Edo State chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) Anthony Aziegbemi, has confirmed that close aides of the embattled governor of the state, Godwin Obaseki had been reaching out to the national leadership of the party though the governor had not approached him or members of his state executive. Aziegbemi however said the party’s doors were still open to the governor who was on Friday disqualified from contesting the governorship election on the platform of the ruling party. The Prof. Jonathan Ayuba-headed screening committee of the All Progressive s Congress, (APC) had cited discrepancies in the certificates presented by the governor leading to his being declared ineligible.
But speaking in Benin on Saturday, Aziegbemi dispelled rumours making the rounds that Obaseki had defected to the PDP where he is expected to pick the governorship ticket for his re-election ahead of the September 19 polls. According to the PDP chairman, “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.”
Aziegbemi was not forthcoming on what would be the fate of Governor Obaseki in the primary of the party which is scheduled to for next weekend in Benin. Recall that the South-south zonal chairman of the party, Emmanuel Ogidi had asserted that due process would be followed should Obaseki defect to the PDP. Ogidi had insisted that the doors of the party were open to anybody who intended to defect to the party He said the party would not shut its doors so long as the defector abides by the laws of the party. According to Ogidi, “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.”