Godwin Obaseki: The Governor without a party

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By John Mayaki

On the back of his exit from the All Progressives Congress after he was rightly disqualified for presenting questionable academic credentials, Godwin Obaseki, the confused governor of Edo State, has announced that he is yet to make the choice of a political party, with an additional lie that he is presently focused on combatting COVID-19 in the state.

His invocation of COVID-19, something he long forgot in his journey across the country in search of a new home and groveling before ‘godfathers’ in Rivers, Bayelsa, and other states that all have PDP in common, was not without reason – and that reason has nothing to do with public health or the welfare of the people.

The magsman, already rejected by members of the party he claimed to personally own, and turned back by the President he proclaimed to have ‘empowered’ him to ‘rebuild the APC in Edo from the grassroots’, is setting the stage for further manipulation of the COVID-19 situation in the state now that his political career has reached its twilight.

Contrary to the falsehood he is selling, his major preoccupation at the moment is seeing through his negotiations to buy off the aspirants of the PDP and pave the way for himself and his Deputy, Philip Shaibu, who is already anticipating a betrayal and has alerted his troops to prepare for ‘war’.

Like Sisyphus handed an eternal punishment by Zeus to roll a boulder up a hill that has no end, Obaseki is faced with obstacles everywhere he turns. On one hand, several mushroom parties, desirous of a ticket meal and animated by the prospect of cashing in on the desperation of the sinking politician, are making open overtures to Obaseki. But the Governor knows that an unpopular candidate and little known parties are hardly a good match. Hence, his reluctance to travel down that route.

Yet, the Edo PDP, already set to conduct primaries on Friday, and aware of the yawning gaps in the credentials of Obaseki considering it was the party who raised the first alarm, is not welcoming him with open arms.

For many in Edo PDP, Obaseki is a political liability with no base, and an amateur politician renown only for betrayal and treachery. The three aspirants of the party, already eyeing the finish line, are also unwilling to step down their ambitions for the Governor. He should never have been governor in the first place, some of them say. And so, for these ones, beyond partisan leanings, September is a chance to correct an error that should never have occurred, irrespective of how Edo people vote. In other words, Obaseki’s lack of a platform is already victory in itself.

Therefore, by his own admission, Obaseki is now a Governor without a political party. He is the village rogue disowned by his parents and turned away by the community at large. He is stranded, confused, and in need of time at the hour time has become scarce and costly. His resort is to throw money at the problem, Edo people’s money. But can it save him?

More so, what does the law say about his party-less situation? Political parties sponsor candidates for election and at no point in the country’s history, since the return to democracy in 1999, has anyone held public office without verified membership of a political party. Obaseki is treading dangerous waters and veered into uncharted territories. Many anticipate a loud crash in September but the Governor’s immaturity and witless political moves may bring the date forward.

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