Against all odds, Governor Godwin Obaseki finally clinched the governorship ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the Edo state gubernatorial election slated for Wednesday, September 23.
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It began like a herculean task following Obaseki's political feud with Adams Oshiomhole which later climaxed to his disqualification from the All Progressive Congress (APC) ticket race on Friday, June 13.
The farce continued in daring style with the governor's resignation from the party after meeting leaders of the party which was followed by his decamping to the PDP.
On Thursday, June 25, the coast was finally clear and Obaseki, despite the array of challenges against his re-election bid, was unanimously elected as the flag bearer of the opposition party.
A total of 1,952 delegates from 192 wards and 18 local government areas of the state voted the governor out of the 2,234 delegates billed for the process.
But how did Obaseki scale through?
Obaseki's victory did not come on a silver platter. Immediately after announcing his move to the PDP, the governor was not fully received with open arms and he had to be granted a waiver by the national working committee of the party.
Legit.ng recalls how Obaseki travelled to Rivers state to meet Governor Nyesom Wike and other top chieftains of the opposition party in a bid to gain ground.
Three aspirants, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, Kenneth Imasuagbon and Gideon Ikhine, had been already screened to contest, but Obaseki's defection to the PDP forced the party to stop its primary election in what posed a new hurdle against the ambition of the aspirants.
They saw the governor as a threat.
Suits and counter lawsuits by aspirants
Sensing the obstacle standing against his ambition, Ogbeide-Ihama who was a frontline aspirant quickly ran to Rivers Federal High Court and pleaded that Obaseki be banned from the primary process.
Among his reason, Ogbeide-Ihama said Obaseki did not buy the nomination and interest form and he was not screened at the official stipulated time announced by the PDP.
The aspirant, in a statement on Wednesday, June 24, said though he remained loyal to the party, he was opposed to the PDP’s nomination processes for the Edo governorship election.
Justice of the Rivers Federal High Court eventually stopped the PDP from fielding Obaseki, but another high court in Edo state restrained the PDP from barring any aspirants cleared to contest for the ticket including the embattled governor.
INEC raised an eyebrow
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) later raised an eyebrow against conflicting court verdicts and litigation that have characterised the pre-governorship election in Edo.
INEC said such confusion is capable of marring the smooth conduct of the state election.
Gideon Ikhine stepped down for Obaseki, but Wike pulled out of the Edo PDP peace panel
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Obaseki's election got a massive boost after Ikhine announced he would be stepping down for the Edo state governor. But like an army of intrigues, Governor Wike, on the other hand, pulled out his support for the governor because of what he termed as "senseless accusation".
The governor said he was being fingered by members of the opposition party in Edo in the court order that barred the governor from taking part in the primary.
Speaking further on the decision, Wike said he could not continue to associate with people who "behave like tax collectors".
And that alone put Governor Obaseki on the red line, being a bigwig Governor Wike is in the opposition party.
Ogbeide-Ihama withdraws his suits and also stepped down alongside Kenneth Imasuagbon
In what appeared like a final battle for the PDP ahead of its governorship primary, the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt was forced to delay an accelerated hearing on a suit filed against Governor Obaseki by Ogbeide-Ihama.
After three hours, the case was dismissed as all aggrieved parties opted for an out-of-court settlement with less than 24 hours to the time of the primary.
Justice E.O. Obile stood down the matter following an appeal by the lawyer to the plaintiff, Ferdinand Orbih, that they should be given a brief period to explore an out of court settlement.
Both Kenneth Imasuagbon and Ogbeide-Ihama later stepped down for the governor but the PDP continued to hold its primary to prevent future litigation.
Bauchi governor, Bala Mohammed, who was the chairman of the Edo primary election committee, declared Obaseki winner of the contest, saying he polled 90 per cent of the available votes.
The battle ahead
Obaseki will face his arch-foe Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the APC in what could be a rematch of their rivalry which dates back to 2016 when the latter lost to the former.
APC disqualifies Obaseki from Edo guber primaries | Legit TV