The main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is taking advantage of the crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Edo State chapter, to lure incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki to its fold, a National Working Committee, NWC, a member revealed this yesterday.
Obaseki is currently locked in a battle of supremacy with his predecessor and APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, with their once-robust relationship now hitting an all-time low.
In a swift reaction, Spokesman to Governor Obaseki, Crusoe Osagie, said it was not true, noting that the former President only visited the governor out of protocol to inform him that he was visiting the state.
According to Osagie, former President Goodluck Jonathan was in Edo State to thank Chief Gabriel Igbenedion for the Doctorate Degree awarded to him by the Okada University.
However, in a chat, the PDP NWC member, who did not want to be named said the leadership of the party has weighed its options and resolved that having Obaseki run for the September 19, 2020, governorship election on its platform “would be a good thing for the PDP considering the governor’s popularity among his people.”
Although, PDP would easily reactivate other options in the event that Obaseki chooses to stay in APC, source said the governor would brighten his chances of winning a second term in office by contesting on its platform.
He also claimed that Sunday’s visit to the governor by Jonathan was a strong message to the governor by PDP to “strike while the sun shines.”
He said “As a political party, we are interested in deepening our democracy through constructive engagement with like minds. It will be wrong to think that everyone in APC is a bad person. No. The governor has done well and having him run on out ticket is something we have talked about and we are still talking about it.
“Nobody is proud of what is happening in Edo state today. Do not forget that until Oshiomhole came into the scene, Edo was one of the traditional strongholds of the PDP. We are working to take over all these states including Edo through democratic means, not like the other party which has elevated thuggery and election manipulation to new heights.
“Yes, former President is not happy with the state of affairs in the country today. By conceding defeat in 2015, his expectation and that of many Nigerians was that the legacies he left behind would be nurtured and sustained. That has not happened. He was in Edo to rub minds with the governor.”
Asked if the visit was at the instance of the NWC, the PDP chieftain said contrary to the insinuations making the rounds that the former President did not command the respect of the party’s top hierarchy, the reverse was the case.
He said: “He (Jonathan) is a big ambassador of the PDP. Wherever he is, he projects the image of the party in positive light. His meeting with Governor Obaseki is a strategy by the party than can be explained in many ways. The PDP is pleased that the former President did what he did (visit to Government House) because within its fold, there is no bigger ambassador than Jonathan, being an erstwhile President.”