Tony Osauzo, Benin
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Chief Charles Idahosa, has described as ‘unfair’ those accusing former governor Adams Oshiomhole of attempting to take Chief John Odigie-Oyegun’s job as national chairman.
He said ethnicity or tribe has nothing to do with the party’s leadership, but performance.
Idahosa, who was reacting to comments by some persons who are raising ethnic sentiments on the issue of the national chairmanship of the APC, revealed how Oshiomhole killed the aspiration of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi, to ensured the emergence of Oyegun as national chairman of the party.
President Muhammadu Buhari and governors of the APC had, recently, endorsed Oshiomhole for the national chairmanship of the party.
But, according to Idahosa, those accusing Oshiomhole, who is also from Edo state as Chief Oyegun, of alleged attempt to take over the job of a Benin man, are very unfair to Oshiomhole.
“While I was abroad, people said Oshiomhole wanted to forcefully take the job of a Benin man; those people are ignorant, because they don’t even know how Oyegun became chairman. What has ethnicity got to do with the national chairmanship of the APC? Oshiomhole is an Edo man just like Oyegun. Long before now, I was one of the party leaders who opposed Odigie-Oyegun; I am a Benin man like Oyegun, but the party was not growing well under him.
“I felt Oyegun did not do well enough to keep the party together. So, it has nothing to do with tribe. If it is ethnicity, I will be the first to support Oyegun.
“In 2014, myself and Oshiomhole played a very serious role to ensure the emergence of Oyegun, but, a lot of people did not know that. Tom Ikimi was already coasting to victory as the unopposed candidate from Edo state, but, I made the state working committee to reopen the agenda, after we all had agreed on Tom Ikimi. Oshiomhole asked me to move the motion that we wanted Oyegun. He said, ‘please Charles, do it for me, we want Oyegun, do it for me’. And I moved the motion which changed the state’s earlier support for Ikimi, in favour of Oyegun. Oshiomhole is from Edo north, but why did he not say because Oyegun is from Benin, he will not support him?
“When he (Oyegun) got there as national chairman, he was not putting the party together the way I expected, and because I don’t hide my feelings, I started attacking him. It does not mean I don’t respect him. He has tried his best, but, we need a change.
“When I lost my mother he called to commiserate with me. But, I felt he was not doing what he should do as a national chairman of a ruling party and that is why we have too much crisis in the party today.