The embattled Edo State All Peoples’ Progressive Congress Governor, Godwin Obaseki has officially resigned from the party after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Villa on Tuesday.
Edo political gladiators.
ur Political Correspondent said the fate of Obaseki may have been sealed by his party as National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole announced from the same Villa Monday night that Obaseki’s disqualification from the race for the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket is final,
Oshiomhole spoke after leading NWC members to a meeting with Chief of Staff to the President Prof Ibrahim Gambari and allayed the fears that the party might lose Edo State to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) if Obaseki defects to the rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and gets its governorship ticket.
Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) Chairman and Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu joined the NWC members at the meeting. The NWC members in the team are: National Vice Chairman (Northwest) Inuwa Abdulkadir; National Treasurer Adamu Panda; National Welfare Officer Ibrahim Masari; and National Publicity Secretary Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu.
Speaking on the possibility of the APC losing Edo State to the PDP in a situation reminiscent of the Benue experience, Oshiomhole said incumbency alone was not enough to give victory in an election, pointing out the fact that the peculiar political sentiments of Edo State would determine the winner.
“All those who defected with Saraki lost. Those who did not defect – Bauchi, Adamawa sitting governors – lost. Even Governor Kayode Fayemi, as a sitting governor, was defeated by Fayose, so there’s no evidence that being a sitting governor guarantees you victory, it all depends on the local sentiments in the state.
“I think we need to get away from this fixation. Whether in America, Britain or in Nigeria, there are plethora of cases where sitting governors lost, sitting senators lost, sitting reps lost. There’s no guarantee that if you field somebody because he has incumbency you’ll win. Incumbency also has its liability, depending on the sentiment of the people of the state.”
“So, we are doing everything possible, having completed the issue of screening and we have upheld the result of the screening committee, we are proceeding now to conduct the primaries, God willing, on the 22nd of June in Edo State.
“One person appealed his disqualification and he had ample opportunity to approach the Appeal Committee and even with the benefit of coming with his lawyer because this time, because of what happened in Bayelsa, we have decided that we have to be very strict.
“There are always two issues that lead to disqualification after elections, as you saw in Bayelsa, we won the election, but for technical reasons, we lost it at the Supreme Court.
“We have decided we should look at the composition of the committee, we have very senior lawyers, professors of law, we have various professors who should be familiar with the issues of certificate, because those are always the booby traps; whether there are impunities or contradictions or forged documents.
“Then we have lawyers who have handled election tribunal, they know the issues that people can raise, once you have filed your nomination because the courts have said INEC cannot screen candidates, the power to screen candidates, is exclusively part of the party.
“So, if the party mismanaged the process and they produce someone who has a fake certificate or multiple age or issues of spelling, those lawyers know what can lead to disqualification.
“So, we have confidence in the report they gave us, but in line with our democratic practice and as stated in our constitution, they also had an opportunity to make an appeal and that opportunity was provided. One of them took advantage of it, unfortunately he wasn’t successful. The appeal panel still reaffirmed the findings of the lower panel.
“We are getting ready for the primary on the 22nd and we pray that God will preside over the exercise, it will be free, fair and transparent and we’ll have a candidate that can unite the party in the state.”
There have been speculations that Godwin Obaseki will formerly declare for the PDP on Monday but he still has the issue of being accepted as their gubernatorial candidate as the lobbying has not been completed.
He has been shuttling to meet with PDP Governors and top shots to have a safe landing.
Oshiomhole was the godfather who secured the Governors’ seat for Obaseki in 2016 until they fell apart and started fighting dirty along with their supporters.