Mr Osekola Obaze
Winner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary for the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State, Mr Oseloka Obaze, has dismissed claims that former governor, Peter Obi, is his political godfather.
Obaze who was the Secretary to the State Government under the administration of Mr Obi says contrary to such claims which border on “semantics”, the former governor refers to him as “Senior”.
“Peter Obi was my junior in school. He got into school as I was leaving. As I sit here, (if) Peter Obi walks into here, he addresses me as “Senior”. He has never called me by my first name,” Obaze told Seun Okinbaloye when he appeared on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
Although Mr Obi was his boss while he was SSG, both men have known each other for years.
“It’s a childhood friendship between families that has run for the better part of 40 years. We know each other. When he was governor, until I became his SSG, I don’t think I even visited his office once. I was at the United Nations. When he came to me to look for me to become his SSG, it took him a whole year to convince me. I had a better job; I was not looking for a day job,” Mr Obaze added.
The governorship aspirant faulted the thinking of those behind the claims, arguing that in politics, all walks of life, everybody has an individual that supports them as a mentor, brother, colleague and so on.
He added, “So, in this business, Alex Ekwueme, I have known since childhood. He was the former vice president of this country. I have known him since I was seven. When I started this business of running for this office, I went to consult him. So, why don’t they see him as my Godfather?”
Mr Obaze’s emergence as the winner of the PDP primary for the Anambra governorship election has generated controversy with some aspirants claiming he was imposed on the party.
He polled 672 votes, his closest rival Dr Alex Obiogbolu got 190 votes, while Capital Oil boss Mr Ifeanyi Ubah polled 94 votes, according to the results announced by the Governor of Ebonyi State, Mr Dave Umahi, who supervised the poll.
But Mr Ubah has rejected the outcome and intends to seek redress in court. Mr Ubah, who also appeared on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, argued that Mr Obaze was not qualified to contest in the primary in the first case.
Mr Obaze, however, denied the claims, saying he “certainly” met the requirement to contest in the primary.
On claims that he got a provisional waiver, Mr Obaze said, “No, I got a provisional clearance and, subsequently, I got a waiver from the National Caretaker Committee.”
He added, “You have the National Working Committee and you have the NEC that is the whole body. When they are not in full session, the Working Committee takes care of business. But the waiver was duly given.
He also rejected claims that he was imposed on the party, saying it is a matter of perception.
“The process was clear, due process. The primary was conducted transparently on national television. So, I don’t understand where this is coming from. I don’t want to ascribe labels to people who are sore losers but that seems to be the case.”