Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, formerly of the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Obaseki arrived the PDP secretariat along First East Circular Road, Benin at about 2:20 pm where a huge crowd of PDP supporters received him.
He had resigned from the APC after being disqualified from contesting the governorship primary of the party by the screening committee over alleged discrepancies in his educational credentials.
He had been at loggerheads with the party’s suspended national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, over the supremacy of the party in the state.
Speaking at the party secretariat in Benin, Obaseki said he was there to inform the party of his resignation from the APC and entry into the PDP.
“I have now decided, having consulted widely across the state and the nation, I am here to join the PDP, a party that believes in democratic principles, justice and fairness.
“Today is not a day to make speeches, I am here today to go through the formality of registering as a member of the PDP.
“I know that upon taking membership of the party, I automatically became the leader of the party in the state and that is what the constitution says,” he said.
He assured members of his readiness to provide leadership that would make the party victorious in the forthcoming election.
Responding, the state PDP chairman, Tony Azegbemi, said with Obaseki coming to the PDP with his commissioners, House of Assembly members, local government chairmen and supporters, it was clear that Edo would become a PDP state on September 19.
He said: “Let me welcome the newest member of the PDP in Edo State, His Excellency, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki. Let me say this unequivocally, as he has rightly said, the leader of the party in Edo State is the governor of the state, so that we are all on the same page on this.
“Your Excellency, just know that as the leader of the party in the state, we look up to you for direction, for what you want us to do and we are ready to follow you,” he said.
The Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, also joined Obaseki to defect to the PDP.
Shaibu led his supporters defect to the PDP, after Obaseki formally joined the party.
He resigned from the APC shortly after the governor resigned his membership of the party.
- PDP grants waiver, prevails on other aspirants to drop
Barring any last minute change, the PDP will grant a waiver to Obaseki.
The waiver if granted, would enable Obaseki to contest the PDP governorship ticket ahead of the September 19, 2020 governorship election in Edo State, for a second term.
The party’s primary poll which was earlier slated for June 19 and 20, has been rescheduled to June 23 and 24, 2020.
Sources at the PDP National Secretariat in Abuja, confirmed to our correspondent that the National Working Committee (NWC) had agreed to grant him waiver, while other party leaders were pushing for him to emerge as a consensus candidate.
A PDP official hinted that PDP governors, Board of Trustees (BoT) and other critical stakeholders were behind Obaseki’s bid to emerge candidate of the party for the election.
He said some party leaders had opened discussions with the Edo aspirants who had already obtained their Expression of Interest and nomination forms on the need for them to step down for Obaseki.
Three aspirants have so far obtained their forms for the party’s primary. They are; Mr Kenneth Imansuangbon, Mr Omoregie-Ogbeide Ihama and Mr Gideon Ikhine.
But the PDP official said, “Only Obaseki can match the APC in a situation like this. He has the resources more than any other aspirant in the PDP. He has the clout and the machinery of power at his disposal. So the party can’t afford to deny him the ticket. Denying him the ticket is very risky.
But a foundation member of the party in the North, Alhaji Aminu Yakudima, told Daily Trust Saturday that the top echelon of the party should stop “impunity” and abide by democratic principles and tenets.