There have been different peddled versions of what transpired between Chief Dan Orbih, the PDP South South National Chairman and Godwin Obaseki, the Edo State governor. However, as a stakeholder and an insider, it is imperative at this historical point to detail to the public what actually transpired that led to the never ending frosty relationship.
I can say for sure both were never really good friends or even acquaintances because of the differences in political affiliations. While Dan Orbih was the PDP Chairman, Godwin Obaseki was in APC as the Chairman of the Economic Team under the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who will later be dismissed from office by Godwin Obaseki after a protracted face-off that lasted for about 2 years when Obaseki became the governor and Oshiomhole was the national chairman of APC.
We can take a look back towards the ill- feelings both have for each other when some aggrieved members of PDP, mostly Abuja residents then called the Abuja politicians courted Obaseki to join PDP at the climax of his bitter dispute with Oshiomhole without consulting Dan Orbih who had already prepared the Party for the 2020 gubernatorial election. So there was a court injunction to stop the governor from joining PDP because it was assumed that he undermined the Party members at the state level. It took the intervention of Governor Wike, a now sworn enemy of Obaseki, to settle the rift between both parties so the case could be withdrawn as to allow him contest under PDP, which he eventually did with the assistance of every member of PDP, including Chief Dan Orbih who was the Director of Campaigns. It is on record that Dan Orbih did not miss any of the 192 wards in the state, jumping from one podium to the other campaigning rigorously.
Then after the election in 2020, Governor Godwin Obaseki approached Dan Orbih to discuss on how best to integrate both the now famous new PDP and the Legacy PDP into one single formidable unit. As a leader who had led the Party for over a decade, he proffered a very simple solution which could be found partly in an interview conducted by Engr Mike Enahoro in 2021;
“In my interview with the National Vice Chairman in charge of South-South, Chief Dan Orbih, he said to me and I quote, ”after we won the 2020 gubernatorial election, the Governor came to me to seek my advice on how ‘his people’ that came with him from APC could be integrated into our Party because they had to drop their positions therein to follow him. I told him, Your Excellency, this is simply;
appoint the people presently holding party positions as excos into your government so that they can relinquish those positions for ‘your people’. Without going away to consult about it, His Excellency told me point blank that he is not ready to bargain with anyone on the issue at all. I was a bit taken aback because I felt he wanted a genuine answer to the challenge at hand. It was later on that I got to understand that the Governor just wanted those already holding party positions in PDP to be sacked without compensation of any form. And in all honesty, I felt this will be an injustice against them. I have always stood for fairplay, justice and equity. And it is a consistent demand I have asked from myself. To cut the long story short, he requested for the dissolution of the party excos, members of the Party went to court to stop it as it is illegal. He sort for harmonization of the excos without consent of members, it was also stopped in court as no part of the PDP Constitution have that section.”
“A lot of half-truth, outright lies, propaganda and so on have been peddled concerning the crisis in Edo State PDP, but no one have actually heard from my side, which I consider the Danger of Single Story; you don’t take one side of a story and use it to judge a matter, you won’t be fair. I have never heard a personal altercation with the governor, I have always maintained that the sanctimoniousness of the PDP Constitution cannot be discounted for any reason. Yes, if we go to court, we do so to protect against the desecration of the Party’s Constitution, nothing more. At least, history and posterity will judge our actions and inaction, our accuracy and inaccuracies and our lies and truth which form the foundations of whatever we do and say on this matter.”