By Emmanuel Elebeke
Front line governorship aspirant under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in forthcoming election in Edo state, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama has said he instituted the lawsuit against the party to prevent impending disaster following the way Governor Obaseki was being imposed on party stakeholders by the national leadership ahead of the primaries scheduled for Thursday, June 25.
Ogebide-Ihama in his address to members of the PDP and the people of Edo state on Wednesday, stressed that as painful as it was “it is the quickest and most necessary thing to do at this time to save our party from an impending disaster.”
He said the injunction was about the flawed process that was adopted to put the governor on the ballot for the primaries.
Recall that Governor Obaseki joined the PDP last week after he was denied the chance to seek reelection in the All Progressives Congress (APC) under which he had ruled Edo state for the past four years.
Ogbeide-Ihama noted that as a loyal and committed member of the party he had labored to build a vibrant, peaceful and stable structure and would not sit back and allow a situation where certain leaders in the party would plot to stop his ambition of becoming governor of the state by trying to impose Obaseki as the party’s flag bearer against the will of the stakeholders in an illegal and unjust manner.
“Before I embarked on this project to serve our state in executive capacity over a year ago, I consulted extensively with leaders within and outside our party, and with the assurances and promise of support I got, we embarked on the tedious and demanding process of reaching out and building relationships and alliances with our members across the 18 local Governments of the state.
“This year-long exercise culminated with another ‘meet-the-delegates tour’ across the state last week, after which we came back to prepare for primaries. Suddenly the brewing plan by certain ‘leaders’ in our party who for certain reasons had decided they were going to stop my ambition by all means shockingly materialized with their bringing the Governor into the party on the same day we were to have primaries they had influenced to be postponed.
“I have spent quite some time in politics and I understand that due to its dynamism, sudden strategic calculations may necessitate re-alignments and the need to make sacrifices. What I found difficult to understand was the brazen manner in which a process that was a few hours to completion could be bastardized, established rules and due process turned on its head, hard-work and efforts treated so inconsequentially, and key stakeholders treated so shabbily and disrespectfully, all in the bid to enthrone what had all the clothing’s of illegality. No dedicated member of the PDP deserves to be treated that way,’ ’he said.
He said that a critical look at the process adopted to allow the governor participate in the primaries will show that probably as a result of the rush to make it happen, a couple of illegalities may have been made which could create legal loopholes for opponents of the party or aggrieved parties to exploit.
“It is expected that we learn lessons from the situation in the last elections with the opposing party in Zamfara and Rivers States,” he said.
Ogbeide-Ihama said that even with such travesty and injustice, his loyalty to the party was first consideration, adding that in the event of an ugly situation, which necessitates a change, the least that was expected was that a meeting would be called where issues could be tabled and discussed, especially pertaining to the internal and external dangers related to the process that brought in the governor.
“Nothing of such was done. That a man marries a new wife does not mean the old one must be sent packing ingloriously, forgetting that she contributed to the attraction the new wife saw in the man in the first place,” he said.
The federal lawmaker insisted that his action was not an affront to the party or its leadership as some people may decide to interpret it, but rather a last attempt to save the party from making a major blunder that could lead to series of lawsuits with a possibility of disqualification of the party from participating in the September 2020 Edo Governorship Elections.
“I state unequivocally that I was very happy to welcome our governor His Excellency Godwin Obaseki into the party. PDP remains a progressive umbrella that is open to everyone that can add value to our common goal, and I believe our governor offers such value.
He said the rules must not be twisted or broken to give undue advantage to anyone above others adding that a well -conducted process will produce a candidate and whoever that candidate is will have his full support.