GOVERNOR Godwin Obaseki has suffered a major setback in his bid to return to office in September after a Port Harcourt high court restrained him from participating in the primary elections of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to which he defected last week.
In what has been a tumultuous week for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Obaseki resigned from the party after his application to stand for a second term as the party’s gubernatorial elections due in September was rejected. He and party chairman Adams Oshiomhole have been involved in a bitter spat over recent years, resulting in the party’s screening committee rejecting his application, saying his academic credentials were not in order.
Last Friday, Governor Obaseki formally joined the main opposition the PDP just under a week after leaving the ruling APC, at a brief ceremony in Benin City. He was subsequently granted a waiver by the PDP’s national working committee (NWC) to stand in its Edo State gubernatorial primary elections.
Yesterday, however, he suffered a major setback after a suit was instituted by an aspirant Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihiama, asking the court to stop the governor from participating in the polls. Mr Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama argued that since Governor Obaseki was not part of the candidates screened by the PDP NWC before the date on the timetable lapsed, he should not be allowed to participate in the primaries.
After listening to his argument, the Port Harcourt court, presided over by Hon Justice E A Obile, granted Mr Ogbeide-Ihama’s prayer. Governor Obaseki is expected to appeal the judgement to allow him to stand in the elections slated for September 19 so he can square up against the former secretary to the Edo State government Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who clinched the APC ticket yesterday.