Obaseki, Edo PDP and the Widening Gulf Between
Written by News Desk on March 14, 2022
Adibe Emenyonu traces the origin of the multiple crises challenging harmony in the Edo State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, since the party won the governorship election in 2020
On November 11, 2008, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State was out of power via an appellate court judgement that ousted it’s candidate, Prof. Osariemen Osunbo which paved the way for the Action Congress (AC) as it was then, Adams Oshiomhole to emerge as the governor of Edo State.
Oshiomhole, having completed eight years as governor, anointed Godwin Obaseki as his successor. Shortly after Obaseki took reign of leadership as governor, he began to have issues with his godfather, Oshiomhole and some leaders of the party over structure and who controls the party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The differences led to the denial of 14 members-elect of the state House of Assembly in 2019 over who becomes the Speaker of the assembly and denial of the party governorship ticket by the then Oshiomhole led National Working Committee (NWC) to Obaseki for a second term.
Following this development, Obaseki ran to the PDP for rescue. The party not only obliged him the ticket, but also agreed to accommodate his deputy, Philip Shaibu as running mate.
The party echelon decided to systematically dump all the three aspirants contesting the party ticket, namely; Gideon Ikhile, Kenneth Imansuangbon and Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama after what may be regarded as sell out otherwise, in the course of negotiation, one of the aspirants would have been made Obaseki’s running mate. This however, did not happen giving the speculations that the ticket was purchased by Obaseki, his Deputy and other APC sojourners who left with him to PDP. The palm of party leaders were not just greased, but that of the aspirants also to pacify them to give up their ambition. Little wonder during that period, the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike was alleged to have abused the party leaders.”
In the build up to this arrangement, one of the senators of the party when asked why the party decided to take such rash decision without negotiation, his simple response was: “Edo PDP has been out of power for 12 years and this is the only opportunity left now for it to bounce back to power.”
With the coast cleared, the PDP won the election and Obaseki and his Deputy were sworn in.
Shortly after the victory, it began to dawn on the party leadership that they have made a grievous mistake. The early signs that they shot themselves in the foot showed when Obaseki reappointed Osarodion Ogie as Secretary to State Government (SSG) who decamped to the PDP alongside with him from APC.
The second slight was the appointment of Osaigbovo Iyoha as Chief of State (CoS), another of his acolyte from APC without considering the PDP bloc that gave him it’s governorship ticket and subsequently worked for his victory.