…NEC to meet over Edo gov
Alleged moves by the national leadership of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party to grant waiver and hand over the governorship ticket to the embattled Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, to fly its flag in the September 19 gubernatorial election in his state is currently generating crisis in the party.
Ruling All Progressives Congress, last Friday, disqualified Governor Obaseki from contesting the party’s primary election scheduled for June 22.
Already, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, has confirmed that Governor Obaseki is set to defect to the PDP.
According to him, “The PDP is in talks with Obaseki and he is in talks with the PDP. Contacts are on between the PDP and Obaseki.
“But the PDP is a party of processes. So, whatever the processes required, the party will abide by it. Our doors are open to all Nigerians. We will not stop Nigerians from joining us, as far as they can abide by our rules.”
Also, First News gathered that Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has been given the responsibility of bringing the embattled Edo governor into the party.
It was further learnt that Obaseki will join PDP before the June 27, 2020 deadline issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission for submission of names of candidates by political parties.
He added that while the PDP Constitution stipulates that a new member of the party must last for three months before qualifying to contest any election, the National Executive Committee, which is the second-highest decision making organ of the party, has the authority to grant waiver to such a member.
“The PDP NEC can meet and grant waiver to any new member to contest an election. And that is what the party plans to do in case of Obaseki. And that will be done before the deadline for the submission of names of candidates by political parties,” a party chieftain said.
The National Working Committee, it was learnt, would soon hold an emergency National Executive Committee meeting to grant a waiver to Obaseki to contest the party’s ticket. No date has been fixed for the meeting.
First News, however, gathered that the development is now causing serious trouble within the PDP as some of the aspirants, who have already obtained their expression of interest and nomination forms at the PDP National Secretariat, are grumbling.
Some of the PDP aspirants, it was learnt, had vowed not to step down for Obaseki to have the party’s governorship ticket.
On Sunday, Obaseki met behind closed doors with Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, at the Government House , Port Harcourt. The meeting, it was gathered was to perfect Obaseki’s defection to PDP.
Meanwhile, APC governors under the aegis of Progressive Governors’ Forum, have been silent on the disqualification of their colleague, Governor Obaseki.
The governors at the end of an emergency teleconference meeting on Saturday, unanimously reaffirmed their commitment to work for the unity of the APC.
In a terse statement by their Chairman/ Kebbi Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, the governors did not make any statement on Obaseki’s disqualification.
They, however, resolved to, “Collectively work to ensure strengthening of a fair and democratic internal party mechanism for the selection of party candidates in all elections, especially in respect of Edo and Ondo States 2020 Governorship elections.
“Forum members are confident that the party will resolve all current challenges and emerge stronger.”