Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo State, on Monday, said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) needs an aggregate of stakeholders’ ideas, opinions and contributions of all leaders and members rather than the view of one “individual or a select few” to take over leadership of Nigeria.
The governor, while reacting to the recent remarks made by his Rivers State counterpart, Governor Nyesom Wike against Philip Shaibu, Edo State deputy governor, said Nigeria needs “strong democratic institutions and not strong men”, assuring that he would join the leaders of the party across the country to build PDP into a strong and indomitable party that will take over Aso rock in 2023.
He said Edo cannot be procured for anyone’s personal ambition and the state government under his leadership has demonstrated the capacity to “unshackle ourselves and dethrone bullies and highhanded leaders.
Governor Wike, who reacted to Shaibu’s outburst over the purported harmonization disputes between the old and new PDP members, at the weekend, threatened that disciplinary action would be taken by the party’s leadership against the deputy governor.
Obaseki, in a statement issued to journalists in Benin City, described the attacks as “unfortunate and totally uncalled for,” pointing out that Wike would have reached out to him to express his concerns about Shaibu’s views rather than embarking on “this unwarranted public onslaught.”
He said the concerns raised by his deputy governor bordered on pertinent issues affecting the PDP in Edo State, adding that since the last governorship election in the state, the party has been able to register over 500,000 members but, till date, the new members, leaders and many others who defected alongside with him to PDP have not been properly integrated into the party after two years.
“My deputy governor was a former National President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and his comment is representative of the essence of the nation’s youth population, who are inclined to openly speak up and question the status quo.
“His Excellency, Governor Wike should have taken a cue from the manner in which the National Chairman of our party, Iyorchia Ayu, responded to my deputy’s remarks, as a conscientious leader who is able to show empathy and consideration.
“More worrisome is the fact that old members of Edo PDP, who are open to inclusion and supportive of building a large party are being vilified and ostracized by a cabal.
“We are all equal stakeholders in the party and an aggregate of the ideas, opinions and contributions of all leaders and members should form the position of the party and not the view of one individual or a select few,” Obaseki said.
The governor, who admitted that Wike, just like others, has contributed to the advancement of the party since 1999, however, said that no one is against his desire to run for president and the Rivers State governor’s ambition should not be embarked on in such a way that it would cause disruption at different levels of the party across the country.
He, therefore, appealed to well-meaning leaders of the party to call Wike to order to desist from further utterances.