The PDP’s primaries throughout the nation came to a close yesterday, capping months of horse-trading by political gladiators. Finally, as predicted, HE Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was elected as the PDP’s presidential candidate.
Prior to the presidential primaries, five key figures were pencilled in for a possible vice presidential slot in the event of Atiku’s expected victory: Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, and Peter Obi of Anambra State.
According to the current state of affairs, the battle may have been reduced to only two prominent contenders, which are Obaseki and Okowa. (While Atiku with a Wike vice presidency may be the greatest option for the PDP, this squad would be the most difficult to defeat.)
Okowa has a huge edge over Obaseki because he is considered as a noble and quiet gentleman who is very grassroots focused, whereas Obaseki is seen as a competent economist who is politically controversial.
In fact, a day would be devoted to analyzing Nyesom Wike, Ifeanyi Okowa, and Godwin Obaseki’s chances for the VP, but not today.
Unfortunately, Obaseki’s relationship with the Edo State People’s Democratic Party has deteriorated to the point where nothing can be done to repair it. The PDP has held INEC-recognized primaries, and there is no way to reach an agreement now that candidates have gone through HELL to obtain the party’s ticket.
Obaseki is currently caught between two worlds; he cannot quit the PDP at this point because he would have lost the campaign for the Vice Presidency just the same way Peter Obi excluded himself by leaving the PDP. On the other hand, Obaseki needs to get his warriors into the legislative chambers, particularly the State House of Assembly.
So here’s the political math: whatever motivates Atiku to choose Obaseki as his Vice Presidential Candidate ahead of others gives him the upper hand. He becomes the party’s leader in the state automatically, and everything will be done to ensure that they win the presidency.
With Obaseki preparing to run for vice president, he may have to relinquish his position as governor to face the rigors of the presidential campaign, which is where Philip Shaibu comes in.
Philip Shaibu’s ascension to the throne at Dennis Osadebey Avenue would shift the game and, of course, reclaim control of the PDP from Dan Orbihs’s grip.
That is essentially where the story begins if Atiku provides Obaseki the vice presidential slot; but, if Atiku fails to pair with Obaseki, then Obaseki’s political career may be over.
Now, in order for Obaseki to ensure that its aspirants who have moved over to the Labour Party win, he would have to openly decamp from the PDP to the Labour Party. This means that Labour becomes the state’s ruling party right away, thereby making it a third force.
Obaseki can use the State apparatus to promote the Labor Party and ensure its candidates have the support of the public. Failure by Obaseki to officially abandon the PDP will spell disaster for its candidates . Many of the Labor party candidates would never be able to fund their campaigns in the state against their APC and PDP opponents without the backing of the STATE.
If Obaseki leaves the PDP, he will be met with a stern rebuke by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who previously threatened to shave his head if he left the party. Obaseki’s decision to join a third party in three years will inevitably weaken his support base, as not all of his PDP supporters will join a new party with no structure across the state.
So the matter is quite intricated and a duble edge sword it could go the right and as well go the wrong way. How all these plays out would be seen in the next of couple of days as Time is of essence here.