Legacy Coalition will produce the next governor of Edo State —Edo Publicity Secretary
Ogie Vasco Ogierogiomwan is the State Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State. He is also a member of the group classified as the Legacy group in the party. In this interview with General Editor, Taiwo Adisa, he declares that major stakeholders of the party in the state are in support of the leadership of Chief Dan Orbih, the National Vice Chairman, South-South, of the PDP. He also insists that the Legacy Coalition led by Orbih will produce the next governor of Edo State. Excerpts:-
You are a member of the legacy PDP in Edo State, your party, for the first time since its inception in 1998 lost a national election in the state in 2023. How did you receive the news of your party’s loss in the presidential and National Assembly elections in February?
I was not happy about it, but it was expected because of the division that was in the party. The Legacy PDP leaders did all they could to resolve the crisis at the time but to no avail. So by the time we went into the election, a lot of Edolites decided to teach Governor Obaseki a bitter lesson, unfortunately, our party was the victim.
Now that the governorship election is around the corner will your members in the Legacy PDP work with the governor to produce a gubernatorial candidate and forge a united front this time?
It is true that we battled the governor’s camp up to the Supreme Court last year. This time around, I don’t think there will be issues because our National leader has already proposed publicly that the Legacy PDP should be allowed to produce the governor and deputy this time around. Because Governor Obaseki took everything to his own camp in 2020. It is only fair that the Legacy party produces the next governor. As to whether we will work with him, I believe the governor knows that he needs to support a gubernatorial candidate from the Legacy coalition this time, and if not, then the Legacy party members will do it alone.
But we understand that the governor already has a preferred candidate as his successor from Edo Central, are you aware of that?
To the best of my knowledge, I have also read about the person on social media. A person who joined the party about 6 weeks ago, for the purpose of contesting the gubernatorial election. I don’t know him, I have never seen him at any party meeting or social event. I am an Edo indigene and I believe I am aware enough to know about the most prominent Edolites both here in Edo State and outside. I wouldn’t know why the governor is insisting on him as the party’s candidate, but in a crucial election like this, PDP cannot afford to present a name that will cost us so much to market to the Edo people. Therefore we can not support it.
Since the last general election, has there been any form of rapprochement between your camp and that of the governor?
None. Not because we don’t want to but because the governor himself felt that he had only one year left and because he was able to fight illegally to get enough members of the House of Assembly, he doesn’t need any settlement anymore. But now, he may be busy thinking of a way to settle for something like that.
Chief Dan Orbih recently floated a group of political leaders ostensibly in preparation for the gubernatorial battle ahead, how do you see his move?
Yes, he named it the Edo PDP Legacy Coalition. It came about because of the massive requests by concerned party members committed to achieving victory for the PDP in Edo state. Others from the APC, the Labour Party, and others who are desirous of fighting a common cause in 2024 are also in the coalition. So Chief Dan Orbih named the new movement Legacy Coalition. It is a coalition of like minds across the political landscape of Edo State.
If the disunity in the PDP continues don’t you fear that the PDP might again be endangered in the forthcoming election?
Of course, we can exercise such fears, but Edo people are very well aware that the PDP is the Party to beat, and that the governor came to join PDP in 2020. Ordinarily, PDP was not known for such crises until the governor started his politics of marginalisation and discrimination.
The state secretary of the PDP recently said that the Orbih leadership should be allowed to produce the next governorship candidate, if the governor’s camp rebuffs this, what do you think will happen?
The State Secretary spoke the minds of many party leaders and members of the party. As the Secretary said, if Governor Obaseki came with his Deputy and also appointed only his friends from APC into his cabinet, then it is only fair for us to produce the next governor and deputy and for Governor Obaseki to support us. That will be the best way to achieve success. If the governor’s camp refuses, the Legacy Coalition will nominate its candidate and campaign vigorously for that candidate. I can assure you that the Legacy Coalition has the support of the people of the state.
What will the zoning arrangement in your faction look like?
We are the party and not a faction. I am not aware of any zoning arrangement. We have never zoned the governorship ticket in Edo PDP, but if the party takes a decision on that, I will let you know.
The Deputy Governor of the state, Hon. Phillip Shaibu recently declared his governorship ambition for the 2024 election, are you likely to work with him?
The deputy governor has been making his moves for a while now and his declaration indicates he is very serious. Although I am yet to hear he has joined the Legacy Coalition, he is welcome to seek nomination along with other qualified aspirants. But be informed that we are surely going to work with any candidate that our Legacy Coalition supports.