Edo: Two PDP aspirants step down for Obaseki, as NEC decides Govs faith today

By Myke Uzendu, Abuja

The coast may have become clearer for embattled Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, to clinch the ticket of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the September 19 governorship poll in the state, following the decision of two out of the three aspirants contending for the ticket to step down for him

This development followed series of political manoeuvring triggered by the exit of the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki from the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Tuesday

The PDP National Working Committee (NWC) it was learnt, are holding series of secret meetings and consultations outside the party Secretariat on how to integrate the ambition of Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shuaibu into the party’s agenda without inciting negative emotions and bad blood that might truncate the support the party is presently enjoying in Edo states with their expected entrance.

A source close to the party disclosed that the National leadership of the party had advised Obaseki to reach out to the leaders of the party in his state as well as all the governorship aspirants as he will not be handed an automatic ticket.

He said, “the party is excited to welcome Obaseki any time but at the same time, the NWC is very careful and asked the governor to go and meet the aspirants and the party leadership in the state who will then bring him to the NWC.

“One of the teething issues heating up the system is that some party leaders are muting that Hon. Philip Shaibu, the Edo Deputy Governor should be replaced with one of the aspirants, so that old party members will not feel sidelined.

“The suggestion has become a big torn in the party and Obaseki has reached out to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Governor Wike to ensure that Shuaibu is also accommodated by the new arrangement. Obaseki has not hidden the fact that the political strategy and followership his deputy enjoys in Edo must be factored before he steps formally into the party.

“But some governors in the party are working to ensure that the entry of Obaseki does not divide the state chairman and other aspirants who have already procured their forms. The party is threading cautiously to ensure that loyal members of the party do not feel bad if Obaseki is allowed to fly the flag of the party.

“The governor was also further advised to present only his West African School Certificate (WASC) so as to avoid the distraction of legal battle that may arise if he presents same certificates that led to his disqualification by the APC”.

The AUTHORITY further gathered that Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama who is from the same constituency with Obsaki and Engr. Gideon Ikhine have agreed to step down for Obaseki if he is cleared to contest in the PDP.

However, it was also learnt Kenneth Imasuagbon, who recently joined the party from APC, has raised objections over extending an undue advantage to Obaski, saying that he will challenge any attempt by the NWC to handover the party structure to Obaseki or excluding him from the rigours of party primaries.

Meanwhile, there are indications that the PDP primary elections scheduled to hold this Saturday may be postponed to accommodate the registration, purchase of governorship Nomination and Expression of Interest forms and also the screening committee of Obaseki.

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