PDP Primary: Why Ogbeide-Ihama Wants to Scuttle Obaseki’s Chances

0

Nseobong Okon-Ekong

Fressh facts have emerged on why the House of Representatives member representing Oredo Federal Constituency and a leading contestant for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship ticket in Edo State, Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, initiated legal proceedings to halt Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State from contesting the party’s governorship primary.

A very reliable source close to the Ogbeide-Ihama’s camp who wished to remain anonymous, told THISDAY that the federal lawmaker went to court a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt in frustration after efforts made by him and another top contender for the Edo PDP governorship ticket, Mr. Kenneth Imasuagbon to broker a deal with Obaseki were rebuffed.

Accusing fingers for the failed attempt for a meeting with Obaseki were pointed in the direction of Senator Mathew Urhoghide, the senator representing Edo South. He was accused of thwarting all efforts by Ogbeide-Ihama and Imasuagbon to meet with Obaseki.

“Urhoghide believes he does not need key PDP stakeholders in Edo who have been keeping the party alive and did not allow it to die a natural death, when the All Progressives Congress (APC) became the ruling party in the state. These are the men who funded the machinery of the party in the state and kept it afloat. It is unfair for Urhoghide to think that he can close a deal as important as who flies the party’s governorship flag without involving these men, just because he has access to officials at the National Secretariat of the PDP.”

He said further, “The election is not going to be held in Abuja. It will be held in Edo. Even if Obaseki is going to become the party’s governorship candidate, those who held the party together until he arrived should be involved in the negotiations and carried along.”

A member of the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC) and National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan declined comments when asked if the party will deploy ‘political solution’ to resolve the Edo quagmire.

The rescheduled Edo PDP governorship primary holds on Thursday, June 25.

Reacting to the accusation in a telephone conversation with THISDAY, Urhoghide said it was laughable that such unwholesome charges would be levelled against him.

He explained, “in the 12 years that the PDP has been in opposition in the state, there is a clamour to win Edo State back. If we are able to get a big fish like the governor to join the party, why should someone seek to exclude him from the primary? There has been a precedence where governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Samuel Ortom of Benue were in the APC before they switched political camp to the PDP. No one said they could not run. “If those who administer the party in the national headquarters welcome Obaseki who are we to distance him? Ogbeide-Ihama and Imasuagbon are junior to me, with due respect to them.

I have not spoken to them to drop their ambition. They are entitled to it. No one has tried to muscle them out of the race; so, why should anyone try to stop Obaseki from contesting? What I understand is that the court has not said we can’t go ahead with our primaries. Of course, everyone who bought a nomination form is in the race. They are the only ones who understand what they mean by the ones who held the party together. I have been in this party longer than either of them. I have held a federal appointment and now I am a senator. Why did I not contest the governorship ticket myself? I know that we want more people in the party and the governor is joining with a lot of people. Did they think the ragtag army we had as PDP could win an election? I think friends are just misguided with this action of theirs.”