Lagos – There are indications that ahead of next year’s governorship election in Edo State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is seeking to take advantage of the crisis between Governor Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Sources told Daily Independent that the leaders of the PDP at the national and state levels are making overtures to Obaseki to decamp and get the party’s ticket if it was denied him by the APC.
While the Edo State chapter of the APC is solidly behind the governor, our correspondent gathered that Oshiomhole, who has publicly accused the governor of illegality in the inauguration of the state’s House of Assembly and abandonment of uncompleted projects, may use his influence as the national chairman of the party to deny the governor the ticket next year.
Dan Orbih, the Edo State chairman of the PDP, declined to comment on the issue, saying he didn’t want to speak on it on telephone.
However, speaking with our correspondent, a member of the PDP’s Board of Trustees (BoT) said, as a sitting governor, Obaseki would be an asset to any political party, the reason political parties in the state were desirous of having him run on their platform.
“There is no political party that will not want a sitting governor who will likely seek re-election to join its fold.
“The desire of any political party is to be the governing party. So, our door is open to the governor, but we are waiting to see how the development goes. The election is still months away,” he said.
When contacted, Barr. Anselm Ojezua, the Edo State chairman of the APC, said he was confident that no matter what happened, Governor Obaseki would never leave the party for the PDP or any other political party.
Ojezua, who likened the APC to a ship and PDP to a boat, said rather than join any other party, members of the other political parties who are impressed with the governor’s performance would come and join him in the APC.
“I will be very surprised if the governor accepts PDP’s invitation to join them? How can he jump from a ship to a boat?
“The APC in Edo today is a large ship while the PDP is a boat. He cannot join the PDP. It is the PDP who will come and join him in his party, the APC.
“Obaseki is very comfortable in the APC. He has justified the confidence that the electorate in Edo have reposed in him.
“It also shows that the APC made a good choice when we chose him to be the flag bearer of the party.
“What is happening now is good news to APC. If every party wants him, it means that his re-election will be a fait accompli,” he said.
In a related development, concerned political leaders in Edo have described as ignorant those saying Obaseki would receive the Ambode treatment when he decides to seek re-election.
Festus Etokhana, one of the APC leaders in Edo State, said the Ambode treatment cannot work in Edo State because unlike the former governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, who was rejected by the APC leaders in Lagos, Obaseki enjoys the support of Edo APC leaders.
“There are many reasons why Obaseki can’t get the Ambode treatment in Edo.
“One, the politics of Edo is very different from Lagos politics. Two, the governor enjoys the support of Edo APC leaders; Ambode did not.
“Even when Asiwaju Bola Tinubu wanted to pardon him, the leaders said they will revolt against him.
“In Edo here, 80 percent of APC members are with Obaseki. The State Exco, led by the party chairman, are solidly behind him.
“Many elders of the party rose in his defence when this issue started. So, how will he get the Ambode treatment here in Edo?” Etokhana asked.
On the accusation that the governor was ungrateful to those who assisted him to get to power, he said: “Honestly, I think those accusing Governor Obaseki of being disloyal are making a grave mistake because they are not conversant with what is happening in Edo.
“Do you know the role Governor Obaseki played in his emergence as national chairman? Even Oshiomhole has admitted himself that God used Obaseki in his becoming the governor Of Edo State.
“Let me take you back a bit. When INEC declared that the PDP and Senator Osereimen Osunbor won the 2007 governorship election in Edo State, Oshiomhole was confused and resigned to fate.
“It was Obaseki that approached him and said: “Let us go to court, there are enough evidence that you won.
“Oshiomhole replied that he had no money to prosecute the case in court because he had exhausted all his money in the governorship election.
“Again, Obaseki asked him not to worry and he used his influence in the business world to rally people who raised the funds which Oshiomhole used in prosecuting the election.
“As God will have it, Oshiomhole won in court and when he was sworn in, he appointed Obaseki as head of his economic team.
“Up till when he became national chairman, they had no issues. This whole issue started after he became national chairman because he started acting in strange ways.
“I think there is this Abuja influence that usually comes upon our politicians, because the whole trouble started when he became national chairman and relocated to Abuja.
“He started acting in strange ways, giving orders to everybody, from governors to ministers. You all heard when he said if President Buhari condoned indiscipline, he won’t”.