A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Patron of Pan-Igbo socio cultural group, Okpoko Igbo, Tobby Anumaka has predicted the fall of Governor Godwin Obaseki in the forthcoming governorship race in Edo State. In this interview, he spoke on various issues.
Do you think peace has returned to APC with the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari which led to the dissolution of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling party?
I thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his intervention in the leadership tussle that nearly tore our great party apart. The President took the right step by convening emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting and the outcome was the ousting of Victor Giadom as acting National Chairman and the dissolution of the NWC led by ex-Edo State Governor and former National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. I will describe the decision as no victor, no vanquished. As it stands now, there is no loser or winner, hence what is required from all members is to support the acting National Chairman of the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee and governor of Yobe State, Mai-Mala Buni to reposition the party in order to win the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states. Our members in Edo should join hands with the Reconciliation Committee led by former Senate President and National leader of our great party, Sen. Ken Nnamani to reconcile aggrieved members ahead of 2023.
The recent power play in the ruling party, many believe, is targeted against the National leader of APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu’s Presidential ambition in 2023, do you share the same view?
I said earlier that it is a win-win situation because Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu and Oshiomhole are well represented in the Caretaker Committee. Their resolve to adhere to the decision of the leadership of the party led by President Buhari shows that both men have the interest of APC and the wellbeing of Nigerians at heart. The position of the party and the way APC is presently structured, cannot stop Tinubu or any individual from contesting the Presidency if he or she so wish in 2023, after all, the National leader of our great party, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu is well represented in the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Committee. Take it or leave it, lasting peace has come to our great party.
Even when both men, Tinubu and Oshiomhole boycotted the NEC meeting presided by President Buhari, saying the President was ill-advised?
Those are political statements, but for the sake of peace, President Buhari urged members of the party to withdraw all pending litigations, and settle for internal reconciliation. Mr. President warned members of the danger of disagreement which he said could lead to self-destruction. The President who is the leader of the party further admonished members to place national interest and the interest of the party above their individual interests, saying in order to return to winning ways, the APC must maintain cohesion by closing ranks. So, there is no indication that President Buhari took side in his speech; he encouraged members of the newly constituted Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Committee led by Governor Mai-Mala buni and members of the party to be alive to the time and the task that is ahead of us as we are confronted with the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo, including Senatorial rerun in Imo, Lagos and in other states in the country. Therefore, we must get our acts together for APC to emerge victorious in all these elections. So, I believe that Tinubu and Oshiomhole won’t encourage those loyal to them to challenge the NEC decision in court. However, through reconciliation, aggrieved members will get justice.
Oshiohmole and Chief John Oyegun who are miles apart politically are members of APC Campaign Committee for Edo governorship election, isn’t that a make believe that all is well with the ruling party?
That is not true, rather, all hands are on deck to return Edo State to the ruling party. It is a task for Oshiomhole and Oyegun before the two former National Chairmen of APC to accomplish. Their political ability and capability are on test and at stake, hence only APC victory in Edo will keep them politically relevant. Therefore, they have no option, but to shield their sword and bury their political acrimony and work for the victory of APC in Edo in September.
What is Oshiohmole going to tell Edo people that will make them reject Governor Obaseki whom he praised and sponsored to emerge the APC candidate in 2016?
Governor Godwin Obaseki is an ungrateful person. He was nobody politically before the former National Chairman of our great party, Comrade Oshiohmole picked him and single handedly made him governor. He bites the finger that fed him and I assure you that the APC candidate, Pastor Ize-Iyamu will emerge victorious. On what Oshiohmole is going to tell the people of Edo that will make them reject Governor Obaseki at the poll, some can be good today and tomorrow the person turns to a bad person and bad person can turn a new leaf and become a good example.
Away from Edo, let’s talk about the crisis in Ohaneze Ndigbo with the emergence of a factional chairman in the person of Basil Onyeachonam, many have described the splinter group as sponsored agents to destabilise Igbo ahead of 2023, what is your take?
As I speak with you, Ohanaeze has no factions and there is no factional chairman. Ohanaeze Ndigbo is one and no individual or group can destabilise Igbo land. Of course, you heard of how the so-called faction of Ohanaeze was de-registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). I don’t want to dwell on this matter so that I don’t give meaning to a meaningless bunch of rascals. Ohanaeze has only one authentic apex leader and President General and he is no other person but Chief Nnia Nwodo.