By Elempe Dele, Edo.
I propose to address this topic from two directions; one the legal, and the other, the moral. And from history, both are two sides of a spinning coin which are often intertwined. We must understand that the moral is the foundation for the legal so the sanctimoniousness and sacrosanctity of both cannot be appraised from both the mundane and parochial view points.
A while ago, Hon. Mathew Iduoriyekemwen approached the Edo State Federal High Court to compel INEC to show cause why his name and others are not being accepted by the commission after the camp loyal to the governor organized for themselves a parallel primary as against that which was organized by the Party under the leadership of Chief Dan Orbih.
What Hon. Mathew Iduoriyekemwen is asking the court is what amounts to abuse of court’s processes.
This is so because primary elections in PDP are not like cut and nail activities, they are structured processes that cumulate from congresses as local as from wards and LGAs. And one very indispensable element or ingredient that MUST not be unavailable from the political broth is INEC’s participation at those levels. Section 84 of the Nigeria Electoral Act 2022 extensively dealt with this so I am not revealing any classified information. INEC did not monitor their congresses, if they actually ever conducted them, of the governor’s camp (nor did it monitored their primaries) And the legal implication of this is that the foundation was already faulty ab inito – annulment of any proceed from therein.
What Hon. Mathew is asking the court to do now is akin to trying to straighten a dry fish to its original shape. At least, he learnt yesterday that the court won’t be able to stop INEC from carrying their primary function on this matter because he and others have not presented the court with any exhibit to show why their prayers should be granted. And the hearing of the substantive matter will eventually put their demands to it’s final demise so that PDP can move on.
Like I have written severally on this matter, the governor felt he was The Leader, he needed not participate in locally held congresses, he just could write list of candidates from the comfort of his chambers and Senator Ayu, the National PDP Chairman, would simply accept it even without INEC’s participation. But this is democracy, the courts are alive to their responsibilities, institutions are complying with provisions of our laws, and we are bound to adhere. Senator Ayu, with whatever inducement, is not a law or an institution to himself, he is not a sole administrator in PDP. So all the governor, Ayu and co did and have been extended to Hon Mathew to be doing now amounts to academic journey into futility.
And on the moral aspect, I personally don’t think Hon. Mathew Iduoriyekemwen should have contested for Senate under PDP nor even going to court to challenge the authentic process. We all can recall his antecedent checkered history with Al Modu Sheriff and how he surreptitiously allowed himself to be used against the Party that nearly saw the demise of the Party if not for Governors Wike, Fayose and other stakeholders. After then, he left the Party to join APC and was also instrumental, very conspicuously, to the death of the same APC that he defected to then. He was a willing organized aid to the governor in making sure APC in Edo State was strangulated to coma. If he is again constituting himself, the umpteenth time, the same political attitude having come back to PDP in 2020, political history won’t stencil his activities with polite gestures.
Recall that in 2016, Edo State PDP suspended this same Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, for allege anti-party activity.
The Party accused Iduoriyekemwen of teaming up with Ali Modu Sheriff, a factional leader of the PDP, to work against the “tenets of the party” after he had lost the governorship primary election in the state.
The party also accused him of working with Adams Oshiomhole, governor of the state and APC member, to destabilise the party.
According to the then Secretary to the Party, Chris Nehikhare, “He, (Mathew Iduoriyekemwen) has teamed up with the embattled former national chairman of our party and even gone ahead to purchase a kangaroo nomination form for the same governorship slot which he lost just a few days ago. His behaviour is unacceptable, irresponsible and selfish.
“This conduct is not surprising as the state working committee has uncovered his unholy alliance with the Governor Adams Oshiomhole-led government of Edo State to destabilise Edo PDP in their desperate attempt to retain power in the forth coming gubernatorial election.”
The party said that at the state working committee meeting held on Sunday, June 26, 2016, the following revelations were made:
“All members of the party in the state are enjoined to disregard the antics of Alhaji Modu Sheriff and Hon Matthew Iduoriyekemwen in their desperate attempt to discredit the outcome of the governorship primary held on 20 June, 2016 at which Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu was duly nominated as the candidate of our great party.
“The conduct of Hon Matthew Iduoriyekemwen in associating with Alhaji Modu Sheriff with the intention to destabilise the party in the state amounts to anti-party activity. Consequently, Hon Matthew Iduoriyekemwen is hereby suspended from the party for one month, pending further disciplinary action in accordance with chapter 10 of the Peoples Democratic Party Constitution of 2012 (as amended).“
These are no mean political records. I think Hon. Mathew Iduoriyekemwen should change tactics so that history can change for him too. Let him leave the court in search of a non-existent prayer, join hands with the governor in his bid for reconciliation, help PDP and as well join forces with Hon. Ogbiede-Ihama, the PDP Senatorial Candidate in Edo South Senatorial District.