Interview

How unresolved crisis in Edo PDP threatens to tear party apart

Obaseki, Shaibu may be heading for collision

September 19, 2020, was a remarkable day for the people of Edo State. Remarkable in the sense that it was a day Edo people came out in their millions to decide the political future of the state, it was a day the old, the young, men, women, traders, drivers, civil servants, the poor the rich even the crippled came out to rescue Godwin Enoghaghese Obaseki from being a political orphan. A day where godfatherism came to an end in Edo politics, and finally a day that saw the end of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s political dynasty and dominance in the state politics. It was a day the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) regained power after 12 years of in political wilderness.

However, since Governor Obaseki was sworn in for the second term, there has been rancour, discord, disunity, infighting, mistrust in the PDPled government. It is interesting to note that today that romance that existed among the leaders of the party and the governor during the fight to muscle out All Progressives Congress has since gone sour.

It is no longer news that heavyweights in the party have been pushed to the corner. The division in the PDP is getting messier each day and there seems to be no end to it. Today there is new PDP and old PDP, those that defected with Obaseki are regarded as new PDP why the original owners of the party are called old PDP. There is high degree of bitterness among top members of the party.

The relationship between the governor and his loyalists is being threatened as people have abandoned him, they have decided to leave him to his fate, waiting for 2024 as payback time. On September 19, 2021, it will be one year since Obaseki came in for a second term in office, yet his cabinet has not be constituted, no appointments of any kind, no local government election, no inauguration of boards no projects etc.

In fairness to the Governor, he means well for the people of Edo but PDP is his albatross. With regard to performance, he has done well; he has been able to post some modest achievements within his last four years. Most of his critics are people who no longer find favour with those in power and in the distribution of democratic dividends. They believe rightly or wrongly that they ought to be carried along despite their misdemeanors politically. As long as the crisis lingers, it may be difficult for Obaseki to achieve his second term goals.

Recently the Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, denied rumours making the round that his relationship with his boss is getting sour, and that he has no plans to dump the PDP. But no one needs a Prophet to tell Edo people that things are no longer what they used to be. Some party men who spoke to our reporter on the present political situation in Edo are very bitter with the ‘Wake and See’ Governor. They have now given him another name ‘Wake and destroy’ because of what they describe as his penchant for political vendetta. A youth leader in Egor Edo South (name withheld) who fought his APC boss because of Obaseki said: “I’m very angry with this governor. He should just finish his remaining three years and pack his load and go.

I’m pained in my mind that I have to betray my own APC leader that brought me into politics, made me somebody to work for Obaseki and Shaibu that have chase away from the system. Just two days ago, my brother went to a vaccination centre to make inquiries, could you believe that they were demanding N30,000 cash from him to give him the green card without vaccination. My brother needs it because he is making plans to travel out of the country. Just imagine. Is that the way it should be. We the politicians are not happy with the Governor, we are waiting for them.” Another PDP chieftain Charles Idahosa also gave his views on the crisis bedeviling the ruling party.

“It worries me but the law does not say when the governor must form a cabinet. I think the law gives the governors and the president the room at their own time. We are not happy; I must make that very clear to you. This month is making it a year but you see Obaseki cannot be like Lucky Igbinedion, Lucky Igbinedion cannot be like Adams Oshiomhole; each governor comes with their own style but the governor will give you reasons,” I dahosa said.

He added: “As I am talking to you there is another committee set up by the party but the governor has just finished moving round the 18 local government areas but my thinking is that maybe he is taking advantage of that to save more funds because he is more concerned about having funds to turn Edo State to an Eldorado and as far as I am concerned, only one person cannot do that. He has a very big dream. A lot of our people are not happy but the truth of the matter is that there is no law that any person can use to hold him.

“The problem we have in this state and this country is that we have very weak leadership, people don’t tell the truth. A man comes to you on a Mon-day and says: ‘Please help me, I want to be a governor.’ But when he becomes governor suddenly the leadership will now become enslaved to him because of personal gains.” “A woman leader, Haija Amina Shukurat, in Edo North has this to say: “Personally I’m regretting defecting with Obaseki, he has abandoned us. We worked for him with everything in us during the election, but today we are like orphans.

He has succeeded in chasing everybody away. We are just sitting on the fence and watching the situation. We know he has nothing to lose again, but a day of reckoning will come when we will teach him and his cohorts a lesson. That time he will know that Edo politicians are wicked”. However, Hon. Anthony Ogbezuwa, former House leader in Orhionmwon Local Government Council has this to say: “For me I’m very comfortable with our Governor and his leadership style.

Obaseki is a God sent to us, nobody can be 100 per cent good. Edo people are very strong people, there is no way he can reach 192 wards in the state, we need to be patient with him as he has done well and Edo people should support him. “Governor Obaseki is the leader of the party, his decisions on matters should be final. Yes people are asking why he has not appointed commissioners and advisers, I think he is working towards that, he has set up committees to screen nominated people. So very soon that issue will be lay to rest.”

Similarly, a member House of Assembly representing Igueben Constituency Hon. Ephraim Otaigbe Aluebhosele said: “There is nothing like crisis in our great party, the Governor is doing his best to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people that elected him. There is nothing like old or new PDP, the PDP is one, and we are all working for one purpose that is to lead Edo State to the promise land. There is good working relationship between the Governor and the legislative arm of government. People are just trying to discredit the Governor.”

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