PDP issues Obaseki tough conditions for governorship ticket

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Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki might have hard time wooing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for his second term bid after being disqualified by his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the upcoming governorship election.

Indications emerged on Saturday that the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has given conditions to the embattled Governor to fly the party’s flag in the state’s September 19 governorship election.

The offers 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.

However, to realise his second-term ambition, a highly placed source within the PDP top hierarchy, told one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity that the governor had been in contact with the party. The source stated that the governor was asked to take some steps before he could be admitted to be the party’s candidate in the coming election.

The source added that chief among the conditions was the directive that he (Obaseki) should meet with the three PDP 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 the aspirants insisted 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.”