Edo 2020: How Obaseki convinced PDP about Shuaibu as running mate
By Anendah Samuel
Following the long deliberations between Governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki, and the national leadership of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) on modalities for his formal defection into the main opposition party, it appears the governor has been given the right of way.
Obaseki had been locked in a series of discussions with the top level members of the PDP, including Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state and the Prince Uche Secondus led National Working Committee, NWC, following his resignation from the ruling All Progressive Congress, (APC).
The meeting was centered around Obaseki getting a waiver that would facilitate his chances of picking the party’s governorship ticket, with Obaseki angling to have his loyal Deputy, Hon. Philip Shaibu as his running mate again in the forthcoming governorship election slated for September 19th.
With his membership of the PDP and emerging as the standard bearer of the PDP almost a done deal, the major bone of contention became the issue of his running mate. While the Edo state chapter of the party was said to be unwilling to grant all Obaseki’s demands, some factors however, swayed it for the governor.
OBASEKI AND SHAIBU, UNBREAKABLE PAIR.
Usually when a party is in crisis, the governor is on one side, while the Deputy is on another.There are cases all over the country that buttress this assertion. But that isn’t the case with Obaseki and his deputy. They have an unbelievable bond between them and it appears nobody can separate the duo, not even defection or the spoils of office. Both politicians look out for each other. More like a bromance, what is usually absent among Nigerian politicians, especially between a governor and Deputy. The only known relationship of such in recent times anywhere around the globe, was the cozy relationship that Barack Obama had with his vice president, Joe Biden when they were both in the White House. Obaseki was able to push for the case of Honourable Shaibu to the PDP leadership and they had no choice but to listen to him.
PHILIP SHAIBU, A GRASSROOTS POLITICIAN, UNLIKE OBASEKI.
Godwin Obaseki knew his obvious weakness as a governor. While he packs a lot as a technocrat extraordinare, Shaibu fills the gap of his lack of political acumen especially at the grassroots level. Shaibu is seen as a grassroots politician and he could rally the foot soldiers to ensure victory during the governorship polls.
Recall that Shaibu represented Etsako West in the state House of Assembly, while Adams Oshiomhole is from Iyamho, one of the towns in Etsako West. With Shaibu on the ticket, he could challenge the erstwhile national chairman for the votes in Edo North, since he is also a rally figure in the Senatorial District. And the PDP leaders bought into this.
THE MONEY FACTOR.
On the choice of adopting Governor Godwin Obaseki as the flag bearer, it was learnt that, the governors of the PDP weighed the financial capacity of PDP governorship aspirants and felt Obaseki would be the best candidate to face the APC onslaught. Running a governorship election can be financially tasking, especially when you are up against the financial power of the APC coming from Abuja.
So, with the realization that there won’t be enough money within the Edo state PDP, having not been in government for over a decade, the party had no choice but to give a nod to Obaseki. So, when the governor insisted on a ticket with Shaibu, it was no longer enough to scuttle the progress earlier made during the series of meetings.
As it appears, Obaseki–Shaibu ticket on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP is done and dusted.