Chairman of the Sheriff faction of the PDP, Dan Ale was not a member of the PDP since he resigned his membership in 2014.
Iortyom further alleged that the Dan Ale led PDP was aligning with the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) to cause confusion in the polity.
But reacting swiftly, the state PDP Chairman of the Sheriff led faction; Dan Ale insisted that his faction was the authentic one, as confirmed by the rejection of the Makarfi’s PDP list by BESIEC.
Ale who spoke to Daily Sun on phone, also commended BESIEC for upholding the law by choosing to honor the PDP list as sent by its National Secretariat.
The factional PDP chairman who disclosed that his party was already in a legal battle with the Makarfi led faction in the state expressed optimism that his faction would win both at the courts and at the polls.
Reacting to allegations that the APC was fueling the crisis in the PDP, acting Publicity Secretary of the APC in the state, Mr. Alfred Berger wondered why the Makarfi led faction would make such baseless allegation.
Berger equally enjoined the opposition party to resolve its internal crisis instead of concentrating on what the ruling APC was doing or not doing.
He further said: “I still cannot understand why a faction of the PDP would want to hold the APC responsible for the crisis rocking their Party? They elected Senator Sheriff and other leaders of the PDP without the prompting of APC, why are they turning round to accuse us of being responsible for the internal wrangling in their party?
“I strongly believe that defeat is staring the PDP in the face and the party leadership has resorted to apportioning blames. There is no doubt that the APC is on ground in Benue, the people are openly supporting the transparent manner the Governor Samuel Ortom -led government is running government unlike what obtained in the past.
“The allegation that we are instigating crisis in their party is wicked, unfounded, baseless and unacceptable. Of what benefit will that be to a party that is popular amongst the generality of the people of Benue state if I may ask?”
Commenting on the PDP crisis in the state and the position of BESIEC over which faction of the party to recognise, Chairman of BESIEC, Dr. John Tswua explained that the commission was already in talks with relevant agencies in a bid to finding a possible solution to the quagmire.
“We have had representations from the two factions of PDP claiming to be the authentic faction. The commission received a mail from the John Ngbede- led state exco claiming that it is the authentic PDP because they emerged through a congress and I also have a letter from the Sheriff/Dan Ale faction signed by the National Chairman stating that they do not recognise that faction.
“The two contending parties also attached the judgment of the courts over the matter. That is the dilemma we have found ourselves over the PDP issue. But to get out of this, we have sent the judgments for interpretation because we want to do what is legal, and we do not want to dabble into the internal issues of the party,” the Electoral body boss, said.
Meanwhile, as the two factions of the PDP continued to trade blames, a shocker came recently when the BESIEC resolved to recognise the Dan Ale faction after the commission said it had consulted with relevant agencies on the matter.
In a statement, the Chairman of the Commission while saying that the decision was sequel to a legal advice and those from the Inspector General of Police, enjoined the party stakeholders to comply accordingly.
But sadly, while the PDP factions had continued to throw tantrums at each other and leaving their candidates and supporters in the lurch, the ruling APC is busy consolidating efforts in resolving all internal wrangling within its ranks and preparing the way to ensure it coasts home to victory come June 3rd, 2017.
As things are, if nothing is done to address the internal crisis currently rocking the boat of the PDP in Benue state, the party might just be creating a lee way for the ruling APC to win every and all elections in the state.