File photograph of Obsaeki (left) and President Buhari
The newly reelected Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki told State House correspondents in Abuja on Friday that President Muhammadu Buhari jokingly told him that he reluctantly congratulated him on his re-election because he defeated the candidate of his party, the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Obaseki had dumped the APC for the rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as part of the high points of the election when the APC denied him a ticket on the platform of the party, which would have enabled him to seek rerun on the back of the APC. Aside the fact that the party denied him the ticket, they started ganging up to ensure that he does not stand the chance of a second tenure in office.
In the calculation of the APC, they never believed that the PDP, which already had candidates would welcome Obaseki and also hand him over their ticket and support to run. The governor, who was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party beat Osagie Ize-Iyamu of Buhari’s All Progressives Congress and others to win the last Saturday’s governorship election in Edo state.
Obaseki disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of a meeting he had with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. He said, “Mr President, in his characteristic humorous manner, said he reluctantly congratulated me for beating his party.
“He also pointed out that his role, first and foremost as President of Nigeria, is to be President of all regardless of your party, race, tribe, creed. “We couldn’t ask for more from Mr President, he really played the role of his statement.” Obaseki said he and members of his entourage were in the Presidential Villa to thank Buhari for his insistence that the governorship election in the state must be credible.
“For that act alone, we felt we must come and say thank you. I am not just coming along with my deputy, we came to say thank you with the representatives of Edo people – our senators, members of the House of Representatives, our senior citizens and party leaders,” he said.