News about the defection of Edo state’s Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and members of his cabinet from the All Progressive Congress (APC) to rival party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has finally been confirmed.
In a statement on Monday, June 15, 2020, the chairman of PDP in Edo state, Tony Aziegbemi, stated that “the governor, his deputy and the entire All Progressive Party (APC) structure in the state will be joining the PDP soon.” He added that confirmation would be made as soon as the defecting crew joins the party.
The PDP chairperson, however, clarified that there was no automatic ticket for Governor Obaseki as the party would follow through with its laid down constitution. Although Obaseki has been reported to have obtained a PDP membership form in ward 4, Oredo local government area, Aziegbemi claims ignorance of it. The PDP has fixed its governorship primary for June 19th and 20th of June.
Meanwhile, the screening committee of the APC, in Abuja, recently disqualified Mr Obaseki and two others from participating in the party’s governorship primary which is to hold on 22 of June. This means that he will not be coming back to contest as the Governor of Edo state during the next gubernatorial elections under the APC, unless he gets a ticket from another party.
Consequently, there have been reactions to the new development within the PDP as one of its governorship aspirants, Ken Imasuagbon, said he would resist any attempt to hand over the party’s ticket to Obaseki ahead of the state gubernatorial elections. According to the gubernatorial aspirant, “any attempt to manipulate the party’s primary would be met with serious resistance; there will be no PDP primary or whatever if the party’s leadership tries it.”
In a statement to the press, Imasuagbon welcomed the governor to the party but maintained that the governor must subject himself to the party’s primary and queue up with the other aspirants if he wishes to join.
APC in Edo state torn between two factions.
The APC chapter in Edo state is torn between two factions. One faction, loyal to the APC National Chairman and Obaseki’s predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole. Another faction loyal to the incumbent governor and led by the party chairman of Edo state, Anselm Ojezua.
The relationship between Obaseki and Oshiomhole has been troubled for a long period. This could have led to his disqualification as Oshiomhole joined some social media users to cast doubt over the authenticity of his mentee-turned-rival first-degree certificate obtained from the University of Ibadan. He also challenged Nigerians to approach the institution to get clarity.