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Monday, 15 June 2020

BREAKING: APC Govs Move To Save Obaseki

BREAKING: APC Govs Move To Save Obaseki

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In a bid to halt the imminent defection of their Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki, to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have engaged in a last minute bid to get the ruling party allow him  participate in the June 22 primary election.

The governors who expressed confidence that the party would emerge stronger from its current challenges, declared their resolve to strengthen fair and democratic internal party mechanism for the selection of party candidates in respect of the Edo and Ondo States 2020 Governorship elections.

Obaseki on Saturday got an endorsement from APC leaders in the state to defect to his party of choice following his disqualification alongside two other aspirants, from participating  in the primary election by the screening and appeal committees of the APC governor.

The Edo governor has since opened talks with PDP despite oppositions from two of the three aspirants of the party kicking against his emergence as consensus candidate.

Worried that the party might lose the state, the APC governors said they have resolved to ensure the strengthening of democratic mechanisms in the party ahead of the primaries.

A statement signed by the chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) and governor of Kebbi state, Atiku Bagudu, said the governors have ”Collectively agreed to work to ensure strengthening 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.”

The APC governors’ forum at a Teleconference meeting on Saturday ”unanimously reaffirmed the commitment of all Progressive Governors to work for the unity of our party.

”Forum members are confident that the party will resolve all current challenges and emerge stronger,” the governors said.

Meanwhile, Obaseki yesterday met the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, yesterday at Government House, Port Harcourt.

The Edo State governor who arrived Government House, Port Harcourt at about 2pm was received by Wike at his official residence.

Both governors immediately went into a closed door meeting which lasted for three hours.

Both governors declined to speak with newsmen on the outcome of the meeting. However, a source close to Government House, Port Harcourt, said Obaseki’s visit is connected with his plans to join the PDP following calls by a faction of APC in Edo State for his expulsion from the party over alleged anti-party activities.

Obaseki also met with the Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel to consolidate his likely defection plans.

 In a related development, moves by the Ondo State deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi, to defect to the opposition PDP to contest the October 10 governorship election may have hit a brick-wall.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, Ajayi is expected to formally announce his defection to PDP this week amid claims that he has secretly bought the party’s governorship nomination form in readiness for the primary election.

Ajayi’s desire for an automatic ticket as well as the pressure mounted on PDP governorship aspirants were reportedly resisted as almost all the aspirants insisted on contesting the primary election.

The deputy governor whose relationship with his boss, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has soured following his insistence to run against the incumbent governor was said to have initially brokered a deal with some PDP national leaders with a view to fielding him as running mate to the party’s 2016 governorship candidate, Eyitayo Jegede.

A member of the PDP national leadership, who confided in our correspondent, disclosed that the earlier arrangement to make Ajayi the running mate to Jegede appears to have failed.

The party leader said an initial plan, hatched barely two weeks ago, was revisited after some ”national leaders saw the need to properly assess the popularity and experience of both Ajayi and Jegede” with a view to bringing the best combination on board.

He continued: ”Honestly, we at the national level want the best for the party and that is what we have been working day and night to do as far as the Ondo State governorship election is concerned.

”We are on the verge of receiving the deputy governor into our party and he is no doubt, a big fish that will give the APC a good fight in the forthcoming election. One clear message we have been giving to all aspirants is that none of them will have anything to share.

”So, initially when the deputy governor met some of us, he insisted that he was not desperate to be Governor that he just wanted the incumbent out; and our informal conclusion was that he could pair as running mate with our 2016 candidate, Jegede, and he had no objection to that.

”But from what we have seen on the ground last week, the deputy governor seems to have a more formidable structure than Jegede and we have opened discussions on how Ajayi will be candidate while Jegede runs as his deputy with a caveat that Agboola will run for only one term and hand over to Jegede.

”We have been assessing their strengths, popularity and experience but the issue we have been confronted with is the fact that the deputy governor seems to have sealed another deal with some APC leaders without our knowledge that after his victory at the poll, he would return to the APC.

”He is already discussing at top levels in this regard in order to have some leverage of security. But we are yet to confirm. So we are already talking to Jegede to cede the ticket to Ajayi by stepping down; he would then be picked as running mate to Ajayi”.

Meanwhile, a pro-PDP political pressure group, the Ondo Renaissance Movement (ORM) has accused the PDP national leadership of ceding its governorship ticket to the south with Ajayi in mind.

The pressure group in a statement by its coordinator, Comrade Joshua Adesuyi Falade alleged that the National Working Committee of the PDP fell for financial inducement by Ajayi.

”We are aware of the all behind the scene moves by the deputy Governor as he is trying all manner of things to get our party ticket. The latest is that he took the sum of N200 million to bribe the NWC of our party to cede the ticket to the south and then pick him as candidate with Eyitayo Jegede as his deputy governorship candidate.

”This one will fail because those of us who suffered for the party since 2011 and even before then are not fools. If that happens, we shall mobilise our teaming supporters across the state to move to the APC and work for whoever is the candidate of the party.

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