Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State received the blessings of his colleague governors in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) before defecting to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Daily Independent has gathered.
A credible source in the party, who does not want his name in print, said even though the governors never openly declared support for Obaseki’s move, many of them who were sympathetic with him over the manner he was treated “encouraged him to pitch his tent elsewhere since he has been shut out from his own house”.
Obaseki, who has been at loggerheads with his predecessor and then national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, was disqualified from participating in the primaries over issues relating to discrepancies in his certificates on June 12.
Prof. Jonathan Ayuba, chairman of the screening committee, while presenting the report explained that Obaseki was disqualified because the committee could not vouch for the authenticity of the Higher School Certificate he claimed but could not produce.
The governor, who had earlier accused the committee of bias in its conduct vowed not to appeal the outcome. He eventually resigned his membership of APC on June 16 and joined the PDP three days later.
Speaking with our correspondent, our source said all the governors, irrespective of their party differences agreed that Obaseki was unfairly treated and should move if he desires.
He said APC governors, who were part of the peace moves to Lagos where they met Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the party’s national leader in Lagos and Abuja, where they had another meeting with Oshiomhole, felt insulted that their efforts towards restoring peace in the party and securing a soft-landing for their colleague was ignored.
Our source added that after Obaseki’s disqualification the governors who felt it is the people of Edo that should determine whether they wanted him to continue or not, encouraged him to move to PDP, which is the only party that can match APC in all aspects in Edo State.
“It is not as if the governors verbally told him to move to the PDP after he was disqualified but they were empathetic with his course and so they never opposed him when he was negotiating with the PDP.
“I can tell you that almost all the governors, both within and outside the PDP, were aghast at the shabby manner Obaseki was treated in the APC.
“The reality was that irrespective of their political differences, the governors are one under the Nigerian Governors’ Forum. They also believe that an injustice to one is an injustice to all.
“They are of the view that it was Ambode yesterday, Obaseki today and it may be their turn tomorrow. They believe that the whip that was used for the first wife is kept in the closet waiting to be used for the second wife. They also felt a need to address the growing trend where any governor who is at loggerheads with someone can just be blocked in Abuja from contesting.
“I believe that was why the APC governors, even those loyal to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, were unanimous in their decision at the NEC meeting that the disqualification of Obaseki was an impunity taken too far and that was why they agreed that the NWC led by Oshiomhole should go”.
Another source in the party said it is no longer a secret in the top echelon of the party that some APC governors backed Obaseki’s move to PDP.
He said some of the APC governors, in the spirit of solidarity, also appealed to their colleagues in PDP to do everything they can in ensuring Obaseki gets the PDP ticket.
“The truth is that even the president was aware. It was not a secret in APC. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and others know the anti-Oshiomhole forces that encouraged Governor Godwin Obaseki to seek the PDP ticket. The APC governors even went to the extent of talking to their PDP counterparts to assist in securing the ticket for Obaseki”.