…Says Governor Betrayed Agreement on Sharing of Elective Positions
By Simeon OSAJIE
The crisis rocking the Edo State chapter of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has taken a new dimension as the South-South Zonal National Vice Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Dan Orbih has accused Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki of defrauded his deputy, Comrade Phillip Shaibu of 300,000 dollars during the run up to the party’s primary for the 2020 governorship election.
Speaking during a visit by some party members at his country home in Ogbona, Etsako Central local government area of Edo State, Chief Dan Osi Orbih accused Governor Obaseki of orchestrating the disunity in the party by betraying the agreement reached as regards the sharing of elective positions in the 2023 polls.
A noticeably angry Orbih, the immediate past state chairman of the party explained that he flew to Benin to meet Obaseki and Shaibu after a peace parley in Abuja which was brokered by the foursome of Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who is presently the party’s vice presidential candidate; Alhaji Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State; Mr. Darius Ishaku of Taraba State; and Benue State Governor Ortom who chaired the meeting.
Chief Obrih said that at the meeting in Benin after the Abuja agreement, he used the opportunity to look Obaseki in the face in presence of some PDP governors, and pointedly challenged him over allegations that he gave him and other top party members, money to ensure that Dr. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, the Oredo Federal Constituency member, stepped down for him.
He accused: “Looking at the governor, I said that I have heard stories that you bought the ticket of PDP. Did money exchange hands between us and yourself during your coming to PDP? Your deputy governor Comrade Phillip Shaibu, sited here told me that you asked him to contribute $300,000 to settle the issue of your coming to PDP.”
According to Orbih, Comrade Shaibu had innocently confided in him that he gave $300,000 to the governor to give to him (Orbih) and Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, being his contribution for the purchase of the PDP governorship ticket for the 2020 election.
“I challenged him at the meeting to tell us whether he gave one Kobo to me and Ogbeide-Ihama. He said that he didn’t give us money and he didn’t tell anybody to give us money,” Orbih fumed.
Going further, he added: “I then turned to the deputy governor and said: ‘Phillip Shaibu, you are sitting here. Did you not tell us that you gave $300,000 to Obaseki to add to the money for the ticket of PDP?’ Shaibu admitted that he said so, right in the presence of Obaseki. The other governors looked at themselves and just shook their heads.”
Orbih said that at the meeting which was chaired by Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue State, it was agreed even though, it was not fair to members of the Legacy Group which he headed that Obaseki should produce 13 candidates for the Edo State House of Assembly race while his supporters were given 11 slots.
Also, as part of the peace treaty, he disclosed that the Senatorial candidate of the party for Edo South was given to Dr. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama while the remaining two candidates for Edo North and Central were to be shared one each between Obaseki and the Legacy Group.
For the House of Representatives, the South-South Zonal Vice Chairman explained that five was to be given to Legacy Group and four to Obaseki.
“We agreed, came out of the meeting and shook hands and celebrated the resolutions of the problems of the party in Edo State,” he added.