The hierarchy of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party has been holding series of meetings since Monday over the embattled governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki.
Obaseki, who is seeking a second tenure of office was disqualified by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), said he will not appeal the decision, thereby raising suspicion among political pundits that he might have option ‘B’ for his soft landing.
Without wasting time, he began consultation with PDP governors of Southsouth, Southeast, but without revealing outcome of meetings.
CAPITAL POST learnt, that the week which has been eventful for the Peoples Democratic Party at its national headquarters and outside, bothers on ways of receiving the governor into the fold. Though, Obaseki was yet to formally announce his defection, signs and symptoms of his defection were prevalent in the last few days.
What further cleared the cobweb for Godwin Obaseki in seeking PDP ticket ahead of September 19, Edo State gubernatorial election was
the decision of two out of the three aspirants contending for the PDP ticket to step down for him.
The aspirants who have agreed to step down for him are Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama who is from the same constituency with Obaseki and Engr. Gideon Ikhine. Both aspirants are strong governorship contenders.
The PDP National Working Committee (NWC); the Narional Executive Council (NEC), CAPITAL POST learnt are favourable to welcoming Edo governor into its arms with a caveat that he would not return to the ruling All Progressives Congress, after he has won election of his second tenure of office.
The PDP topnotchs raised the concern in the probability that Obaseki will decide to return after winning the elecrion; an issue which Edo State PDP stakeholders have been hammering on. This is also to address the likelihood of generating controversy ocasioned by the entrance of the governor and his deputy, Mr Philip Shaibu among the Edo PDP members.
Though, a source indicated that PDP ticket would not be automatic for Obaseki, the party however, believes that if the governorship ticket is handed over to him, he would not be a hard sell in the State.
The National Secretariat of PDP, it was learnt advised Obaseki to engage the stakeholders of the party in the State as the party’s highest organ may have little to do, if the State are averse to his ambition.
He said, “the party is excited to welcome Obaseki any time but at the same time, the NWC is very careful and asked the governor to go and meet the aspirants and the party leadership in the state who will then bring him to the NWC.
“One of the teething issues heating up the system is that some party leaders are muting that Hon. Philip Shaibu, the Edo Deputy Governor should be replaced with one of the aspirants, so that old party members will not feel sidelined.
“The suggestion has become a big torn in the party and Obaseki has reached out to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Governor Wike to ensure that Shuaibu is also accommodated by the new arrangement. Obaseki has not hidden the fact that the political strategy and followership his deputy enjoys in Edo must be factored before he steps formally into the party.
“But some governors in the party are working to ensure that the entry of Obaseki does not divide the state chairman and other aspirants who have already procured their forms. The party is threading cautiously to ensure that loyal members of the party do not feel bad if Obaseki is allowed to fly the flag of the party.
“The governor was also further advised to present only his West African School Certificate (WASC) so as to avoid the distraction of legal battle that may arise if he presents same certificates that led to his disqualification by the APC”.
It’s not certain if the initial date for PDP primary will stand, given the latest developments as Obaseki will have to buy governorship forms even before the screening.
Currently, there are two Senators from Edo State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. They are Mathew Uroghide and Clifford Odia.
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