I will lose integrity if I return to APC, Obaseki says

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Fielding questions from State House correspondents after the meeting with President Buhari, Obaseki dismissed suggestions that he was set to leave the PDP for the APC, which he said would amount to going against President Muhammadu Buhari’s gospel of integrity.

“[Buhari] said that he wants to leave a democracy that is built on integrity, accountability and hard work. Those were his words and I subscribe totally to that,” Obaseki told journalists after meeting Buhari on Friday morning.

“I couldn’t have contested on a party, won on that party and then consider moving to another party.

“It is not the kind of thing to do; it’s not the right thing to do and I am sure you will not encourage me to do that.”

He, however, pledges loyalty and support to Buhari, whom he said was instrumental to his reelection as Edo State governor.

Obaseki said: “You would recall a couple of weeks before the election, I came to see you and you assured me that we were going to have a free, peaceful and credible election. That is what we had during the election of 19th September and the whole world has acclaimed that Edo election was perhaps one of the best conducted in recent times in Nigeria. This could not have been possible without your insistence that the right things be done, and for that, we want to say thank you very much.”

Obaseki dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following his disqualification from the party’s gubernatorial primaries.

Obaseki also said he was not disposed to replace former APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, as the new godfather of Edo politics, saying “I should he dealt with accordingly,” if he attempts to do so.

The newly elected Governor dismissed the idea of godfatherism in the polity, adding that the concept was outside the purview of the constitution of Nigeria.

“In the case of godfathers in our politics, I have said in several fora that the whole concept of godfatherism is very dangerous to our democracy,” Obaseki said.

“And that is why when we came into the political fray 2006/2007, the mantra then was to get rid of godfathers from our political life. The reason is simple, the godfather has no constitutional responsibility, the godfather acts outside the constitution and controls people who are constitutional players. So, if we allow that sort of situation to continue, it will be worse than military rule.

“When people who have nothing at stake, no checks and balances just arbitrarily decide that this is the way the constitution should be interpreted or constitutional players should operate, that’s why problems come in.

“God forbid I become a godfather, I should be dealt with accordingly because it’s dangerous to the concept of democracy.”

On how he plans to go about unifying the Edo people after such exchanges of hurtful words during the campaigns, he responded thus: “It is really unfortunate that there was so much bitterness and I can assure that most of it did not come from my camp because, we were not desperate but that is neither here nor there.”

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