Abuja and Benin City — Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, yesterday resigned his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The governor who announced his resignation at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, dismissed allegations that his credentials were fake.
Obaseki who met with Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, said he would disclose his new political party soon.
“I have now decided, formally, to resign my membership of the All Progressives Congress. Having done that, I will now announce in the next few days my specific line of action and what platform I will be contesting the gubernatorial election on,” he said.
Obaseki was disqualified by the screening committee of the APC on Friday following discrepancies in his academic results.
Reacting to the statement of the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, that incumbency would not be a factor in the coming election, Obaseki said: “Time will tell. Let us go to the poll and Nigerians will see.”
Speaking on his chances to win the poll, he said, “I’m sure if you’ve scanned the environment, you’ve scanned the media, you’ve scanned social media, the reaction from people across the world, particularly (the people of) Edo at home and in the Diaspora, the support they have for me has been unbelievable. They’ve said to me, ‘wherever you go, we will go.’
Similarly, the deputy governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu has resigned from the APC.
Shaibu, in a letter addressed to the chairman, APC Ward 11, Etsako West Local Government, Edo State, said the resignation was with immediate effect.
Obaseki and his predecessor, Comrade Oshiomhole, have been at loggerheads over the governor’s second term bid and other issues.
Contacted, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa- Onilu, said the party has no record of Obaseki’s resignation.
For his part, the Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Lukman has urged members the APC not to abandon the party because of alleged ‘rascality’ of Oshiomhole.”
Reacting to Obaseki’s resignation, Lukman challenged the NWC to publish APC’s membership register for every state of the country.
Obaseki set to join PDP
Barring any last minute change, Gov. Obaseki will jump ship to the PDP, multiple sources at the party’s secretariat and around the governor have said.
Credible sources in the PDP told Daily Trust yesterday in Abuja that the governor’s fate would be determined by governors elected on the platform of the PDP, stakeholders in the Edo state chapter of the party and other critical stakeholders.
A source hinted Daily Trust yesterday in Abuja that that Governors Nyeson Wike of Rivers State, Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) and Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom) were facilitating Obaseki’s movement to the PDP.
The source said, “I want all stakeholders of the party to understand that Obaseki’s defection would increase the chances of the party winning the 2023 presidential election. His coming is a big plus to PDP. We can’t allow this opportunity to pass us by.”
A member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PDP told our correspondent that the party was willing to prevail on other aspirants to step down for Obaseki.
He said, “If Obaseki joins the PDP, it will be a big plus to the South South and Nigeria. We will not take his coming for granted. His coming shouldn’t cause any problems. We want one voice and not a divided voice.”
Three aspirants have so far obtained their Expression of Interest and Nomination forms for the party’s primary slated for June 23 and 24, 2020. They are Mr. Kenneth Imansuangbon, Mr. Omoregie-Ogbeide Ihama and Mr. Gideon Ikhine.
Mixed reactions in Edo
Meanwhile, our correspondent in Edo reports that mixed reactions have continued to trail the resignation of Obaseki and his deputy.
A resident, Andrew Igbinosa said the resignation of Obaseki was in the right direction.
“The governor has done well for the state but because he is not sharing money to politicians, they don’t want him to come back,” he said.
But another resident of Benin, who simply gave his name as Igbinosa said the resignation of Obaseki was a political miscalculation.
” Obaseki should be blamed for his woes. He should have waited till his second tenure to fight the godfathers,” he said.
Another resident who gave his name as Idemudia, said; ” Obaseki should have just quit politics even if he move to another party, he will not win. Look at what happened in Kogi state during last governorship election.”
A factional Chairman of the APC in Edo State, Aslem Ojezua, said the party had lost an asset in the state with the resignation of Gov. Obaseki from the party.
Ojezua said but “I won’t move with him. As you can see, I still have my mandate as the elected party chairman of APC in Edo which expires by 2020, and I intend to complete that mandate.”
But the Chairman of Oshiomhole’s faction, David Imuse, described the resignation as welcome development and a good riddance to bad rubbish.
The Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Frank Okiye, who said he was not aware of the resignation, noted that the governor had a constitutional right to resign if he chose to.