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Edo 2024: Shaibu, ex-minister attack Obaseki as another aspirant withdraws for Ighodalo

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The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, on Wednesday, accused his principal, Governor Godwin Obaseki, of betrayal, DDM News reveal.

Shaibu, who is seeking to become the next governor of Edo State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, said Obaseki betrayed him by backing another aspirant in the upcoming  September 21 governorship election.

Meanwhile, another PDP governorship aspirant, John Yakubu, a two-time chairman of the Esan North-East Local Government Area, stepped down on Wednesday for a former Chairman of Sterling Bank Plc, Asue Ighodalo, who is believed to be Obaseki’s candidate for the governorship poll.

Speaking during an interview on Arise TV on Wednesday, Shaibu said he regretted supporting Obaseki’s second-term bid in 2020 when Obaseki had a battle with his predecessor and then political godfather, Adams Oshiomhole, who vowed he would not be reelected for a second term.

Onolomemen, who is also a governorship aspirant on the APC platform, spoke to journalists in Abuja.

He said, “It is true that I have been a member of the PDP. Up till 2023, I was a member of the party, but something happened that I just couldn’t relate with.

Right from the beginning of 2023, I set out to run for a senatorial seat, that is the Edo Central Senatorial District. In that primary election, I won in a very stylish way. I got 90 per cent of the votes and the remaining 10 per cent was shared by the remaining five aspirants.

“But at a time, I thought it was over, the Governor of the State, Godwin Obaseki had come in and was supporting somebody who did not even partake in the primaries to take over the seat. Initially, we thought it was a joke. We went to the high court and from there to the Court of Appeal and from there to the Supreme Court. Funny enough, the Supreme Court gave them judgment. For me, that was the breaking point. From that point, I did not accept to go further because it was one too many. That was what happened.”

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He said he was confident of winning the APC governorship primary, saying his newness in the party would not be a  disadvantage.

“Those in APC today were once in the PDP with us in Edo State. Many of them are people we have done things together politically. When we are together, we don’t discriminate against one another. Because of that, it is the same characters you are dealing with. So, you don’t feel as if you are a newcomer. We are comers as it were,” he said.

Efforts to get Obaseki’s reaction were unsuccessful as his media aide, Crusoe Osagie, could not be reached on his mobile phone and he had yet to reply to a text message sent to his line as of the time of filing this report.

On Wednesday, the aspiration of Igbodalo, who is believed to have Obaseki’s backing, got a boost as Yakubu, withdrew from the governorship race for him.

The PUNCH reports that Yakubu’s withdrawal brings to five PDP governorship aspirants who have stepped down for Ighodalo.

Four aspirants had recently stepped down for Ighodalo. They are a  member of the House of Representatives,  Friday Itula; a former senator, Clifford Odia; another House of Representatives member, Marcus Onobun, and Kenneth Awolimen.

Also on Monday,  PDP leaders from Edo North on Monday held a meeting where they endorsed Ighodalo, as their preferred PDP governorship candidate, a development that angered Shaibu.

On Wednesday, Yakubu said he stepped down for Ighodalo in the interest of the party.

He spoke to journalists at Igueben, the administrative headquarters of Igueben Local Government Area in Edo, shortly after a closed-door meeting with the Edo Central PDP Special Committee, headed by the former Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Tom Ikimi.

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Yakubu said, “After due consultation across our top party leadership spectrum, members of my campaign organisation and my teeming supporters, across the three senatorial districts and beyond, I have decided, that for the overall interest of our party and the yearning of Edo people to continue to have the PDP at Osadebe Avenue, to lay down my governorship aspiration.

“Going by the wise direction paved and shown by our party senatorial leadership so far, the body language of members of our party and the positive activities displayed by Dr. Asue Ighodalo himself, it has become very clear that Ighodalo is in a good position to bring about this much-needed development to us as a party and in the state.

“On these grounds, I stand solidly behind Dr. Ighodalo, not only as our governorship candidate but in all of the activities that will ensure his victory and our victory at the polls come September 2024.”

Meanwhile, the Edo Central PDP Special Committee, headed by Ikimi, will today (Thursday),  announce its consensus aspirant.

 


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