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APC risks losing Edo if factions refuse to sheathe swords, says Momoh

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A founding member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Tony Momoh, has warned that the party risks losing Edo State to a better organized opposition if the warring factions headed by the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole and the incumbent, Governor Godwin Obaseki and their supporters refuse to embrace peace and work for the party.

Momoh, while reacting to the new development in which the Special Adviser, Media and Communication Strategy to the Edo State Government, Crusoe Osagie, accused the national chairman of disrupting the peace and cause mayhem in the state ahead of the party’s primary and the governorship election. In a statement last week, the governor through Osagie had raised the alarm where he called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, and the presidency to prevail on Oshiomhole, who he said would descend on Edo again with his orgy of violence starting from February.

The statement reads: “This morning, we woke up to the news of explosives going off in parts of the state and reported movement of thugs with arms and ammunition to cause mayhem.

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“This follows several other acts of violence perpetuated by Comrade Oshiomhole, including attacks on the governor, traditional rulers and business magnates in Oshiomhole’s country home in Auchi, brigandage, and arsons in Benin City, and recent violent clash in Auchi on Saturday, January 23rd and violent attacks on persons reported in different parts of the state.”

Osagie further accused Oshiomhole of being intoxicated with power, saying, “Oshiomhole, along with his co-conspirators in the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), which he sponsors, appears hell-bent on pushing the state to the precipice with the intent of creating the impression that law and order has effectively broken down in the state.”

According to him, “We once again call on the IGP and the Presidency to rein in Oshiomhole and stop this madness. If Oshiomhole were not occupying the office of the National Chairman of APC – even though he has been suspended in the ward, local government area, and state levels – he certainly would have been unable to conduct himself in this manner that has left the people of Edo State in a state of apprehension.

“We, however, want to assure Edo people that the state government is working with relevant security agencies to ensure that peace and safety are maintained. They are advised to go about their lawful businesses as we monitor the situation as it unfolds. We are on top of the situation and would ensure that the peace in our state is not threatened by any individual or groups, no matter how highly placed.”

But while speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Momoh, who is also an elder statesman from Edo State, expressed concern that contrary to what people outside were thinking, “the leadership of APC is not resting on its oars to ensure that peace returns to the party in Edo,” adding that in case of conflict resolution, if all the warring parties refused to back down and embrace the best option, it is best to allow them to exhaust their powers.

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He, however, warned that in the case of Edo APC “the danger ahead is if Oshiomole’s EPM and Obaseki/Shaibu Movement (OSM) refuse to embrace peace and resolved their differences, both factions would be left to test their strength in the primary before August.”

According to him, “Should that be the final resolution, what might likely happen is that an organized opposition may embrace the group that loses in the APC primary between OSM and EPM to trash us in the election because the gulf between Obaseki and Oshiomhole appears to be getting wider and wider on a daily basis.”

Citing the case of how APC lost Zamfara State and couldn’t participate in any of the elections in Rivers State in 2019, the former Minister of Information and Strategy insisted that discipline must be brought to bear in the party.

“What is going on In Edo is not healthy for APC,” he said. “I still believe peace will reign if the party does what it is supposed to do ahead of the primary and the election.”

But the National Vice Chairman of APC, Southwest zone, Mr. Bankole Oluwajana, described what is happening in Edo as ‘a storm in the teacup’. He said as soon as the party’s candidate emerges “the crisis would be resolved. How the candidate will emerge is what I don’t know yet. To most of you that are outside politics, the rumbles in Edo APC is strange but it is part of party politics just like it happened in Lagos State when the immediate past governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, was denied second term ticket by the state chapter in circumstances that appeared as if the party would lose the governorship election, but at the end of the day we are still in power.”

Oluwajana, however, appealed to Oshiomhole and Obasaeki and their supporters to tread softly and embrace peace in the interest of development, growth and the good of Edo citizens.

Meanwhile one of the adherents of the national chairman, Chris Okaeben when contacted said events have overtaken the statement issued by Osagie.

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