Adetutu Folasade-Koyi, Abuja
Some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have said that the disqualification of Governor Godwin Obaseki from participating in the primary election scheduled for June 22 has saved Edo APC from defeat in the coming governorship election.
In a statement issued in Abuja, yesterday, the APC leaders in Edo State said that the decision of the party has saved APC from collapse and defeat in the September governorship election, claiming that there was wide jubilation in the state over the ‘good news’ of Obaseki’s disqualification.
Explaining why Obaseki’s candidature would have been a “major disaster” in the coming election, some chieftains of the party said that there was no way the governor could be trusted with a second term.
They claimed that the Obaseki-led government had made life difficult and almost unbearable for party members and Edo people in the last three and half years.
In the statement signed by the leaders: Benson Edosonman (Edo South Senatorial Leader); Chief Francis Inegbeniki (Edo Central Senatorial Leader); Chief Simon Omofuma (Leader); Hon David Iyoha (former Speaker, Edo House of Assembly); Hon Thomas Okosun (former Chairman ACN, and former Speaker EDHA); Mrs Elizabeth Ativie (former Speaker EDHA); Prince Malik Afegbua, (member APC, BoT) and Washington Osifo (member-elect, EDHA), they accused the governor of maltreatment, illegal arrests and detention of chieftains and arrogant posturing in managing the affairs of the state.
They said: “Those who are complaining about the disqualification of Godwin Obaseki don’t know what is happening in Edo State. The wide and huge jubilation that greeted the decision of the party on Friday, is a testimony to the fact that majority of our party’s members are happy with the party.
“A candidature of Godwin Obaseki would have led to our party’s major defeat in the September governorship election. Here was a man who said that our national chairman and his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, must take permission from him before entering the state.
“Here was a man with his many atrocities, who refused to inaugurate 14 APC members of House of Assembly, stated arrogantly that his second term was not negotiable. It would have been a disaster if he was allowed to contest election under our party.’’
The party stalwarts also scourged the governor for the attack on state lawmakers by suspected thugs loyal to the state government, sacking of eight commissioners and special advisers loyal to Oshiomhole, litigation against the nomination of former Deputy Governor Pius Odubu as Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) chairman, and illegal removal of council chairmen.
They also mentioned how Obaseki sealed up the hotel belonging to one of the party’s youth leaders, Comrade Osakpomwan Eriyo, adding that he also ordered the seizure of his working equipment, including caterpillars and excavators.
They also accused the governor of banning political rallies and gatherings by threatening to revoke certificates of occupancy of venues hosting such gatherings.
His other “sins,” they said, include confrontation to the defection of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to APC, lying against Oshiomhole that he was pushing for his impeachment, instigating thugs to attack Prof. Julius Ihonvbere’s constituency office, threatening to deal with Oshiomhole and demolition of the hotel belonging to Comrade Tony Kabaka Adun.
“If Godwin Obaseki thinks he is popular, let him go and contest election in other parties. With Obaseki out of our way, APC’s victory in the governorship election will be very sweet,” they said.