ANALYSIS: Obaseki’s journey to the PDP not eldorado
For the Governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki, the journey to the Osadebe House the second time would be a tight rope to walk after he could not secure the ticket in his former All Progressives Congress (APC).
On Tuesday, after his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja, Obaseki announced the obvious; his resignation as a member of the APC. His resignation is not unexpected considering the protracted faceoff between the sitting governor and the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, who is his political benefactor.
According to reports, the once smooth relationship between Oshiomhole and Obaseki turned rough after the 2016 election when the governor, attempted to take control of the party structures in the state. In the effort to ensure he takes charge of the affairs in the state politically and administratively, he reportedly replaced some public officers appointed by Oshiomhole, his predecessor, with his loyalists. The rift between godfather and godson became wide when it became apparent that Oshiomhole would not support the second term ambition of the governor.
Last year, factions sympathetic to Obaseki’s plight at the national level moved to remove Oshiomhole as the National Chairman of the party but at the eleventh hour, with the intervention of President Buhari and the National leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, Oshiomhole survived the storm and waited patiently for his payback time.
The National Chairman eventually got his pound of flesh when the Edo APC governorship primaries screening committee disqualified the governor from contesting in the primaries for what it said are irregularities in his educational and NYSC certificates.
Since Obaseki’s worst nightmare is dawned on him, his only option if truly he is interested in retaining his office as the governor is to contest under the platform of another party. There are indications that his move would be to jump ship into the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Two days after his disqualification by the screening committee of the APC, the Edo Governor visited the Governors of Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, Nyelsom Wike and Udom Emmanuel, who are of the PDP. Since his visits to the two governors, Wike has taken swipe at the APC, the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and the Progressives Governors Forum for not doing enough to protect Obaseki’s interest in the APC.
There are reports that he is already in consultation with stakeholders within the PDP after meeting with the National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus over the weekend.
With his influence as a sitting governor, Obaseki may not have it all smooth in getting the support of all PDP members, especially aspirants within the party. One of the aspirants, Ken Imasuagbon, said he would welcome the governor to the party but vowed not to relinquish his ticket for the governor, he urged the governor to join the queue and contest the primaries like any other members of the PDP.
“Any attempt to manipulate the party’s primary would be met with serious resistance; there will be no PDP primary or whatever if the party’s leadership tries it. This is neither a military coup nor are we in military rule, the governor must subject himself to the party’s primary; he will need to queue with the other aspirants if he wishes to join, but certainly not handing him the ticket automatically.” He said.
Certainly Obaseki is not out of the woods yet, but what would become of his second term ambition, time will tell.
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