Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has defended his deputy, Philip Shaibu, against comments made by Governor Nyesom Wike of River state.
In a statement personally signed, Obaseki described Wike’s comment as most unfortunate and totally uncalled for.
“if Wike was one who is 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.,” he said.
Obaseki reminded his Rivers State counterpart that Shaibu was a former National President of the National Association of Nigerian Student (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.
He said, “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 till 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.
“More worrisome is the fact that old members of Edo PDP, who are open to inclusion and supportive of building a large party are being vilified and ostracized by a cabal purportedly led by Chief Dan Orbih, who is your perpetual guest in Port Harcourt and is remotely used to orchestrate the destabilization of the party in Edo State.
“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 Ogidi 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.
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. Some of these instances include:
“On September 16, 2018, Governor Wike threatened the party that there would be grave consequences if it moved the National Convention from Port Harcourt in the run up to the 2019 presidential election.
“On September 12, 2019, Governor Wike also threatened to cause trouble for the party over the emergence of Hon. Ndudi Elumelu as the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
“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 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.
“What Nigeria needs now are strong democratic institutions and not strong men; that is why we will join the great leaders of our party across the country to build PDP into a strong, large and indomitable party that will win next year’s presidential election.
Governor Wike and his collaborators headed by Chief Dan Orbih in Edo State will not succeed in destabilizing the PDP in Edo State as they did other states like Cross River just to secure delegates to actualize his alleged personal ambition to run for presidency in 2023.
“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.
“I appeal to all well-meaning leaders of our great party to call Governor Wike to order, to desist from his current unguarded and disruptive tendencies. From all indications today, PDP is set to take over the leadership of Nigeria provided we can rein in the self-interest of a few leaders to put the task of rescuing Nigeria above their personal ambitions.”