Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State is expected to dump the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) today for the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – the dominant party in the South-South geo-political zone.
As a prelude to the defection, Obaseki spent much of yesterday (Sunday, June 14) consulting PDP governors in the South-South. He was in Port Harcourt to see Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers before undertaking similar visits to Akwa Ibom to see Governor Udom Emmanuel and Bayelsa to rub minds with Governor Douye Diri. It was not clear last night if Obaseki also visited his friend, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of neighbouring Delta State.
The meetings, coming on the heels of Obaseki’s controversial disqualification from contesting the upcoming Edo governorship election on the platform of APC served two purposes: To personally brief the governors and seek their support to run with his deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu, on PDP platform. Edo PDP governorship aspirants are said to have been insisting that he should run with one of them but Obaseki prefers to stick with his loyal deputy, Shaibu, who also brings a lot of value to the table as a popular labour leader.
APC has already approved its screening and appeal committees’ reports which disqualified Obaseki and two others from participating in the June 22 governorship primaries in Edo.
The party’s National Working Committee (NWC), led by its National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, announced Obaseki’s disqualification on June 13 at a news conference in Abuja.
Oshiomhole said the NWC, which reviewed the two reports, noted with satisfaction that members of the committees were unanimous in their decisions.
The appeal panel, headed by Prof. Abubakar Fari also upheld the outcome of the screening committee, while presenting the report to Oshiomhole at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja.
The Independent National Electoral Commission has slated September 19 for the governorship poll in Edo. The state was ruled by PDP until Oshiomhole broke the run and successfully finished his two terms, after which he handed over to his now-estranged political godson, Obaseki.