By Bisi Olaniyi
The Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, and five of the governorship aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state are once again engaged in war of words over the survival of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the National Chairman of the governing party.
The Edo APC governorship aspirants: Dr. Pius Odubu, Saturday Uwalekhue, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Chris Ogienmwonyi and Maj.-Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd.), Tuesday at a news conference in Benin, declared that Obaseki’s attempts to remove his benefactor and immediate predecessor (Oshiomhole) ended in futility.
The chieftains of Edo APC declared that the illegal National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party, fixed for Tuesday, would have caused implosion in APC.
In a three-page address read by Odubu, the governorship aspirants asked the “microscopic few” who wanted to sacrifice all they had collectively built and achieved as a party, on the altar of 2023 unbridled ambition, to have rethink, while insisting that Oshiomhole’s leadership of APC had brought endless gains and possibilities to the party and he would be adequately supported.
The governorship aspirants said: “March 16, 2020 will indeed linger in our memories as a day of victory for justice, due process, for transcending darkness, rule of law, for upholding constitutionalism and the respect for party supremacy and internal mechanism of conflict resolution.
“As we celebrate these victories, it is also a moment of sober reflection for us in Edo State APC, as we remember the unwholesome roles played by Obaseki in the failed attempt to remove our National Chairman, Comrade Oshiomhole, his benefactor.
“It has been one case of evil, witch-hunting and executive rascality to another. To Obaseki, his second term is not negotiable. It is more important than the lives of people of Edo State. Anyone who dares to stand on his path must be crushed. Edo governor, who ought to be a political leader that unites all members of APC, has become an instrument of division, intimidation, humiliation and political vendetta.
“Obaseki sponsored spurious actions in courts, geared towards the removal of our son, Comrade Oshiomhole, as the National Chairman of APC. We thank God, all his attempts ended in futility. To Obaseki, no Edo man qualifies to hold any high position in Nigeria, as far as he remains governor and he is seeking a second term.”
Edo APC governorship aspirants also appreciated the party’s faithful in the state for their steadfastness and resilience in the midst of the injustice, oppression and provocation, while assuring them that the Egyptians they were seeing today, they would see them no more from November 12 this year.
They hailed President Muhammadu Buhari, whose decision as the leader of APC, helped to restore peace in the party, and the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the progressive governors and other critical stakeholders of the party who stood in defence of party supremacy and Oshiomhole, in appreciation of his sacrifices to APC.
The aspirants asked the “agent provocateurs” to immediately retrace their steps and embrace the supremacy of the party, while urging all the aggrieved members of the party to sheathe their swords and utilise the internal dispute resolution mechanism, as stipulated in APC’s constitution.
They added that the onerous task of delivering the next level dividends of democracy, as promised by APC and President Buhari, should be the primary focus of members of the party.
Obaseki, who reacted through his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, described Edo APC as factionalised, while accusing Odubu, a former deputy governor of the state, and other governorship aspirants on the party’s platform of sabotaging the peace efforts of President Buhari and APC governors, among others.
Edo governor claimed that “these characters” (governorship aspirants) neither meant well for APC nor Oshiomhole.
Obaseki’s media aide said: “Less than 24 hours after the peace initiative by President Buhari and APC governors in Abuja, Odubu has launched a barrage of attacks on the person of Edo State governor, a situation that jeopardises moves to restore peace to a party that has become severely troubled.
“Odubu has been a known frontline speaker for Comrade Oshiomhole during the crisis that preceded the current peace initiative. He (Odubu) is also a frontrunner in the factionalisation of the APC in Edo State, under the supervision of Comrade Oshiomhole.
“They (Edo APC governorship aspirants) will rather continue to stir crisis and disrupt the peace in the state and the party. We call on the Presidency to take note of this trend, aimed at rubbishing all the efforts by President Buhari and the APC governors to bring peace to the party at all levels.
“We challenge Comrade Oshiomhole to come out to publicly denounce the irresponsible comments (of Edo APC governorship aspirants), if he does not subscribe to them. Failure of which proves that he (Oshiomhole) is actively in support of the renewed attacks on Edo governor.”
The governor of Edo state also stated that the attacks on him by the governorship aspirants were consistent with their character, stressing that there was no denying that they would continue, which was why it was pertinent to draw the attention of the Presidency to the antics, aimed at sabotaging the peace efforts of President Buhari, APC governors and other leaders of the party.