Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has said he would not be the one to determine the fate of Philip Shaibu, his Deputy Governor in the 2024 race but thousands of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) supporters.
Shaibu had boasted after his declaration on Monday that he would defeat the anointed candidate of his boss, Obaseki in the forthcoming PDP primary.
He had revealed that since he declared interest to succeed his boss, he had been intimidated.
He, however, vowed that “Nobody can stop my ambition,” adding that he was more experienced, having been in politics for years and worked with Obaseki in the last seven years to improve the state.
But speaking in an interview with journalists, on Thursday, Governor Obaseki stated that his deputy was free to contest for the governorship position.
He spoke at the end of a closed-door meeting, which he had with former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom, and Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, at the Ramat House.
When asked why they were in Bauchi, he said that they came to discuss issues relating to the PDP Governors’ Forum.
“We came to see Governor Bala and as you know, he’s our Chairman, Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, so we decided to come and see him this afternoon, to congratulate him on his victory and discuss some issues relating to the PDP Governors’ Forum,” he said.
Asked if their discussion had anything to do with his relationship with his deputy, he said “that is part of it.
“We also discussed many other issues relating to our party as a whole and the state of the country. And as you know, things are not as we want them to be. We will keep rubbing minds to see how we can support the administration and save this country by reducing the suffering of Nigerians.”
Obaseki further stated, “The relationship as you know, has been cordial. He (Philip) wants to run for the office I currently occupy and he is free to. I think as a Nigerian, he has the constitutional right to run; nobody can or should stop him.
“The party will decide and also members of the party will decide who will be the flag bearer of the party in the forthcoming governorship election.”
When asked whether he would support him, Obaseki said, “I’m only one out of millions of our party members in Edo State. I don’t think my vote alone will determine whether he becomes the party’s flag bearer.”
Speaking on the economic crunch ravaging the country, Obaseki described the sufferings Nigerians were passing through as unprecedented. “Things are very difficult as we know at this point in time. Nigerians are suffering, and the suffering is unprecedented.
“But I think, we should stop lamenting and think of what to do as leaders to confront the issues we are facing to reduce the sufferings of our people and put more food on their tables.
“The year is coming to an end and the prices of food items are going up and what can we, as PDP governors do to ameliorate the sufferings of our people. These are some of the things we talked about while preserving the unity of this country.”