By Dapo Akinrefon
BARRING any last-minute change, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, may grant Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State a waiver to fly the party’s flag in the September 19 governorship election in the state.
Vanguard was also reliably informed that leaders of the party will plead with other aspirants, vying to get the party ticket, to step down for Governor Obaseki.
A top party official, who spoke to Vanguard in confidence, narrated how some top party leaders, including the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, and the National Organising Secretary, Col Austin Akobundu(retd), brokered a deal with Governor Obaseki on the need for him to fly the PDP ticket.
The source, however, disclosed that Secondus, Akobundu and other party leaders are in a dilemma over how to prevail on other aspirants to step down for Obaseki and present him as the PDP candidate.
The party official said: “The moves have been on for a long time and it was in anticipation of the possibility that Adams Oshiomhole may not give Obaseki the ticket.
“The game was only between Secondus and Akobundu and not opened to anybody. As a matter of fact, one of the Screening Committee members confided in me that four aspirants collected the forms, but only three of them were screened.
“The fourth aspirant could not be screened because he is currently holed up outside the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. They conducted a zoom interview to screen him.
“Secondus is now in a dilemma on how to play the joker to give Obaseki the governorship ticket.”
Waiver for Obaseki, like Adeleke
The party official hinted that a waiver may be given to Obaseki just like Senator Ademola Adeleke was given during the Osun PDP governorship primary in 2018.
The official said: “You know Obaseki is ready to pay the right price; he will be given a waiver. Some members of the party may not be disposed to that idea.
“The problem we have now in the PDP is that the party does not give any state financial assistance during elections, except the candidate is financially buoyant, which was the reason Ademola Adeleke was given the ticket in 2018 in Osun.”
Besides, the source hinted, Obaseki may be given the same condition “considering the fact that he is in government and he has the money.”
He also said: “The party may return monies collected from the aspirants and appeal to them to step down because none of the aspirants have the financial wherewithal to prosecute the election.”
On the possibility of some aspirants dumping the PDP if Obaseki is given the waiver, the PDP official said: “APC is already in crisis and it is not an option. So, members will prefer to remain in the PDP.
“It is unfortunate for those who have nursed the governorship ambition to be left out. That is politics. Also, the way the APC is going about it, it may not win the election in Edo State because of the crisis.”
Recall that Obaseki was disqualified, alongside Mathew Iduoriyekemwe and Engineer Chris Ogiemwonyi, from seeking re-election on the APC platform by the screening panel.
The governor, who has been at loggerheads with his estranged godfather and National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, also resigned from the APC and formally joined the PDP in his Ward.