Edo 2024: Is PDP Consensusing for Asue?

Asue Ighodalo, former Chairman of Sterling Bank Plc.

Edo 2024: Is PDP Consensusing for Asue?

By Elempe Dele.

Mr. Asue Ighodalo Esq. a consummate businessman and one of the Peoples Democratic Party’s, PDP, gubernatorial aspirants in Edo State seems to be making more positive headlines than expected since he entered the fray last year.

Although the former Chairman, Board of Directors, Sterling Bank has been an associate of Governor Obaseki over the years having been chairing the yearly Alaghodaro Summit organized by the Edo State Government, Asue, who many have thought will exhibit political naivity, has surprisingly been playing his politics with adept competence beyond expectations.

My first observation of one of the foremost commercial lawyer known for providing innovative, competent, cost-effective and well-timed solutions for clients within the business community was how he effectively navigated his ambition away from the public attempt to tie him to the apron of Governor Obaseki. In December last year, he made it clear he is not a walking stick of anyone. He said, “I am here to serve the state, and I can say I am the best man for the job. I hear people saying I am someone’s candidate, but I can tell you that I am nobody’s candidate. All I will do is to bring my experience to bear, having been chairman of several top companies.” ‘I am nobody’s candidate’ etched a resonance in the minds of those who felt he would be an attachment to the state governor.

My second encounter with him was during the yearly Christmas party at Ogbonna organized by the South South Vice Chairman, PDP, Chief Dan Orbih. The country home of the amiable leader was charged with who-is-who in Edo State PDP, and surprisingly, against all odds, the former Chairman, Nigeria Breweries, was conspicuously there. To me, that was a political masterstroke. It was an opportunity for him to warm himself not only to Chief Orbih, but to thousands of members of the party who came from the 18 Local Government of the state to honour the former Edo State PDP chairman in his country home. It was also an opportunity to mix freely with several aspirants who where there present to make their political statements through visibility.

The likes of Anselm Ojezua Esq, Hon. John Yakubu, Hon. Omorogie Ogbeide-Ihama, Hon. John Yakubu, Comrade Philip Shaibu and Hon Felix Akhabue where all there present. However, Mr. Asue Ighodalo stole the spotlight in my own estimation as his presence at the get-together party elicited some measure of surprise – something of a rare departure from the expected absence by all and sundry.

No one expected him to grace the occasion so he ordinarily was the cynosure of prying eyes. Could this be real? You will not fail to sense those questioning and furtive eyes.

This surprise was not unexpected – there has been a long standing awkward and reciprocal ill-feelings between the Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and the host, Chief Dan Orbih, since after the 2020 gubernatorial election. So it was expected that Mr Asue, who people rumour to has the backing of the governor, to also continue distancing himself from the former Edo State PDP chairman.

But this was not the case. He came, sat like every every single visitor, mingled with the people in the open air, spoke in a friendly manner when called upon to speak while his branded caps rented the air conspicuously.

In recent times, there have been gale of consensus at stepping down by some intended aspirants for Asue which gave rise to this article. The firsts to throw in the towel were Hon. Friday Itulah and Hon. Kenneth Ahbulimen, both from Edo Central Senatorial District.
While disclosing their decision to step down, they expressed their confidence in Ighodalo’s candidacy and emphasized the importance of party unity to secure victory in the forthcoming election.

They said the decision was in the spirit of patriotism as they are putting the interest of Esan people and Edo people ahead of their personal interests.

This declared support by the two aspirants was followed by that of the former Speaker, House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Marcus Onobun(ksc)

In a statement made available to press men last week, the House of Representative member declared his support for Asue. The statement read in part:

“I have done Consultation across the state, and in the Spirit of Sportsmanship and respect for our leaders, I wish to suspend my Aspiration for Edo Governorship 2024 and Support my Brother, Bar. Asue Ighodalo.”

On Monday of this week, a political pressure group within PDP, Edo North Elders Forum, organized a meeting with members of the group and party from the 6 LGs that make up the senatorial district. From what was reported, the group adopted Asue as the candidate to fly the flag of the party.

On Friday, which is 2 days from today, he will formally declare his intention to run as governor of Edo State in Benin City.

There are rumours that as part of backdoor negotiations and horse-trading, he will make one of the popular aspirants from Edo South Senatorial District his running mate. This is yet to be confirmed by anyone within his political caucus.

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