The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has said the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, is not a member of the party.
Obaseki also said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had directed the state APC to deal with the pro-Oshiomhole Edo Progressive Movement and the national chairman for anti-party activities.
The governor, according to a Government House statement sent to our correspondent on Thursday evening, said these at a rally of the APC members from the Owan East and West Local Government Areas in Sabogida-Ora earlier on Thursday
Efforts of the APC to resolve the crisis in its Edo State chapter have so far not succeeded with factions loyal to Obaseki and Oshiomhole insisting on their positions.
On November 12, the crisis worsened as each of the two rival factions suspended Oshiomhole and Obaseki.
Obaseki had rejected a peace committee set up by the APC National Working Committee late November on the grounds that the panel, headed by the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, was the brainchild of the Oshiomhole-led NWC
Again on November 18, the APC set up a 10-member committee, headed by the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawan, but Obaseki opposed it, saying the National Assembly leadership was a party to the crisis in Edo State.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie, had, in an interview with The PUNCH on Monday, said, “We can’t have a committee where we have parties in the dispute as members. It just doesn’t follow the cause of natural justice.
“ The National Assembly is in court as we speak with the House of Assembly in Edo State over the plan to come and take over the operations of the state House of Assembly and then the leaders of the same National Assembly that had wanted to take over the House of Assembly are now the head of the reconciliation committee. Senator Ahmed Lawan, the Senate President, with all due respect, and other leaders of the National Assembly are hell-bent on taking over the Edo House of Assembly.”
On Thursday, the governor said the APC in the state was united, strong and formidable, stressing that members of the EPM were not members of the party.
The governor said, “The APC is one party. Those that say they are in the EPM are not APC, including their national chairman, who we have suspended in Edo State. Those mistakenly elected into Edo State House of Assembly, who are members of the EPM, have been thrown out and the Independent National Electoral Commission is aware and will soon announce a date for a fresh election, where we will have opportunity to elect credible representatives, who will represent us in the House.
“Any person doing anti-party activities, President Muhammadu Buhari has asked us to deal with them. We have been told to go back to organise our party. That’s why we are here. As a ruling party in the state, we have done a lot for the Edo people, moving the state forward progressively, but the EPM are afraid of progress and will do anything to ensure we don’t get another term.”
Obaseki alleged that the EPM members were trying to frustrate the good plans of his government for the people of the state.
“Their intention is to discredit our administration, but the people of Edo know better,” he said.
Obaseki explained that his administration was achieving a lot in agriculture in the state, adding that government would soon commence work on the Sobe-Sabogida-Ora road.
Oshiomhole’s plots have failed – Gov
The governor stated, “The support here today is massive and it speaks volume, further showing that the suspended national chairman’s antics will not work. He no longer has the support of the Edo people. The act of trying to create factions of the APC in Edo State can’t work.
“We are still intact, strong and united. Our politics in Edo State is transparent and can’t tolerate any act of dubiousness. If you are a progressive, you must be a real progressive.”
The Chairman of the Owan West Local Government Area, Frank Ilaboya, commended the governor for his achievements. He said the people of the local government would support him for a second term.
Also, the Chairman of the Owan-East LGA, Andy Osegwue, said the people were behind Obaseki because of his achievements.
Obaseki suffering from diarrhoea of the mouth – Oshiomhole faction
But the secretary of the Oshiomhole faction, Lawrence Okah, said the governor was a political misfit and that the Edo people should ignore him.
He said it was very clear that the governor’s second term ambition had affected his sense of reasoning.
Okah stated, “We don’t really blame his ignorance because it has developed to diarrhoea of the mouth after our national chairman made him governor on a silver platter; a man that had never voted before in Edo State until last year. A man that lost his unit, ward, local government and senatorial district in the presidential election has now turned a superstar due to the fact that he controls the resources of the state. Does he even know what campaigns are? The whole world was even asking us whether he was deaf and dumb when Oshiomhole was marketing him in 2016 because he could not even speak for himself. So, it is funny when he says he now owns the Edo APC.
“We dare him to go and get his own INEC to conduct elections into the state House of Assembly for the 14 members. He will soon realise that the people of Edo State regretted the day they gave him their mandate.
“The fact remains that Obaseki is now going round the state recruiting people that he will move with him to the PDP. Just two days ago, he held a meeting with top PDP leaders in Edo State with a view to perfecting plans for his defection. But we will tell him that none of our members will join him to enter the PDP. Even his deputy, Philip Shaibu, will not follow him to the PDP.”
‘Gov is an embarrassment to APC’
He said, “If he (Obaseki) is a man like he claims, he should have met with the national chairman of our great party to discuss any matter bothering him rather than abusing Oshiomhole behind his back. He is an embarrassment to our party. We say sorry to the great men and women of this party for the daily embarrassment the governor is exhibiting. We are indeed very sorry. I want to urge our people to disregard his careless statements and remain focussed. The Edo State APC under our indisputable leader, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, remains solid.”
The Chief Press Secretary to Oshiomhole, Simon Ebegbulem, could not be reached on his mobile. He promised to call back in a text message when one of our correspondents called his phone, but he had yet to do so as of press time on Thursday.
Also, the mobile of the National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, was engaged when The PUNCH called him. He had also yet to reply a text message sent to him as of 7:27pm on Thursday.
Buhari didn’t give such a directive, Obaseki lied – 14 Edo lawmakers-elect
However, the leader of the 14 lawmakers-elect of the Edo State House of Assembly, Washington Osifo, said Obaseki should be ignored.
He described the statement credited to Obaseki as “the most irresponsible” he had heard.
Osifo said, “It is the most irresponsible statement I have heard from anyone who parades himself as a leader.
“Mr President is not given to frivolities and will never support an unpopular comment from an unpopular leader. Mr President has warned against people using his name to sell their ambition and this is one of such people.
“In the last meeting, the President commended the national chairman, that he didn’t know where he got his energy from. It is the same man Obaseki thinks he is deriding. The President advised everyone to accept that the party is supreme.
“Obaseki is a liar as that can never be the language of Mr President. The President is the man that will talk about unity and cohesion.
“At the last NEC meeting, he agreed to the setting up of the national reconciliation committee which has been done. The same Mr President couldn’t have said as quoted by Obaseki go and deal with who? That is not the language of Mr President. It is the content of his head and not of the President.”
Osifo said Obaseki was making unjustifiable comments to test his popularity, which according to him, he has lost already.
‘INEC won’t conduct Edo Assembly by-election’
He said he was sure INEC would not conduct any by-election into the state assembly.
He added, “INEC as a responsible institution will not conduct any election because it is aware there is no vacancy. The commission is never an offshoot of the man (Obaseki) who doesn’t have control over his speech. He is only embarking on a voyage of discovery, he talks before he reasons.
“He thinks this is the only way he can test his popularity which he has already lost. This is not the first time he will say things that will never find the light of the day. He has recorded lots of shame in the past from what he said would happen and never happened. We are waiting for him. He met us in this party. He will leave us in this party. The APC is our party.”
The PUNCH made fruitless efforts on Thursday to get the Presidency to react to the claim by Obaseki that Buhari had given the Edo APC the mandate to deal with anyone causing trouble for the state chapter of the party.
The PUNCH made further attempts through text messages and emails sent to the two presidential spokespersons, Mr Femi Adesina and Mr Garba Shehu. As of press time on Thursday, none of them had addressed the enquiry by the newspaper.