Indications emerged on Saturday that the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has given conditions to the embattled Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, to fly the party’s flag in the state’s September 19 governorship election.
EyewitnessMedia gathered through an anonymous source that Obaseki has been in talks with the PDP and chief among the conditions listed was the directive that he (Obaseki) should meet with the three governorship aspirants screened by the party’s screening committee for the primary.
The three screened PDP aspirants were Gideon Ikhine, Ogbeide Ihama and Kenneth Imansuangbon. One of them has been so vocal, insisting that he would not step down for the governor.
Though the party had yet to release the screening result, it was learnt that the three aspirants were likely to be cleared for the primary.
It was further learnt that the governor was also directed to meet with the party leadership in the state to seek their support and understanding.
The source said there was no way the national PDP would support the governor without the approval of its officials in the state, including the aspirants.
Investigations showed that the party leadership was afraid that if leaders in the state were not carried along in the arrangement, it could boomerang and lead to the defection of aggrieved members to either the APC or any other political party after the primary.
The source said, “We at the national level are not interested in imposing the governor or anyone on the party in the state. He is going to be their governor and the people of the state are the voters. Our own is to campaign for him and our party.
“The governor is not yet a member of our party. We have laboured to remain relevant in the state and our popularity shows that we are going to win the forthcoming election.
“We are talking to the leaders of our party in the state. They have the final say on whether the governor should join or not. The governor had been directed to speak with the state leaders, the members of our party’s National Executive Committee in the state, members of the Board of Trustees and also members of different caucuses.
“When that is done, we can talk to him and the people. The governor will also have to meet with the aspirants who have picked our nomination and expression of interest forms and agree on modalities.
“When they agree, we will come in and iron out what to do. For now, we are watching from the sidelines.”
The source added that whatever agreement the governor reached with the party leaders and the aspirants would form the basis of whether he would join the party or not.
This came following Friday’s disqualification of Obaseki from the June 22 governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress by the party’s screening committee for the election. The governor had, however, vowed not to appeal the decision.
The screening committee, headed by Prof Jonathan Ayuba, said the governor was disqualified because of the discrepancies in his names and certificates and for suing the party in contravention of the party’s rules.
Besides, a close aide to Obaseki also said though some political parties were reaching out to the governor to contest governorship on their platforms, he had yet to take any decision.
The aide, who spoke anonymously with newsmen on Saturday, disclosed that some leaders of the APC at the national level had also reached out to the governor, promising to intervene in the screening crisis.
He said, “I know that several consultations are ongoing. Between me and you, not just the PDP, but several political parties are with the governor. But he has not given any hint that he is talking to any one of the parties.’’