IT came like a thunderbolt when reports surfaced early this week that the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Comrade Philip Shaibu was planning to resign from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but yet to decide which political party he would join.
The story attracted reactions across the state and the country through conventional and social media; it even dominated political discussions in almost all public gatherings.
While the debate was on, Shaibu said on a national television; “I am happy with my governor, I don’t have any problem with my governor, so the issue that I am not happy with my governor is not there; I am absolutely loyal to my governor but there are issues that we need to resolve in PDP.”
Shaibu’s outburst created more debate and uncertainty in the state.It was gathered that the Deputy Governor was unhappy that all their followers who defected with them from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP were not integrated into the PDP and have been left stranded.
There have been reports that the PDP in Edo State has been divided between the Old PDP and New PDP that came from the APC.Governor Obaseki and his supporters joined the PDP when the party had already concluded its congresses where it elected its leaders from the ward to the state level including election of delegates for its national convention and that made giving the party’s gubernatorial candidate ticket to Obaseki the only issue for discussions when he came.
Since his defection, all moves to call for dissolution of the executives for fresh congresses have been resisted with some of the party members even instituting a suit against that in a court in Abuja.
A chieftain of the party and political leader in Edo south who left the APC with Obaseki, Hon Charles Idahosa alluded to this in a recent interview with journalists ahead of his birthday.
He said “I left the APC when Oshiomhole started giving us problems but here we are in PDP, there is a lot of crisis.
All of us that left APC with Obaseki to PDP, we don’t know where we are; PDP won’t allow us in, they said they have finished their congresses before we came and it is for four years, we said let us negotiate like they did in Sokoto and Borno states, they said they are not interested and next year is pre-election year, we are not delegates so we can’t be part of the processes and APC just completed their own.
You see all these leaders with me here, they come to me and ask where are we: why can’t we go back to where we came from but before they could make up their minds that place is closed.
But right now, there is a committee trying to negotiate, that is the hope we have in the PDP.”
When asked why these issues were not put into consideration during the plans for defection, he said: “The time was so short; you know the time Obaseki was disqualified, we had to leave and look for a new party, the time was so short that we did not cross the ‘t’ and dot the ‘i’.
All we just wanted at the time was the ticket so we went there without a proper negotiation unlike the cases of Tambuwal and Ortom. We were in a hurry so all we just wanted was to get the ticket first and negotiate later.”
Sources close to Shaibu indicated that he was concerned about his post 2024 political sojourn and that of all the followers that came with them.
It was gathered that as at today, he has no control of any of the structures of the party even in Edo North Senatorial District where he comes from because the PDP leadership has refused to concede any of its leadership positions to the governor and by extension to Shaibu hence the reason for the cry.
The current National Vice Chairman, South-South of the party who is the immediate past state chairman of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih is from the zone and he and his foot soldiers have a strong grip of the area.
Although it was gathered that the PDP state chairman and secretary immediately met with Shaibu after his position was made public, his supporters remain skeptical of a favorable outcome for them and they are said to be considering defecting as the Action Alliance (AA) seems to be an option while he is still in power except the PDP comes out with a clear assimilation plan that would not be disadvantageous to them. Some of their supporters blamed the governor who they said was not pushing enough for them.
One of Shaibu’s aides said, “how can you imagine somebody like Anselm Ojezua the state chairman of the then ruling party who left with his supporters and the governor to the PDP and today they are neither here nor there.
The governor doesn’t seem to be keen and these people in PDP will guide the it until the governor leaves and after that, it will be difficult for the deputy governor to exert his influence.
Let me even shock you, do you know that if any election is conducted today, it will be difficult for even the governor to make nominations in the party because he does not have anybody in the leadership structure of the PDP“Some of us believe that the PDP members are smarter and you can see that they are not saying anything about Edo state, they will wait until after they have done their convention and every other party have done theirs ahead of 2023, then they will come out again, by then the situation will become more politically complicated for those of us who came from the APC.
The fear is that by then, they could call the bluff of anybody and that will put all of us including our leaders that came to join the party in a difficult situation so this is the right time to shout.
Currently, politics is at its lowest ebb right now in the state so the Deputy Governor has done his calculation on all of these before he came out to raise these issues. On two occasions, we have been told that the PDP would dissolve their exco to accommodate us but that has not been done.
As I speak to you, the Dan Orbih’s structure is in charge of the party”
Saturday Vanguard gathered that two local government areas in Edo South senatorial district are considering pulling out of the PDP if the local government leadership refuses to dissolve their executive to accommodate those who are from the APC.
Corroborating this position, an aide of Shaibu said a prominent PDP leader who is a close ally of Orbih was one of those frustrating the deputy governor.
He said, “they are trying to resist the deputy governor’s people from being integrated into the main fold of the PDP and the deputy governor is not comfortable.
It is not like the deputy governor is fighting the governor. The governor is aware but he doesn’t want to be seen as being harsh on the people.“It is more about the integration of the deputy governor and the people that came with him that they are resisting and the deputy governor believes that since they are resisting him and his people, then the other option that may be considered left for them is to pull out.
This same person has been in the PDP all along but the PDP has not been productive in the area, it has been losing elections in the area, that is Shaibu’s anger.
They claim they are the old PDP but the question is, whether you are the old PDP or not, what has been the relevance to the party and the area?
How many elections were they winning?“If the governor had not eventually defected, one of the actors in this whole saga was already lobbying Edo North APC leaders to defect to the party before the September 2020 election. If Obaseki had delayed for about a month longer than when he defected, one of these actors would have become a member of the APC.
This person had been visiting Abuja to meet a serving senator and the move was already being perfected to join APC and now they are claiming they are the founding fathers of the PDP.”
However, a prominent member of the PDP in Edo North from Akoko-Edo local government area said he expected what was playing out because according to him the governor joined the party on his terms in addition to the party already having an existing structure.
He said “A political party is ruled by ideology, structure and pattern. The PDP has its administrative system which was already on before the governor and his team came so they shouldn’t expect that things will just change.
However, politics is also about compromises and consensus. The governor came into the party with all his team intact. He did not concede any position to the party.
He had his deputy, Secretary to State Government, Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff and even the Head of Service which at times the appointment could be political. Maybe if some of these things were negotiated the situation would have been different.”
As the people look forward to the formation of a cabinet for the state, more drama is expected but analysts believe that the governor needs to provide the leadership to protect those who sacrificed long term friendship, ideological beliefs and family ties to follow him out of the APC and those who dropped their loyalists to give him a platform.
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