By Stephen Ubanna
Barely eighteen months to the 2024 governorship elections in Edo state, there appear to be total confusion, clash of interests and bickerings in the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the state as Philip Shuaibu , who has the backing of Godwin Obaseki, the governor and his loyalists were said to have threatened to dump the party for the All Progressive Congress, APC.
Shuaibu, who had served as a one- time Speaker of the state House of Assembly and currently the state deputy governor who has the ambition of contesting the 2024 governorship elections in the state appears to have met a brick wall that he has cried out.
Political Observers believe that the old PDP chieftains do not want history to repeat itself in the south-south state because of what Godwin Obaseki, the incumbent governor, who had decamped to the party in 2020 when he dumped the APC as he could not be selected for his re-election bid by the party. This is because Adams Oshiomhole, a former governor of the state and the then National Chairman of the party had refused to support his Candidature.
Okeseki who was desperate to retain his governorship position in the state and Shuaibu, his deputy were said to have reached out to governors Nyeson Wike of Rivers state and Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom to work on the PDP Leadership to secure the party ticket for them in the state.
The duo were said to have used their position as requested by governor Obaseki and Shuaibu, to secure the ticket for them in 2020. Indeed, Wike and other Chieftains of the PDP, had expected Obaseki and Shuaibu, to work for the party that returned them to power in the state in 2020, but were disappointed going by their action and utterance’’.
It was not therefore not surprising why the party was not ready to make the mistake of 2020 again by going too give the 2024 governorship ticket to Shuaibu, whose loyalty in the party is seriously in doubt. An aggrieved Shuaibu , who had appeared on Channels Television recently had said that their followers are not accepted in the PDP, stating that ‘’it is time to just throw the curtain to leave’’.
The Edo deputy governor may have become vociferous in the recent time to push for the proper integration of their followers into the PDP to prepare the ground of his contesting the party primaries ahead of the 2024, governorship elections in the state but got it wrong.
Nyesom Wike, the Rivers state governor, may not have found the Statement credited to the Edo deputy governor that ‘’many of their supporters who defected with the governor from the APC to the PDP are not happy and do not feel accepted to the new party’’ funny.
The influential south-south state governor had asked Iyorche Ayu, the party National Chairman ‘’to institute a disciplinary Committee to probe the Edo deputy governor and invoke the sanctions of the party on him’’, insisting that he will do everything within his powers to ensure that the party Leadership discipline Shuaibu, the Edo state deputy governor.
Angered by the emotional outburst of Wike against the Edo state deputy governor may have encouraged Obaseki, to fire back at his Rivers Counterpart , urging him ‘’not ‘’to see the PDP as his personal estate’’, as ‘’Edo cannot be procured’’.
The aggrieved Edo State governor had said that ‘’if Wike was one who wants to show respect and courtesy to his colleague-governors, he would have reached out to him to express his concerns about rk on an unwarranted public onslaught’’.
In defending Shuaibu’s Statement, Obaseki had said that the deputy governor’s Statement is representative of ‘’the essence of the nation’s Youth population, who are inclined to openly speak out and question the status quo’’. He wondered how governor Wike can aspire to lead Nigeria youths ‘’if he cannot understand and adequately respond to their style and character’’.
Appealing to governor Wike to take a cue from Ayu, the National National Chairman of the party response to Deputy governor Shuaibu’s remarks on Channels, describing him as a ‘’conscientious leader who is able to show sympathy and consideration ‘’. The governor noted that ‘’the concerns expressed by Shuaibu bordered on pertinent issues affecting the ruling PDP in the state which since the September 19th, 2020, governorship elections in the state they been able to register over 500,000 members , stressing these members have not been properly integrated into the PDP after two years, which was not good enough.
He may not have seen anything wrong in the views expressed by Shuaibu, his deputy,. on Channels against the ruling PDP as he had worsened matters when he volunteered information that ‘’the leaders, executives and the APC, members who had followed them to the PDP in the state have still not been accepted,integrated and harmonized into the party’’.
His major worry was that the old members of the party who are open ‘’to inclusion and supportive of building a large party are being vilified and ostracized by a local cabal led by Dan Orbih, a former Chairman of the party in the state believed to have been used by governor Wike and others ‘’to Orchestrate the destabilization of the party in Edo state’’
Obaseki’s remarks on governor Wike over Shuaibu’s recent Statement may have forced him to make a sweeping Statement, describing Obaseki as an’ ’ungrateful human being’’. He alluded to the fact that the governor and Shuabu, his deputy have refused to be grateful to the party and the people who supported them to be re-elected when they left the APC.
Putting on the garb of a Politician, he had apologized to Oshimhole, the former National Chairman of the APC, , whom he said had initially warned them about accepting the duo in the PDP. His anger on Obaseki could not be hidden as he Challenged those who want to check his DNA that what they will see is ‘’betrayal, serial betrayal and ungratefulness’’.
The Rivers state governor has taken advantage of the Commissioning of a Secondary school in Omuanwa Community in the state on Monday, March 14, 2022, to to fire attack at oBASIKI. He noted that Oshiomhole, the former governor of Edo state, has been vindicated by what he said about Obaseki, that he is not someone to bring too close as he may sting the person to death’’. True to what the former Edo state governor had said about Obaseki, Wike , who had spent both time and money to support Obaseki’s re-election bid in 2020 had said that he has confirmed the former APC National Chairman impression of him as he has shown his true colour of ‘’insincerity and ungratefulness’’.
The battle line between the two Niger Delta governors appear to have been drawn as Wike had said: I have never seen somebody like that in my life, a serial betrayer. This is may have informed why he has threatened ‘’to smoke out Obaseki’s other cohorts in the party.
He may have shocked the people of Edo state when he dclared that ‘’this is not the Benin artefact issue that the governor took as an advantage to challenge Akolokpolo Wwuare II, the Oba of Benin, , insisting that this is politics, where he has more stake in the PDP than him. ‘’I have fought for the PDP both at the state and national level’’, challenging Obaseki to mention one thing that he has done for the party since he became governor of Edo state in 2020, on the ticket of the PDP.
Many believe that Obaseki and Shuaibu, may have started a fight they cannot finish in the PDP at both the national and state level as Wike who has the reach will sink them politically. It is obvious that Wike will work against Shuiabu, becoming the next governor of Edo state for challenging the Party leadership.