Obaseki, Oshiomhole factions intensify schemes to clinch APC guber ticket
The count down to the showdown has reached the stage of “to be or not to be” as the protracted battle between Governor Godwin Obaseki and the national chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, for the soul of Edo State intensifies. Governor Obaseki has vowed to take charge of the leadership of the party in the state despite the odds against his re-election bid by standing his ground and not succumbing to pressures.
Obaseki continues to explain to Edo citizens, home and abroad, how he escaped the huddles laid for him by his predecessor, Oshiomhole, not minding the political dilemma at hand. He reiterated his determination to crush godfatherism in the state, stressing that there is no denying that his disagreement and constant picking of holes in everything and anything that concerns his godfather, Oshiomhole, is an indication that he is ready for the worse, including the Ambode treatment.
Recounting how Oshiomhole picked Philip Shaibu as his deputy and Osarodion Ogie as Secretary to the State Government, Obaseki said the APC National chairman had behaved so believing it was a trap for him. Though Oshiomhole picked the trio who hitherto remain on the list of some of the loyalists to the governor, Obaseki stated that Oshiomhole thought the trio that included himself, his deputy and the SSG would always quarrel, fight and then run to him (Oshiomhole) for settlement.
While speaking at an expanded meeting with leaders of APC from all the wards and local government areas in Edo North at Jattu-Uzaire, Obaseki said due process was followed in the suspension of Oshiomhole, and that any action taken by the suspended national chairman remains ultra vires. Obaseki, who said Oshiomhole could only be considered back into the party when he apologises to members of Edo APC, informed the party at the state level that Oshiomhole could not take any action on behalf of APC because he was validly suspended from his ward.
According to him, “Can you imagine a national chairman that is creating problems in his own house? Because of that we had to suspend him and he remains suspended. We pray that God should have mercy on him, because he has done something bad against God and the people of Edo State. He should find his way back into the party and apologise to all of us. If he comes back remorseful and apologetic, we will consider taking him back.”
Obaseki, who dismissed speculation by his political opponents that he was leaving APC, said only persons involved in anti-party activities would leave the party, adding, “If you cannot be a disciplined member of the party, you will leave the party, whether you are a national chairman or not.
“Oshiomhole cancelled the primaries that were initially done by the party at the state level for the 2019 general elections and did his own. Because he could not control us at the executive, he manipulated the legislature so he can use the house to impeach us.”
The factions in the state’s APC, as has become clear to many politicians and political observer, has further confirmed that the stage is set for Obaseki and his predecessor and national chairman of the APC, Oshiomhole, to dance naked as the party prepares for the party’s primaries. More troubling is the new dimension the fight for supremacy has taken between Oshiomhole and Obaseki, as the governor has said that all those working to destabilise the party under the guise of Edo Peoples Movement (EPM) were not APC members, including Oshiomhole, who he said has been suspended in Edo State.
The governor said he sympathises with the deputy governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, who he said was deceived by Oshiomhole, a man who he had always looked up to in politics describing his deputy as a trusted friend and strong politician.According to him, “Oshiomhole thought he was setting a trap when he chose Philip Shaibu as my deputy and Osarodion Ogie as Secretary to the State Government. He was thinking that we will always quarrel, fight and then run to him for settlement.”
Political observers in the ‘Heartbeat of Nigeria’ are not only astonished by the actions of the governor but wondered how the party intends to surmount the challenging rift between the Oshiomhole and Obaseki’s faction ahead of the party’s primaries coming up early next year.
Obaseki has vowed not to leave APC for Oshiomhole or anyone, just as he dismissed the speculation allegedly peddled by his political opponents that he was leaving the APC, noting that only persons involved in anti-party activities that should leave the party.
Describing Oshiomhole as having lost Edo people’s support, Obaseki said Oshiomhole no longer has control of the party in the state, reiterating that the party remains united, strong and formidable under his leadership. He accused Oshiomhole, who he said remains suspended, of creating factions in the state.
While stressing that EPM members were not in APC, Obaseki said, “Members of the EPM are trying to frustrate the good plans we have for Edo people as they plan to burn markets and government buildings. They intend to discredit our administration but the people of Edo know better. APC is one party. Those that say they are in EPM are not APC.”
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