The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has debunked insinuations that the party has adopted Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo as its chosen candidate for the governorship election in the state.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, disclosed this while speaking with SaharaReporters on Monday.
He said the primary election slated for Tuesday was an open contest among aspirants, adding that the party would not pile pressure on any candidate to step down for anyone.
He said the defection of Governor Obaseki to PDP would not create any rift in the state, adding that leadership in PDP was about collegiate system.
Kola said, “We don’t have a structure where one person will say I am the automatic leader. What we have is a collegiate system. People hold consultations across various levels of leadership in the PDP.
“In our party, we have utmost respect for our governors. Governors have their opinions on every issue which we put before collegiate leadership and once they agree on them, there is no issue.”
One of the governorship aspirants in the party, Kenneth Imasuagbon, had insisted that he would not step down for Governor Obaseki during the primary.
He said, “If there is anyone who should step down for the other, it is Obaseki.”
Imasuagbon added that he has been on his governorship project for the past 16 years and would therefore not give it up “in just 24 hours” because of Obaseki.
Meanwhile, before Obaseki’s defection, the PDP had screened and cleared Imasuagbon, Gideon Ikhine and Ogbeide Ihama for the primary, which was supposed to have been held last weekend.
However, Obaseki’s defection to the PDP forced the party leadership to delay the primary by three days.
SaharaReporters gathered that the meeting between Obaseki and key leaders of the PDP and the three governorship aspirants on Saturday night ended in a deadlock.
Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal and Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, are said to be doing everything possible to get Obaseki the PDP ticket.
It was gathered that the governors have arrived in Benin, Edo State’s capital, to persuade the three governorship aspirants to step down in the overall interest of the party.
A reliable source told SaharaReporters that the governors would convey another meeting with the aspirants tonight which will determine the fate of Obaseki.