Rumble in Edo over Oshiomhole’s successor
For the first time in their seven and a half years as governor and deputy governor, an open rift between Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his deputy Pius Odubu has ensued over allegations of who was responsible for penultimate Sunday’s attack on Odubu in Auchi, Etsako West Local Government Area, when his campaign train visited to talk to delegates.
Before then there was allegation that Odubu had wanted to harm his principal using voodoo, an allegation reportedly denied by Odubu when he met with Oshiomhole and some close associates. He also denied publicly.
Odubu had said he owes no one apology for being loyal to Oshiomhole since it was for the betterment of the people of the state. “If I subscribe to a course, I go all the way to ensure that I succeed. So if my being loyal to Mr. Governor will make us succeed as a government, then I have no regret being loyal to him. I don’t believe in fighting for the sake of fighting. In a situation where you have a man or woman doing all that you expected, and perhaps more, do you fight such a person because you want to assert yourself?”
The Guardian gathered that the cold war got close to boiling point when the deputy governor “deliberately” arrived at a function recently, after the governor was already seated, with his large entourage. A development some of the governor’s associates saw as an affront and taking politics too far.
There are conflicting reports on the attack on Odubu, which took place in Oshiomhole’s local government area. Some aides and security personnel to Odubu sustained gunshot injuries.
The Guardian gathered that trouble started when some persons were locked out of the venue of Odubu’s meeting with delegates in Auchi, due to lack of space, a development those locked out saw as a ploy to deny them participation, which reportedly led to the melee and the shooting.
Concerned about the political and social implication of the face-off, some traditional rulers in Edo North said they would investigate the matter, but the Otaru of Auchi, Alhaji Aliru Momoh Ikelebe III, said youths in his kingdom where the incident happened are not known to own guns.
Speaking to journalists shortly after a meeting of traditional rulers from the Senatorial District, he said; “We will be seeing the governor and his deputy over the issue. The dispute between the deputy governor and the governor is one of the issues and also the issues of the House of Assembly and we want find lasting solution to them; we want to see the governor and hear from him what is happening. For us the issues are germane, we have to look for a way to address them, that is why we have resolved to go into the matter and try to settle them.
“I can assure you that we have disciplined youth in this community and, they don’t have the gun to go and be shooting at people and we don’t have guns in Auchi. It is a case of internal political conflicts and those conflicts are exclusive to them. I am not aware that any Auchi youth has taken part in that crisis. The incident that happened in Auchi was one that nobody expected to happen and we are as a community are very sympathetic with the deputy governor, but we are investigating who and who would have been responsible”
Meanwhile, some civil society organisations have called on the Commissioner of Police, Edo State, CP Chris Ezeike to arrest and prosecute the political thugs that attacked Odubu, saying the ugly situation portends danger for our nascent democracy.
The group in a press release signed by their publicity secretary, Kola Edokpayi said it is on record that thugs also invaded Oredo Local Government Secretariat some weeks ago, and up till now the Police have not arrested anybody, even when the car belonging to the Deputy Commissioner of Police was attacked by the thugs who took over the Local Government Secretariat.
The group led by Abraham Oviawe Esq, condemned the attack on Odubu, saying; “ It beats rational imagination that in an era of civilization people don’t appreciate the ethics and ethos of universal democracy, which gives the Deputy Governor the right to aspire or vie for any position as far as he is qualified.
“As the gubernatorial election approaches, we urge politicians not to regard politics as do or die affair, as the era of politics with bitterness has been consigned to the dustbin of history. They should abide by the fundamental rules and regulations of the game and desist from using our youths for thuggery and hooliganism for their egocentric interests.”
They however appealed to the Deputy Governor, in the interest of peace to appeal to his supporters to be calm and law abiding, more so that the state is still mourning the transition of the revered Benin monarch to the land of his ancestors.
Another group, N’ Edo Gheria has called on the Inspector General of Police to bring to book those who masterminded the attack.
The group in a statement also admonished politicians, particularly political office seekers to caution their supporters as service to a people should not be seen as a do or die affair.
Coordinator of the group, Agene Patrick said, if what happened to the Deputy Governor, Dr Odubu is treated with kid gloves, the effect is that more violent crimes could be looming in the dark.
Flowing from the division in the system, a group, League of Young Edo Professionals (LEYEP) took a swipe at Odubu, for going ahead with his campaigns when the entire state is mourning the transition of the Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Oba Erediauwa.
Secretary-General of the group, Dr Osatohamwen Nosakhare, in a statement noted that while all other aspirants in the APC, have since suspended their campaigns as a mark of respect for the late royal father, only Odubu, who is described a Benin son, has continued campaigning around the state.
In his reaction, the Director of Media, Odubu Campaign Organisation Joseph Omorotionmwan said; “We were the first to show concern over the passage of the Oba of Benin. We deeply respect the institution of the Oba of Benin kingdom and, more so, the Oba just passed on. He was a nice father to all of us and we deeply regret his passage. Therefore, nobody should issue a template on how to mourn him.”
The Odubu Campaign organisation has called on the national leadership of All Progressives Congress to immediately intervene in the political development of the party in Edo State ahead of the September governorship election.
It is hoped that the leadership of the party will respond swiftly to call the warring factions to order, even as the fracas in the state House of Assembly is yet another leg of the tussle. The governorship ticket is at stake, and has capacity to tear the party apart.
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