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Obaseki to Wike: PDP not your personal property — don’t be a bully

Author:
Samuel Akpan

Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo, has advised his counterpart in Rivers, Nyesom Wike, to “show respect” to party members. 

Obaseki and Wike are both governors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Edo governor was reacting to Wike’s comment on his deputy, Philip Shaibu.

While speaking at an event in Port Harcourt on Saturday, Wike tongue-lashed Shaibu for daring to threaten the PDP on television.

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Shaibu had appeared on a Channels Television programme where he said he and Obaseki may leave the PDP if the party continues to treat them as outcasts.

The comment did not sit well with Wike who said the PDP gave Obaseki and Shaibu the party’s ticket when they were denied the same by the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the 2020 state election.

Wike said he has written to the leadership of the party at the national level to discipline the deputy governor for the comment.

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Reacting to the development in a statement he personally signed, Obaseki said his deputy “at no point threatened the party” as alleged by the Rivers governor.

“The recent personal attacks by His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Nyesom Wike, against my Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu is, to say the least, most unfortunate and totally uncalled for,” the statement reads.

“If Governor Wike was one who wants to show respect and courtesy to his colleague-governors, he would have ordinarily reached out to me to express his concerns about the views made by my deputy governor, rather than embarking on this unwarranted public onslaught.

“My deputy governor was a former National President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and his comment is representative of the essence of the nation’s youth population, who are inclined to openly speak up and question the status quo. If Governor Wike cannot understand and adequately respond to the style and character of the Nigerian youth, how can he aspire to lead them?

“His Excellency, Governor Wike should have taken a cue from the manner in which the National Chairman of our party, Sen. Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, responded to my deputy’s remarks, as a conscientious leader who is able to show empathy and consideration.

“The concerns expressed by my deputy governor bordered on pertinent issues affecting the PDP in Edo State which since the September 19th 2020 elections, has been able to register over 500,000 members; and to date, these new members have not been properly integrated into our party after two years. Also, the leaders, executives and members who came with me into the party have still not been accepted, integrated or harmonized into the party.”

Obaseki accused Wike of working with a “cabal” led by Dan Orbih to “orchestrate the destabilization of the party” in Edo.

“It is necessary to recall at this point that a political solution gave rise to the emergence of Chief Dan Orbih first as Acting and then as Substantive National Vice Chairman, South South, of our party, when Chief Emma Odidi resigned that position to allow Chief Orbih to ascend. It is therefore curious why this type of political solution is no longer tenable to resolve the political impasse in Edo State PDP,” he said.

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“We can categorically state that in the comments of the deputy governor, he at no point threatened the party as Governor Wike has alleged. Rather, it is Governor Wike, who has at different times, threatened the PDP.

“Undoubtedly, Governor Wike has contributed to the advancement of the party, just like others, since 1999. No one is against his desire to run for president, however, his ambition should not be embarked on in such a way that it would cause disruption at different levels, such as the PDP Governors’ Forum as well as different chapters of the party across the country.

“It clearly amounts to a delusion of grandeur, for any one man to nurse the idea that he owns or has more stake in the PDP and everyone should pander to him.

“We are all equal stakeholders in the party and an aggregate of the ideas, opinions and contributions of all leaders and members should form the position of the party and not the view of one individual or a select few.

“While Governor Wike is free to use his resources as he deems fit in pursuit of his ambition, he should not attempt to cow, intimidate, cajole and threaten others into doing his bidding. Edo State cannot and will not be procured for anyone’s personal ambition.

“In Edo, we don’t accept political bullies and overlords and historically, we have demonstrated our capacity to unshackle ourselves and dethrone bullies and highhanded leaders.”

Obaseki called on leaders in the PDP to prevail over Wike to “desist from his current unguarded and disruptive tendencies”, adding that the party must put the task of regaining power in 2023 above personal ambitions.

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