Tony Osauzo, Benin
Four Edo State gubernatorial aspirants on the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform, have condemned what they described as a needless crisis that has engulfed the party in the state since the middle of 2018.
The governorship aspirants, former deputy governor, Dr Pius Odubu, General Charles Airhiavbere (retd), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Dr Chris Ogiemwonyi, gave the condemnation at a joint press conference in Benin City.
They blamed the crisis on the deliberate alienation of party leaders and members by the Edo State government which they said they worked hard to install in 2016 through the wishes of Edo people.
Speaking on behalf of other aspirants, Dr Pius Odubu stated that the orgy of politically motivated violence which swept through the state during the period, which targeted members of the party with opposing views from the state government, coupled with the attacks on the person of the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and others perceived as threats to the second term ambition of Governor Obaseki, negated their collective desire for a party that is stable, virile and viable.
They lamented the inauguration crisis of the state House of Assembly, saying that the inability of elected members of the legislative arm, all on the platform of the APC, to perform their responsibility of lawmaking for which they were elected since June 2019 was “unprecedented and does not represent the progressive character of Edo people.”
The governorship aspirants passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of the party at the state and national level, led by Col. David Imuse (retd) and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, respectively, just as they commended the traditional institution in the state led by the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, who took various steps to promote peace and unity (in the party).
“We also express our gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and other national leaders of the party for their insistence on “party supremacy,” they said, adding that the successes recorded with the recent inclusion of Bayelsa and Imo states as APC states must serve as impetus for the party to retain Edo State with, “firmer grip” in this year’s gubernatorial election.
The governorship aspirants reiterated their commitment to ensuring full compliance with the party’s directives regarding the elections and urged Governor Godwin Obaseki to subject himself to party laws and rules to elicit “the respect, order and decency which lies in the interrelationship between government and the people.”
They announced that after consultation with other critical stakeholders, they unequivocally and wholeheartedly welcome the urgent intervention of the APC National Reconciliation Committee led by the Senate President, Dr Ahmed Lawan, stressing that they were ready with their memoranda for presentation to the committee.
“As stakeholders, we have made both individual and collective efforts at restoring sanity to the APC in the state though it appears that as the state moves towards elections, the apprehension in the land is on the increase.
“In our views, there is a need for sanity to prevail in Edo APC as it remains the party that would enable all of us as stakeholders to realise our individual and collective aspirations so as to provide effective, efficient and productive leadership for our dear state,” the governorship aspirants said.