Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Thursday, led leaders and members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state to receive the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, declaring that only the PDP could rescue Nigeria from its current socio-economic woes.
Obaseki, who spoke at a grand rally in honour of the national chairman in Benin City, expressed confidence that the party would produce the country’s next president, even as Ayu promised that the issues in the Edo PDP would be resolved.
But the deputy governor of the state, Comrade Philip Shaibu, protested the exclusion of new members from the party, and urged Ayu to help resolve the crisis in the state chapter of the PDP.
According to Obaseki, “I want to thank you for coming with members of the National Board of Trustees (BOT) of the party. PDP is the party of Edo; PDP is in the DNA of Edo, and we do not want that to change. The deputy governor said something and I want to restate it: wherever Edo goes, Nigeria will go.
“Our chairman has what it takes to produce the next president, because Nigerians are suffering too much. How can diesel be sold for over N700? You have all it takes to help us. Only PDP can rescue Nigeria from these sufferings.
“The only issue is the small quarrel in Edo PDP. Once you can solve the quarrel in Edo and other states, we will take over power in 2023,” the governor said.
Ayu, while speaking, said the party would set up a team to resolve the crisis in Edo PDP, and ensure that the governor did not leave.
“Let no one deceive you that he (Obaseki) is leaving PDP. Nigerians will see how we will receive all those from other parties. In 2023, we shall be back in power; we have started working towards that.
“Edo people, learn from my own state, Benue. If you fight, you will lose the election. I am going to bring a team that will settle the issue in Edo.
“I have been working from behind. I am happy that the Deputy Governor, Shaibu said the truth that the leadership of the party in the state is not working. We are very close to solving the crisis in Edo.
“Once the leadership is divided, you won’t get a good result. All our emphasis is on unity. We cannot talk about taking over power in 2023 if our state leadership is not on good terms.
“Edo is going to produce the highest number of votes in the next general election. We shall win all the Senatorial and House of Representatives seats. I want to assure you that by next week, all the issues in Edo PDP will be resolved. All the leaders in Edo should help to resolve the problem, not to fire it more. We will engineer the process and they will conclude the process,” he stated.
Earlier, Shaibu, who alleged exclusion of new members from the party, stated: “Sir, people are saying that the governor will not leave the PDP, but he will only remain if his soldiers remain in the party.
“We want you to resolve this problem in our party. We have what it takes to take over the national position in the next election. Wherever Edo goes, is where Nigeria will go. If you solve the problem in Edo, you have solved the problem in Nigeria.”
Among those at the event were the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Hon. Osaigbovo Iyoha; Speaker, Edo House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Marcus Onobun and State Chairman of the PDP, Tony Aziegbemi.
Others were former governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo; Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees (BOT), Senator Walid Jubril; Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Senator Clifford Odia, Chief Tom Ikimi and PDP National Women Leader, Josephine Anenih.
Meanwhile, the Deputy National Chairman, South-south zone of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Dan Orbih was absent at the unity rally, later held in Benin City, Edo State, to honour Ayu.
While Orbih was of the view that there was nothing like harmonisation of party positions because a congress had been held before Obaseki joined the party with some factional member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and as such, the State Working Committee (SWC) should be allowed to serve out its tenure; Obaseki supported the ideas of harmonisation of the SWC positions to accommodate his people.
The disagreement took a new dimension last week when Obaseki told Orbih off and branded his position as “irresponsible”.
“I heard that Chief Dan Orbih went around, saying there is no harmonisation in Edo PDP. This is really irresponsible to say and an insult to members of the party, as the party has truly harmonised in the state.
“PDP in Edo State is harmonised, because before we made any appointments in any ward, we made sure the party at that level was harmonised. We are gathered here now as election timetable is out; harmonisation has been done, appointments made and we are ready to win any election before us.”
Dwelling on this at the rally, Ayu stayed away from harmonisation and opted for peace and unity by urging all and sundry in the party to tow the path of peace just as he noted that unity remained the only key to election victory.
Ayu, who said he was married to an Edo woman, who also was once a PDP national women leader, declared that he would not allow anything that would bring division in the party.
He said as one of those who formed the party out of the G-34 group, he would not fail to ensure unity, recalling that PDP lost Edo in 2007 governorship election to then Action Congress (AC) in the state as a result of disunity and infighting between former Governor Lucky Igbinedion and Chief Tony Anenih of blessed memory.