Planned defection of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is already upsetting the order in the opposition party with leaders taking divergent positions on alleged plot to concede the party’s governorship ticket to him.
While several PDP governors and leaders are for the concession, a few others are resisting the offer on the grounds that it would not help party discipline.
Some old members are said to be angry at what they see as preferential treatment for Obaseki in the race for the governorship ticket.
They are worried that the allegations which cost Obaseki the APC ticket may work against the PDP in the event that he emerges as the party’s candidate.
Some governors want those allegations sorted out before any concession is made.
Top PDP members including former President Goodluck Jonathan and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar are rooting for Obaseki to cross over to the party.
Although the governor is yet to make a formal statement on where he is headed after rejecting the offer to appeal his disqualification by the APC, reports from his camp indicate that his political future lies in the PDP.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and the two PDP Senators from Edo State, Clifford Ordia (Edo Central) and Urhoghide Aishagbonnriodion (Edo South) are behind the plot to give the governorship ticket to Obaseki.
Sources said they facilitated the secret talks between Obaseki and some PDP governors and party leaders.
The secret talks were in anticipation of his disqualification by the APC Screening Committee.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the influential former Chairman of PDP in the state, Chief Dan Orbih, are yet to make any commitment.
Although Obaseki’s defection plan is yet to be formally tabled before the party, it was gathered that he was given some conditions at the secret talks for him to get the governorship ticket.
The conditions are:
*Membership waiver and nomination waiver for the governor
*Automatic governorship slot for Obaseki.
* The State Deputy Governor, Phillip Shuaibu, may not be retained as Obas
*His coming should not cause crisis in PDP
*Accommodation of PDP members in his administration.
A top PDP source said: “These terms excited Obaseki. This is why he wasted no time in saying that he would not contest his disqualification by APC.
“We are yet to table all these conditions before the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee of PDP. But this may be fast tracked in the coming week.
“As for the Deputy Governor, there is no way we can hand over the party and governorship ticket to Obaseki wholesale. We have to consider the interest of old members of PDP by asking one of them to be running mate to Obaseki.”
The source admitted that PDP leaders were weighing options before the relevant organs of PDP admit Obaseki.
They do not want the concession of PDP governorship ticket to Obaseki to plunge the party into a deeper crisis.
Another party source said: “Our leaders are weighing the options on whether or not to take a risk with Obaseki but without plunging the party into a serious crisis.
“The truth is that PDP is not strong and all the aspirants that have emerged cannot match the electoral strength of APC. But getting Obaseki will add value to our challenge to APC candidate.
“Apart from incumbency factor, Obaseki has enough facts and figures to de-market APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who is a factor in this forthcoming poll. He also has the war chest to confront APC.