For Edo Gov. Godwin Obaseki, things are happening fast—less than 24 days to the PDP primary election. His pillar of support and the most powerful among the PDP governors has abandoned him, despite the favourable court judgement that cleared him to contest.
Rivers Gov. Nyesom Wike decided to pull out of the Obaseki project because the party leadership in Edo and south-south are not brought along in the effort to help the governor get the party ticket.
Obaseki just parachuted from the APC into the PDP to join other aspirants who have been parts of the building from the ground up. He won’t have things jell out smoothly for him. Sure.
In the Abuja effort that broke down o Tuesday, the wheelers and dealers of Obaseki’s re-election bid were hard-headed by spurning Wike’s advice—that the six of the state party leaders, including Raymond Dokpesi and others, should not be side-lined by Obaseki who just crashed into the party.
For those leaders, it’s hard to take—that, for being a governor, Obaseki becomes the state party leader, commanding the party structure they have labored to build and stabilize over the years.
Wike also counselled that Obaseki shouldn’t rely alone on him and his counterparts in Akwa Ibom and Delta alone in the south-south PDP governors caucus. Obaseki baulked again.
Up till now, Cross River and Bayelsa governors are not in yet on the Obaseki project.
But Obaseki has basically deafened his ears to the advice.
Which is why it might not be difficult to understand when Omorege Ogbeide-Ihama, an Edo PDP party stalwart and guber aspirant loyal to the Rivers governor, petitioned a high court in Rivers to disqualify Obaseki. He had initially dismissed governor as “a rotten tomato nobody needs in the PDP”.
In response to his first legal battle, the governor fired back at Ogbeide-Ihama as one of the fifth columnists planted by the APC in the PDP—to work against his re-election.
He might have stuck out among the enemies with his legal attack launched at the eleventh hour on the governor; there are more adversaries lying doggo within the party.
Another is one of the three aspirants the PDP already cleared for the Thursday primary election: a party-hopper Kenneth Imasuagbon.
He defected from the APC to the PDP when he lost to Obaseki in 2016.
According to the PDP aspirant, he has been nursing the ambition for the Edo top job for 16 years, and nothing will make him concede defeat without giving his best fight.
In the spoiler game that may fall out from the primary election, many analysts believe Imasuagbon won’t mind joining forces with the APC and his former leader Adams Oshiomhole to rattle Obaseki.
In the struggle, the governor, too, has made a couple of bounces: he has been cleared for election by the PDP NWC and court; Gideon Ikhine, a rival, stepped down for him. Those are something for an inexperienced pol caught up in the rage of the Edo power politics.
How these can tide him over the storm in the next 24 hours, and after, will be miraculous, when majority of the state party leaders and Wike are against him. And time, too.