The Oasis Reporters
June 16, 2020
The ongoing political drama over Edo State’s forthcoming gubernatorial election has left political watches with mouth wide open that a sitting governor has once again been denied his political party’s ticket to run again in the South South zone. But this time, not because of proven cases of misgovernance, but because a party stalwart who was a former governor himself said so.
His reason, the governor presented a Higher School Certificate to the screening committee. Though acknowledging receipt of his authentic degree certificate from the University of Ibadan.
Hear Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike narrate the story :
Governor Godwin Obaseki has therefore exited from the All Progressives Congress, APC, to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, where he is expected to fly the party’s governorship flag in the September 19, 2020 governorship election.
It has been reported that the deal was sealed since February 24, 2020, by former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, when he paid the governor a visit in Benin City.
Insider sources with knowledge of the arrangement that former President Jonathan was specifically in Benin to woo Obaseki to consider crossing to the PDP following his protracted bickering with his erstwhile political mentor and national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Former President Jonathan was said to have assured Obaseki that the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, and key figures in the party from the state and the South/South zone were open to handing him the PDP ticket if he dumps the APC.
The sources added that Obaseki assured the former president he was open to joining his party but would first have to fight Oshiomhole from within the APC “to a logical conclusion to enable him cause maximum damage” to the APC brand before his exit.
Obaseki was Friday formally disqualified alongside his ally Mathew Iduoriyekemwe and Engineer Chris Ogiemwonyi from seeking reelection on the APC platform by the governorship-screening panel at the behest of Oshiomhole.
The surprising thing is that the Nigerian Governors Forum, especially the APC governors appeared mute in the affair. They failed to rally round one of their own.
There are at least 12 ongoing lawsuits bordering on the APC governorship primary process in Edo and the leadership of the party in the state. Iduoriyekemwe and members of the party, who are Plaintiffs in the matter but sympathetic to Obaseki, would remain in the APC to fight the cases tenaciously as part of a broader strategy to keep the party on a leash.
Obaseki had met with Secondus and some governors of the PDP in Abuja two days ago to perfect his entry to the party following feelers that he would be disqualified by Adams Oshiomhole.
Obaseki Friday resigned from the APC and formally joined the PDP in his Ward.
The proffered reason for Jonathan’s visit to Benin City was ostensibly to express appreciation to Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin, founder of Igbinedion University and a stalwart of the PDP, for bestowing on him an honorary degree.
He told journalists that he paid Obaseki a courtesy call to inform him of his visit to the state as required by protocol for a former President. He commended the governor for “providing impactful and purposeful leadership in the state”.
“Traditionally as someone who has been a president or a senior political office holder, when you go to a state, you have to pay a courtesy call on the chief executive; even if you are free or not, at least you must inform him,” the former president said.
The Edo State Governorship Election is likely to be a tight two-way contest between the PDP and the APC, with Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Oshiomhole’s preferred choice, expected to emerge the candidate of the APC.
In keeping with the perceived behavior of Nigeria’s politicians with the exception of Goodluck Jonathan’s epochal concession to Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 and a previous concession by Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to Ibrahim Shekarau in the Kano State gubernatorial election in 2003, all other contests have ended up in the law courts.
The Edo State gubernatorial election may be no different, irrespective of the eventual winner between Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Godwin Obaseki, assuming that he emerges the PDP candidate.