Politics

May 8, 2024

Edo guber: Obaseki, Legacy Group set for showdown

cult killings

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State

•Governor paying us with ingratitude for saving him
—Osakhuenokhuodin
•PDP elders’ll meet with aggrieved members —Martins

By Ozioruva Aliu

BENIN CITY—Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, last week, drew the battle line between the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and a group known as the ‘Legacy Group’, which some people think is critical in the party, considering the role the members played in the governor’s re-election in 2020.

The group, led by the National Vice Chairman, South-South, of the party, Dan Orbih, is seen as the core of the party, and they claim to be the nucleus of the PDP in the state, as many of them are founding members. They claimed they have been shortchanged and not rewarded since Obaseki won his re-election and they have since then antagonised him.

They held meetings in the three senatorial districts of Edo where they publicly declared that they would not work for the party.

During the inauguration of the 363-man PDP campaign council, last weekend, Obaseki accused the group of becoming a mole in the party and collecting money from the opposition to destabilise the PDP. He warned them to steer clear of the party, boasting that without the group, PDP would be victorious in the September 21 governorship poll and deliver Dr Asue Ighodalo as the next governor of the state.

The group recently swelled as some politicians who defected with the governor from the All Progressives Congress, APC to the PDP and feel “neglected and abandoned” have joined the Legacy Group. Some of them include former Political Adviser to Adams Oshiomhole as governor, Charles Idahosa; immediate past Deputy Governor, Philip Shaubu; and former Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly,Kabiru Adjoto.

Legacy Group is disorganized —Obaseki

Obaseki, at the ceremony, described the group as disorganized and likened it to a sheep without a shepherd.

“The timetable is out, can you see any of them? Can they organise themselves? PDP leads, others follow. PDP is one. Those who are fighting the PDP have collected money from the other parties, and they want to sell out. I want you all here to join me so that we can flush them out of our party because we are not going to allow anybody to divide us. We are one party – one indivisible party in Edo State.

“The money they have collected is enough, let them go and enjoy it; let them go and spend it outside. We don’t have anything to fear. I will fight them if they try us; we will fight them if they try us. They know us, we never fight and lose, let them come and try. They have collected money, let them stay outside with their money, and not disturb us because this election is ours and we are going to win by the grace of God.”

Time’ll tell — Legacy Group

Reacting to Governor Obaseki’s comments, the Legacy Media Team, in a statement by Yakubu Osakhuenokhuodin, said time will tell if Obaseki’s boasts would come to pass, adding that this is not the best of times for the party going into an election.

This position was also corroborated by a former State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Nosa Adams, who said the PDP candidate would be a victim of Obaseki’s poor handling of the affairs of the party.

Osakhuenokhuodin said: “We challenge Governor Obaseki to name the parties that gave Legacy leaders money, the names of the leaders and how much they were given and where they were given the money. We urge the governor who now talks without civility to respect his office and stop making unfounded and baseless allegations.

“No one can sweep the issues between Obaseki, Legacy PDP, and Edo people under the carpet. Good governance cannot be defined by the number of people you fight. You fought everyone in APC and they threw you out of the party.

“You joined the PDP and the leaders and members worked tirelessly for your re-election but today you are also fighting them. This is the height of ingratitude. Governor Obaseki was kicked out from the APC for his actions of ingratitude towards his benefactors, Senator Adams Oshiomole and critical stakeholders of the party. Seeing that his political life had been extinguished, the Edo chapter of the PDP rescued him from the doldrums of humiliation. He was given the PDP ticket as a lifeline or else he was already on his way to Lagos where he came from.

“The PDP in Edo State, led by Dan Osi Orbih, with other members, including candidates who relinquished their possible ticket to him, joined forces to campaign for him in 192 wards. Orbih never missed a single day during the campaigns. As a candidate that was difficult to sell as a result of under-performance in his first term, the members went round all parts of the state propping his image.

“After winning the election, Obaseki turned his back on the party and members that gave him the ticket and supported him. All effort to see that the party learned from the sorry defeat in the general election proved abortive. Obaseki continued to marginalize the Legacy Group in the party’s activities. When it was time to scout for who would succeed him, he went to bring an outsider who was barely two months old in the party.

Well, everyone thought he would use the opportunity to court the Legacy Group by choosing his deputy from their fold. Lo and behold, he decided on Osarodion Ogie, the present Secretary to the State Government.

This act infuriated members of the group. Acknowledging the fact that they have been totally marginalized in their own party, the group rallied massive members across the three senatorial districts to voice out their disenchantment against the state of affairs in the Party. The first was held in Edo South, then Edo North and Edo Central where several other party members joined the mass movement.

Aggrieved members’ll be appeased —Olu Martins

Speaking to Vanguard on the state of the party ahead of the election, Spokesperson of the PDP Campaign Council, Rev Olu Martins, said there are plans to bring in some elders of the party to appease aggrieved members but said defection was part of elections in Nigeria as the PDP is also receiving high profile defectors from the APC.

Martins insisted that PDP was better prepared than APC to win the election.

‘PDP a party of matured people’

“PDP is not like the APC that does not have a cohesive structure. We have inaugurated our campaign committee, we have hit the ground running. The day the ban on campaign was officially lifted, the next day, we announced our campaign management committee and the campaign advisory council.”