Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Chairman of the Edo State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Tony Aziegbemi, has dispelled rumours presently making the rounds in the state that Governor Godwin Obaseki has defected to the party, where he is expected to pick the governorship ticket for the governorship election scheduled for September.
Aziegbemi, who spoke in Benin City, however, disclosed that some close associates of the governor have made overtures to the leadership of the party but that Obaseki is yet to personally reach out to him or any member of his executive council.
‘It is true that some close aides of the governor have reached out to the PDP. The governor, however, is yet to personally reach out to us. Our doors are open to Governor Obaseki. He is welcome should he decide to come and join us. The doors of the PDP are wide open,’ the party’s state chairman said.
The PDP chairman would not comment on what would be the fate of Obaseki in the primary of the party which is scheduled for this weekend in Benin, even as the South-South zonal chairman of the party, Chief Emmanuel Ogidi, had insisted on due process should Obaseki defect to the PDP.
The APC Screening Committee citing loopholes in his Higher School Leaving Certificate from the Institute of Continuing Education, Benin, his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificate and for taking the party to court, had disqualified Governor Obaseki and three other governorship aspirants from the governorship race.
Ogidi, the South-South National Vice Chairman of the PDP, during his recent working visit to the state, had insisted that the doors of the party are open to anybody who intended to defect to the party so long as the defector abides by the laws of the party.
‘If Governor Obaseki comes, we will take him. We can’t drive anybody from entering. Our doors are wide open. I am not, however, aware that he has started negotiations with us with a view to defecting. If the governor has seen the light and wants to come to the PDP, he is welcome.
‘We have a procedure. There is going to be primary. The PDP does not award. If you win the primary, you become the candidate,’ he said.