By Emmanuel Elebeke
Ahead of Thursday’s governorship primaries of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo state, stakeholders in the party in the state have kicked against the seeming favouritism extended to the State Governor,y Godwin Obaseki, by the party’s national leadership, saying it is illegal and unjust.
Governor Obaseki joined the PDP last week after he was allegedly denied the chance to seek reelection under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party under which he governed Edo state for the past four years.
A source within the party said although he has nothing against Obaseki joining the PDP, he is, however, against using illegality to impose the governor on those who have been on ground and working for the party through thick and thin. He said it is unfair that the party allowed Obaseki to purchase nomination forms after the time had elapsed.
The source said that leading governorship aspirants in the Edo state PDP such as Hon. Ogbeide Omorogie Ihama and others were not given a fair deal when Obaseki was offered such unprecedented favouritism.
“It is a welcome development that the governor joined the PDP, the problem is that the national leadership of the party without any idea of the local politics decided to upset the apple cart because of their greed. People have worked for the party, they have gone through the process and they have concluded on buying of nomination forms and all that and you approved it,” he said.
He added that even if Obaseki will be given waiver, there must be consultation in order not to cause disaffection in the party as some people will feel shortchanged and might dump the party because there is nothing in it for them anymore.
He said unless the leadership of the party addresses this issue it might become an albatross for the party.
Expressing his disgust at the development, a PDP stakeholder, from Akoko-Edo, Segun Bakare asked “How did the PDP sell forms to the Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki 18 days after sales and submission of forms was concluded?
“On what basis and through what process was he granted a waiver to purchase the forms, be screened and allowed to participate just days before the primaries?
He said that it is extremely laughable that the erstwhile peaceful Edo state PDP is about to set itself up for needless acrimony and instability through potential contentions and litigations when there was absolutely no need to.
“From accounts available, three aspirants had been on the campaign trail for over one year following the laid down guidelines set by the party, selling their candidature and basically securing their delegates, until these recent unwise actions of the party leadership. One can imagine our shock at the strange turn of events over the past one week since the unholy intercourse between the governor and the national leadership of the party; an alliance that is presently heavily pregnant with crisis and internal conflicts and will spell doom for the Edo State PDP should the delivery be allowed to happen.
“With the alleged on-going altering and substitution of the earlier circulated delegates list to illegally accommodate the agents of the governor, it is safe to say the same multitude of litigations that chased the governor from his former house has been introduced to the PDP. How else can a group on self-destruct be described,” he said.
Also speaking, Osahon Isibor, another aggrieved stakeholder in the party said the manner in which Obaseki joined the PDP has some trappings of the emergence of a godfather.
“Since early last week when the plot to ‘force’ the present Edo State governor Godwin Obaseki on the PDP to run on their ticket gained steam, he has exhibited actions which if x-rayed against the Oshiomole-defined parameters of godfatherism, shows he seems to be settling comfortably into the same office as godfather.
“Godwin Obaseki influenced the illegality of the PDP primaries being postponed for 3days to enable him defect to the party and have enough time to build further on the illegalities by purchasing a nomination and expression of interest form after the exercise had long closed.
“All these were done by by-passing the party leadership of the state, and preferring to negotiate his entrance into the party with governors of other PDP states and the national leadership, who ultimately have no stake in the affairs of the party locally,” he said.
Also speaking, another aggrieved stakeholder, Kola Adesina, said “it must be a painful time for loyal and committed members of the PDP in Edo state who have suffered in opposition for so long.
“I saw images splashed across social media showing the governor of Edo State Godwin Obaseki being admitted into our party in Edo state, I wondered if the national leadership of the party knew what they were doing,” he lamented.