By Stephen Ubanna
In spite of efforts by Victor Giadom, acting National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, APC, to bring the mind of Godwin Obaseki , the governor of Edo state and Philip Shaibu, the deputy governor , back to the party by cancelling the stage-managed the state party primary, the duo who had quit the party officially had finally decamped to the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to snob the ruling APC.
Giadom may have cancelled the Edo governorship primary after due Consultation with the governors, the Presidency and other party Chieftains, in order to give Obaseki and Shaibu, his deputy , another opportunity to participate in the primary. He got it wrong. This is because the duo had already initiated talk with the Opposition PDP, as their mind were already made up to decamp to the party in order to realize their Political ambition.
The inability of Giadom, the Rivers state born politician, and the acting Chairman, of APC, to woe Obaseki and his deputy back to the party, in order to participate in the party rescheduled governorship primary, may have given ammunition to some aggrieved party members on the alleged payroll of their paymasters in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and his home state, Rivers, to drag him to Court, on Friday, June 19, 2020 to force him to step down and stop parading himself as the acting National Chairman of the party or take decisions on behalf of the party.
The position of the aggrieved party members is evident going by the recent ruling of Justice Florence Fibresima of the R state High Court which barred him from taking action on behalf of the APC, in his Capacity as party National Chairman or acting National Chairman. This clearly shows that they were not happy with him for cancelling the Edo governorship primary which had exposed the party to the PDP for attack.
Obaseki , the Edo state governor, and Shuaibu, his deputy , may have proved book makers right when they formally declared their loyalty to PDP, and were warmly received by the party on Tuesday , June 16, 2020. They were said to have collected their party membership card at the party Secretariat in Benin city, the state Capital, on Friday, June 19, 2020, to avoid giving room to those opposed to them in the party to be used by the APC, leadership , to stir up crisis in the party.
Given his vantage position as the governor of the state, and going by the party Constitution, it automatically qualifies him as the party leader in the state. Political analysts believe that his joining the PDP, is a boost to the party. This is because he would collapse the APC political structure which is in his firm grip in the state to the PDP. Already he has promised ‘’to lead the party to victory in the September 19, 2020, governor election in the state.
An elated Obaseki, who could not hide his feelings because of the troubles Adams Oshiomhole, a former APC, governor of the state and suspended National Chairman of the party, gave him over the last three years had assured the party that he is ’’ prepared provide leadership that will not only put PDP into office in Edo but as ruling party in the state’’.
He may have gladdened the heart of the party members when he declared ‘’I will make sure that the level of progress, growth and participation in the political system and our people is unrivaled in the country’’. The warm reception given to him by the state party leadership , may have forced him to speak out. ’’The energy I see in PDP is the kind of energy I require to move Edo forward ’’.
But Uche Secondus, National Chairman of the PDP, wants Obaseki, to see his decamping into the PDP, ‘’as an act of God and would want him to be guided by it in his conduct in the party . He was said to have told the governor that he did not make ’’ a mistake in joining the PDP’’, describing it as a party of ‘’responsible people who respect and appreciate intellect and work by the rules and Constitution of the party’’.
Secondus may have alluded to the fact that the ruling APC is a party of irresponsible people who do not respect and appreciate intellect or work by the party Constitution but are power drunk. Bukola Saraki, a former governor of Kwara state and a one-time Senate President may have awaited for such an opportunity where the APC , crisis in Edo would pave the way for Obaseki , the state governor , described as a big fish, to decamp to the party.
It was therefore not very surprising that he was very happy to welcome him to the PDP, predicting ‘’the political downfall of Oshiomhole’’, the suspended National Chairman of the APC. An appreciative Saraki, had thanked the PDP, governors, over how they managed the Edo state governor’s transition into the party as he did not just ‘’unilaterally take the decision without the input of the state party leaders.
The former Senate President may have made reference to Nyesom Wike , and Udom Emmanuel, the two governors of the oil – rich states of Rivers and Akwa Ibom respectively, when he expressed his appreciation to the PDP governors for managing Obaseki, the former Edo state APC, governor transition to the party. The duo were said to have prepared the ground for the governor to decamp to the party.
Recall that shortly after his disqualification from participating in the party governorship primary by the Screening Committee on Friday, June 12, 2020, he had visited governors Wike and Emmanuel, in their respective states to rub mind with each one of them. He was said to have given them his words to dump the APC for the PDP.
The duo may have reached out to the party leadership where they were said to have briefed Secondus led National Working Committee, NWC, of the party about their discussion with the Edo state governor and the need to welcome him to the party with open arms. They had their way.
Given that the PDP is determined to reclaim Edo state from APC, at all costs, in the September 19, 2020, governorship election, the party NWC, were said to have granted Obaseki and Shaibu, his deputy, a waiver to seek re-election on the party platform.
Many see it as a big blow to the APC , as the defeat of the party in the September 19, 2020, election, may force Oshiomhole , who people was power drunk on political retirement.
Political Observers believe that President Muhammadu Buhari and Agboola Ibrahim Gambari, a Professor and his Chief of Staff, had opportunity of calling for a cease fire in the Edo crisis when obaseki, visited them recently at the Presidential Villa, where he was said to have lodged Complaints , on how Oshiomhole, the suspended party Chairman succeeded in stage managing the state governors hip primary leading to his being denied participation by the screening Committee on account of alleged discrepancies in academic credentials . Recall that he had said that he could only remain in the party based on the outcome of his discussion with the Katsina state born Nigerian President.
Perhaps, the discussion between them may not have gone the way he had expected that he quickly resigned from the party in order to test his popularity in the state in another party. This may have informed why he decamped to the PDP, which was in control of the state with the return of Democracy in the country in May 29, 199 but lost control of it to Oshiomhole , as a candidate of Action Congress Party , who has a strategic working relationship with the Labour party through the Court process in 2008.