GOVERNOR Godwin Obaseki is all set to be declared as the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming Edo State elections after he picked up a membership card and got the backing of the party’s presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Yesterday, Governor Obaseki was disqualified from standing as a candidate in the primaries of his All Progressives Congress (APC) due to take place on June 22. With the Edo State gubernatorial elections due in September this year, Governor Obaseki and his predecessor, APC chairman Adams Oshiomhole have been involved in a bitter spat over who controls the party in the state.
Things boiled over yesterday when the APC announced that Governor Obaseki and two other candidates were barred from standing in the June 22 primaries. Governor Obaseki was seeking to run for a second term, while Mr Oshiomhole threw his weight behind challenger Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a former secretary to the Edo State government.
Following his disqualification, Governor Obaseki refused to appeal the decision but opted to collect a PDP party membership card in Oredo Local Government Area of the state. Apparently, he has moved to the PDP along with all the 18 local government chairmen in Edo State together with 12 lawmakers in the Edo State House of Assembly.
In a further dramatic twist, former vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the PDP’s presidential candidate in the 2019 elections has thrown his weight behind Governor Obaseki. Yesterday, Alhaji Abubakar contacted Governor Obaseki and asked him to stand as the PDP gubernatorial candidate in September.
Although the PDP constitution requires any member of the party seeking elective position under its platform to at least be registered for 18 months, it gives room for a waiver. Alhaji Abubakar also spoke to some of the PDP governors and urged them to give Governor Obaseki a soft landing and access to the party.