Edo 2024: Can PDP, Obaseki survive without Shaibu, Legacy Group?

Edo 2024: Can PDP, Obaseki survive without Shaibu, Legacy Group?

Sunday, April 14, 2024 8:25 am

Gov Godwin Obaseki

Gov Godwin Obaseki

By Jethro Ibileke

The 21 September governorship election in Edo State is crucial for the three major contending political parties, namely, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; the All Progressives Congress, APC and the Labour Party, LP. While the state Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, and his party, the PDP, will want to consolidate their hold on the reigns of power, the APC will want to reclaim the state from the PDP, even as the Labour Party will want to improve on their exploits during last year’s national elections.

With the backing of the power at the central, the state chapter of APC is prepared to do whatever it will take to reclaim Edo. More so, the power of the federal might could not be easily wished away. On the other hand, Governor Obaseki will want to see his project ‘power must shift to Edo central’ to fruition, with the emergence of his anointed candidate, Barr. Asue Ighodalo, being sworn in as his successor, come 12 November. But the million naira question is can Obaseki, and, by extension, the PDP survive without the Legacy Group, a faction of the party in the state, led by the national vice chairman (South-South) of the party, Chief Dan Orbih. Again, what possible effect could the impeachment of the former deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, have on the outcome of the election?

It is a known fact that anyone seeking election on the platform of the PDP in Edo must seek the face of members of the Legacy Group. Whoever ignores them does that at his or her peril. Governor Obaseki should not forget in a hurry the terrible defeat he and his PDP suffered at Edo Central during the last national assembly elections.

The Governor had insisted on fielding his preferred candidate, Clifford Ordia, as against the one projected by the group, Monday Okpebholo. Following the latter’s defection to the APC, he was handed the senatorial ticket. It is generally believed that the group gave its support to the APC candidate, and the rest is history. Today, Okpebholo is the Senator representing Edo Central and the gubernatorial candidate of his party. It therefore would be foolhardy to go into the governorship election without recourse to what they can do.

True to pundits’ projection, the Edo South PDP Legacy Group at a stakeholders’ meeting last Thursday, fired the first salvo at Obaseki. The Group which insisted that it remained the aborigine PDP in the state, noted that none of the promises Governor Obaseki made to them when he came came cap-in-hand begging for the governorship ticket of the party in 2020 when he was chased out of the APC, has been fulfilled.

Those present at the meeting include a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, former Senator Roland Owie, Mr. Nosa Ogieva-Okunbor, Mr. Nosa Adams, and a host of others.

They warned that they would no longer fold their hands and allow Obaseki to short-change them the way he did in 2020 when he appointed the Deputy Governor, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), and the Chief of Staff (CoS) from the group which followed him from the APC to the PDP. They added that Obaseki had not demonstrated gratitude for what the Group did to help him in 2020 as he had cornered all offices without conceding one to them. Again, Obaseki has single-handedly appointed a replacement for the impeached deputy governor without their put, just as the state chapter of the party and its candidate for the governorship election, Asue Ighodalo appointed a running mate without recourse to the Legacy group.

Addressing the crowd, Ogbeide-Ihama traced how in June 2020, he was prevailed upon by the leaders of the district from across all strata of life to step down from his governorship ambition to save the governor from political disgrace and personal humiliation when he was disqualified by the APC.

He said: “You were all there at the stadium when in June 2020, I was prevailed upon to step down from the governorship race and save Governor Obaseki from political and public disgrace. I listened to the elders that the governor should be allowed to complete his second term. I stepped down and played my role by taking Obaseki around the stadium. One Naira I did not take. One Naira the governor did not offer. Maybe if he had paid billions, he would not have treated us like this.

During the election, I was his party agent. I slept at the collation centre and when the result was out, I took it to him personally. I protected the ticket I freely gave to him. Everything he said he would do, none has he done.

“I have refused to say anything since 2020. I told our leaders and they said that the governor doesn’t listen to anyone. He has not kept to any single agreement as he took all the positions: governor, deputy governor, SSG, and Chief of Staff. In 2024 again, he has taken the governorship and the deputy governorship. Did we escort him to politics?” Ogbeide-Ihama asked.

The former governorship aspirant, while stressing that “as aboriginal PDP, the Legacy group remains in the PDP, what we are saying is that we will not be part of anybody who wants to destroy the house we built.”

“Our mum don do. Agreed that we made a mistake in the past, let him do it and go. But he went to Lagos to go and bring his friend. He took the governor he took the deputy and we are asking, what is our own? We are the owners of the house and we are not stupid.

“We will give him time to do what is right. We will not leave the PDP. We will be in our various polling units on election day and that is why we are asking the governor to come now, talk to us, and tell us what is in it for us as the aborigine PDP. We will not allow the same thing to repeat itself. Enough is enough”, Ogbeide-Ihama asserted.

He added that whatever the governor decided to do would determine the next step the group would take, reiterating, “The governor still has the time to reach out to us now before it is too late.”

Indeed, half a word, they say, is enough for the wise. The Legacy Group has spoken!

Philip Shaibu

Through to its threat, the State House of Assembly early last week impeached the then deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, who himself was a governorship aspirant of the PDP. But, the question is whether or not his impeachment will have an impact on the outcome of the 21 September governorship election for PDP.

For sure, Shaibu is not just a grassroots politician, having been a two-time State Assembly member, a member of the House of Representatives, and a deputy governor for a period spanning over 17 years. It is also no secret that he played a significant role in the triumph of Governor Obaseki during his supremacy battle with his erstwhile godfather, Senator Adams Oshiomhole, as well as his reelection under the PDP in 2020 when he was pushed out of the APC.

Even while he is yet to announce his next political move, To many, Philip Shaibu is more like a half-dead cobra that could be more dangerous than when it is alive. He could either choose to leave the PDP, team up with the opposition, or remain in the party and yet, play the spoiler role, to deal a blow to the PDP governorship project.

The solidarity visit to the Abuja residence of Philip Shaibu by the acting chairman

of the APC in Edo, Emperor Jaret Tenebe, during the Easter celebration, is another thing to worry about. Tenebe who is a kinsman of the former deputy governor, visited him less than 24 hours after he was impeached. He assured his brother that he would not be allowed to walk alone.

Tenebe who urged Shaibu to be strong and continue to pursue his case in the law court, reminded him that when one door shuts another opens. According to him, “I am here to pay you this solidarity visit because I still regard you as the deputy governor of Edo State because that sham they did in the Edo State House of Assembly is a disgrace to the governor and it is an aberration to our democracy. I know that the court will not allow it to stand.

“You are somebody who stood out. The price you paid is the price of loyalty, you were loyal even to the detriment of the people you started with, and you paid that price. We just celebrated Easter and we know the price Jesus Christ paid. He died for our sins, what has happened is a replica of what Jesus Christ did for humanity.

“Today, they have removed you as the deputy governor but we still regard you as the deputy governor, it is the price that you have paid to ensure that Obaseki and his semblance are rooted out of Edo State, and I can tell you that we will not allow you walk alone, we are with you in spirit.

“You are a strong man, and I am here as the chairman of APC in Edo State, and an Uzairue indigene, we both come from the same place. We should be strong, and I implore you to continue to pursue this matter in court we will be with you all through and God is your strength. When one door is closed many more are opened, and many are opened for you from today. That is what the detractors don’t know, be strong and we will match on together,” Tenebe told Shaibu.

Indeed, when one door closes, another will surely open. We will wait patiently to see which door opens next to Shaibu. All these put together, we wait to see how things turn out for the PDP and Governor Obaseki, as we approach the crucial governorship election.


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