By James Ibechi
Shortly, the story of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will start reading like this: once upon a time the PDP dominated Nigerian politics after the return to civilian government in 1999. It won every presidential election by a landslide, had the majority of powerful state governors in its camp, and comfortable majorities in both Houses of the National Assembly and so it was, too, in most of the PDP-led states in the country.
In fact, if you wanted to be in politics, PDP sure, was your best bet or best vehicle.
That explains the reason perhaps an opposition ACN lawmaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Hon. Ona Adoga who is representing Oju 1 state constituency, had bitten the finger that fed him in 2011, by abandoning the party platform that brought him to his present position for the PDP, all in pursuit of a second term ambition.
As a matter of fact, aggrieved Adoga Ona and Barr, Jacob Ajene left the PDP with their crowds of supporters in 2011. While Ona scaled the election hurdles, defeating his opponent in PDP, Ajene lost his House of Reps bid to Sam Okwu of the PDP.
At the turn of event, however, the duo of Ona and Ajene defected back to the PDP ahead of the 2015 general elections. Ona’s defection triggered harsh reactions from the camps of his supporters. While many of his party supporters accused him of playing use-and-dump politics on them, others promised to repay him in his own coin by voting against his second term ambition in the just concluded elections.
Though the lawmaker had in different fora tried to justify his defection back to the party that sandwiched and denied him of their ticket in the 2011 elections appealing to his supporters to empathize with his predicament as a lone stander in the House for belonging to opposition party, all his pleas fell on deaf ear.
Enter 2015 elections the time to pay him back was set and he had a run for his money as he faced the toughest opposition so far in the history of his political career, coming close to losing the election to his top challenger Dr. Sunday Adagba of the APC because unprecedented voters and supporters mobilized against his reelection too.
Though he managed to win the election by a 68-vote margin, he seemed not to be pleased or comfortable with the victory and now has reportedly taken INEC and Dr. Adagba the loser of the election to Election Petitions Tribunal. His grouse has not been confirmed because he did not respond to efforts made to get him to confirm to us on phone and SMS.
However, Dr. Adagba spoke to us yesterday in a telephone chat.
According to him, the state lawmaker truly petitioned against him, his party and the electoral body at the tribunal. But Dr. Adagba who in the phone call tacitly implied that Dr. Adoga and the PDP stole his victory, being the reason he was the first to take him to the tribunal, added that it was because Adoga Ona knew that he had no confidence in the victory he claimed falsely that he (Adoga Ona) had to go to the tribunal. Otherwise, he questioned rhetorically, “where is it done that a winner of an election is the one to petition the tribunal?”
Adagba alleged a falsification of result of the election that swung victory to Adoga, as he said he was leading all the way until the PDP changed the results of areas said to be Adoga’s strongholds to give the lawmaker an age over him.
Dr Adagba could not say the justiciability of Adoga’s petition or suit as he is not a lawyer but confident that he will emerge victorious at the Tribunal.
Now that this year’s elections saw a dramatic turnaround in the fortunes of the PDP, it is possible that Adoga can win at the tribunal with the PDP still in control of the system till May 29,but not likely to win in the event of Adagba’s appeal.
Whatever happens now, the real contest has just begun with the two candidates trading petitions at the Tribunal. But public sentiment seemed to have been stirred against Dr. Adoga and the PDP over the conduct of the election which saw him given the controversial victory that Adagba is challenging, even before they both went to Tribunal.