Last Friday, the defection of Edo governor Godwin Obaseki to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was predictable. Once he was disqualified by the All Progressive Congress ( APC) for “defective qualifications,” Obaseki clearly needed the PDP platform to seek reelection
All questions about this vanished when he and his Akwa Ibom counterpart, Udom Emmanuel, visited Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike for consultation. That accounted for the five-star treatment he got when he visited the secretariat of the party to register his membership.
On ground are formidable foot soldiers and stakeholders who fought tooth and nail to build the party in Edo. Their resources and structures went into making the party strong. These stakeholders, with army of supporters, are certainly no push-overs in the party. Through them the party has been able to offer formidable opposition in Edo
On ground are formidable foot soldiers and stakeholders who fought tooth and nail to build the party in Edo. Their energy and systems went into making the party big. Such stakeholders are definitely not push-overs in the community, with army of supporters. Through them in Edo the party was able to offer formidable opposition
The party led by Chief Dan Orbih won four of the nine slots of the House of Representatives in the 2019 general election. PDP grabbed two of the three senatorial seats in a move that shocked many pundits considering it was up against a ruling party whose National Chairman was immediate Governor.
Orbih, who is described as a warrior by party members, also fought to install the candidate for governor of the PDP, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who lost 319,483 to Obaseki with 253,173 votes. Having good foot soldiers in Edo PDP, there are many of his likes.
There are indications many of them feel sidelined and shortchanged by Obaseki’s defection intrigues. One of them confided last night: “Without as little as our consultation, the national leaders and the governors thought they could just bring him in. They described him as a big catch, and it is as strong as the structure to forget a candidate.
“If we didn’t build the structure, how would he consider the platform strong enough to fulfill his ambition? It is because we have built the party that he can think of joining us and not another party.”
According to signs, these stakeholders are displeased with Obaseki’s ‘perfect’ entry to the group. He too did not assuage their disenchantment if anything. Immediately after he registered as a PDP member, Obaseki said: “I know that I automatically become the party leader in the state when I join this party. That is the Constitution; last nig, I read it thoroughly
“I want to assure all of you that I am prepared to provide leadership. I am prepared to provide a leadership that will lead this party to victory and I am prepared to provide a leadership that will not only put PDP in office in Edo State but as the ruling party in Edo State.”
Such messianic mentality is annoyingly counter-productive for a group with a long-term target, the stakeholders insisted. Obaseki faces strong opposition from both main stakeholders and aspirants alike. The three have vowed to never step down under any conditions for the Governor.
One of them, Kenneth Imasuagbon, said: “It is ridiculous to contemplate me stepping down. You can’t ask me to quit after the last 16 years of my (political) struggle.
“Why? How do I explain that to the people who laboured for me in the past 16 years? Even in the dream, I can’t have such a thought.
“Nobody should reach out to me. That is of no value to me. There is no advantage to him (Obaseki). Let there not be intimidation or any form of manipulation of the process by the leadership of the party at the national level.”
Another elder of the party said: “I am pained at the turn of things. The only way we can have sustainable peace is to ensure equity reigns. Those who built this party in the state must be acknowledged and given due respect and not made to look like errand boys. Until then, I am afraid the party is set for implosion.”
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