Says only court can decide fate of 14 lawmakers-elect
By Chuks Okocha
The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and his Deputy, Hon. Philip Shaibu, yesterday visited the members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to commend it for giving them the ticket to contest the state governorship election when his former party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), denied him the ticket to contest on its platform.
This is coming as the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, also advised Obaseki to unite the party in Edo State now that politics is over, charging him to also deliver all his electioneering promises.
The governor also described the members of the state House of Assembly who are yet to be sworn as dissidents, whose fate lies in the court to decide.
Speaking on the purpose of his visit, Obaseki said: “I am here to thank the PDP for giving me ticket when I was denied ticket by the APC
“The purpose is simple. We are here to say thank you. In our place, they say it is only the grateful person that expects more favours to be done to him. For us as a people, we do not forget where we are coming from easily. We are a people of history and a people of culture.
“When we sit down today to savour the victory and glory which God has given us, we cannot forget how it all started; that it was in this same place that you did all you could to admit me into the party after I had been disqualified from the other party.
“You helped smoothen our entrance into PDP; you cleared us in record time so that we could participate in the primaries of the party. You help us navigate through the whole process in which the other aspirants stepped down for me to allow me contest as the standard bearer for the party.
“What is significant for Nigerians to note is that all of this happened within the 90 day-time frame. It is a record. It shows that you have men and women who are competent, professional, experienced and who mean well and understand what party administration is all about, to be able to put all these together in a national party without the kind of rancour we would have ordinarily expected.”
The governor explained that the support given to him and his deputy when they started campaigning was great.
He stated: “Our campaigns were different because nobody in our political history had to campaign on the kind of era that we are in today. Some people will like to take this for granted. How could you even organise a kick-off rally with COVID-19? You advised and supported us, and you showed Nigerians how to cope politically in a pandemic era.
“Working with your advice and strategy, we under took a ward-to-ward campaign, and I thank God that we did that because it was only then that we realised the spread of PDP in Edo State. Every hamlet, every community we went to there were vestiges of PDP in which we could build in something on.
“As if that was not enough, in the election itself, the preparations and what transpired on September 19, as well as the ability to mobilise the governors, for the first time in my political career, I felt I was in a political family. All of you are witnesses to what happened, the backing, the support, the doggedness which was displayed by our great party on September 19. It is all history now, but it is important that we do not forget what transpired.
“Our gratitude will be better expressed by staying loyal, hardworking and by rebuilding and making sure that as long as God permits, PDP will remain the party in control in Edo State and the whole of the South-south.”
When asked to comment on those members-elect that are to be sworn in, the governor said: “We have a dissident group that people elected and refused to be inaugurated, even when they were not prevented. They were listening to their godfather who kept hoping and promising that he would unconstitutionally get the state House of Assembly to reissue a proclamation even after the court had settled the matter.
In his response, the national chairman of PDP said: “Your Excellency, my advice to you is that the election is over, and the expectations are very high. You must now display the experience you came with from the private sector. In the political world, you now have ability to lead everyone together especially in this your last tenure.
“It is important to make sure that there are three arms of government-the executive which you head, even though you are the overall boss, make sure that the legislative arm, those who have offended you, who ran helter-skelter, are brought back. They are your children. You are the father of Edo State, bring them on board and work with all of them because that will be your legacy.
“It is not money or any other thing else but your ability to bring everybody on board to work with you, and I am quite sure that the Edo people are ready to work with you, and even those from the other party, who are willing to come, let them come.”
Also in his vote of thanks, the National Secretary of PDP, Senator Umar Tsuari, tasked the governor to ensure that the APC running mate at the September 19 governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, is returned back to the PDP.