Governor Nyesom Wike has stated he would be happy should his Edo counterpart, Godwin Obaseki, joins the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Obaseki has been disqualified by the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the primary that will produce a candidate for the party ahead of the September governorship race in Edo over alleged “defective qualifications.”
There had been pressure on Obaseki to cross over to the PDP and pick its governorship ticket.
Wike, who hosted Obaseki in a private meeting on Sunday, said he would gladly welcome the Edo Governor to the PDP fold.
Speaking with reporters on Monday at the Government House Port-Harcourt, the Governor also blasted the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), alleging it has become toothless under APC.
Wike said: “Ordinary, I would not speak on it (Obaseki’s fate) but the NGF has become a toothless bulldog that can only bark and not bite. It is quite unfortunate that I belong to such a forum. Nobody seems to respect the Governors Forum again because we have given ourselves out”
“Obaseki is a member of the APC, I campaigned against him in 2016 but how can you say a sitting governor is being disqualified because some of his certificates are defective? He was presented by the National Chairman of (APC) when he was governor. I was watching a video where Adams Oshiomhole described him as a product of Nigeria’s premier university, who went to the US and came back with a masters degree.”
On the possibility of defecting to the PDP, Wike said: “Yes, he came to see me yesterday; both of us are South-south governors. We sat down and discussed issues, seek opinions and compared notes. He has not said he wants to come to (PDP); he is meeting with us and holding discussions to determine, but I will be happy if he comes.”
Wike said it was “quite unfortunate” the treatment meted on Obaseki by the All Progressive Congress leadership, and lamented the perceived acquiescing silence of the NGF and the Progressive Governors Forum.
“If you ask me if I am happy about the way he was disqualified, how can I be happy? How can you disqualify a sitting governor? You asked a Commissioner to screen a sitting governor and disqualify him.”
“Since 2015 when the APC took over leadership of the Governor’s Forum, everything died; the forum is is not what we used to have. It used to be a powerful forum. The APC has killed it and the forum is now focused on the interests of the ruling party, instead of focusing on good governance and interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.”
“When the IG (Ibrahim Idris) withdrew my security aides and exposed me to danger, the Governors did not say anything. Yari (Abubakar) was the (NGF) President and a member of the APC. I told them that they’re being captured, and today the forum has become a Beggars Forum because they have to beg for everything.”
He said the ongoing discussion on the Infectious Bill before the National Assembly showed show that the forum has lost its bite, relevance and failed to play its role as an integral part of the nation’s democratic process.
Wike also took a swipe at the Progressive Governors Forum, comprising state governors on the platform of the APC, stating that Obaseki’s fate was a slap on the union’s face.
The Rivers Governor warned the manner of Obaseki’s disqualification, despite the political implications for the APC, indicates that the ruling party was willing to throw caution to the wind and take the state by brute force.
Yet, he warned the ruling party not to use the Police and Security to manipulate Edo election, stressing it could unleash civil disobedience in a magnitude of what is currently happening in the United States, over the killing of an African-America.
“They cannot get away with using the security force and INEC to have their way because everybody will be involved. Edo people will be involved. See what is happening in the US with George Floyd’s death, nobody expected that just one death can lead to all that.”