Tony Osauzo, Benin
Efforts at reconciling factional and warring members of Edo chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) appear to have been foreclosed as Governor Godwin Obaseki, yesterday, announced that the National Chairman of the party and ex-governor, Adams Oshiomhole, is suspended from the party.
He also said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would soon announce a date for fresh elections into the House of Assembly.
Obaseki stated this when he addressed party members from Owan East and West local government areas in Sabogida-Ora.
He debunked insinuations of division in the APC, saying members of the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), including Mr. Oshiomhole were not of the APC as they were working to frustrate his second term bid.
“APC is one party. Those that say they are in EPM are not APC, including their national chairman, who we have suspended in Edo State. Those mistakenly elected into Edo House of Assembly (EDHA) who are members of EPM have been thrown out and INEC is aware and will soon announce a date for a fresh election where we will have the opportunity to elect credible representatives,” he said,
He claimed he had the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari to expel those working to destabilise the party.
According to him, the APC remained united, strong and formidable in the state and the antics of the suspended national chairman would be frustrated.
“He no longer has the support of Edo people. The act of trying to create factions in the APC in Edo can’t work; we’re still intact, strong and united. Their plan is to burn markets and government buildings. Their intention is to discredit our administration, but the people of Edo know better. Any person engaged in anti-party activities, President Muhammadu Buhari, has asked us to deal with them. We have been told to go back to organise our party. As a ruling party, we have done a lot for Edo people, moving the state forward progressively, but EPM (members) are afraid of progress and will do anything to ensure we don’t get another term. Our politics is transparent and can’t tolerate dubiousness. If you are a progressive, you must be a real progressive,” Obaseki said.
But Secretary of the APC in the state, Mr. Lawrence Okah, in a statement, described Obaseki as an “embarrassment and a political misfit” and urged party members to ignore his comments.
“It is very clear and obvious that the governor’s second term ambition has affected his sense of reasoning. We don’t really blame his ignorance because he developed diarrhea of the mouth after our National Chairman made him governor on a platter of gold.
“A man that has never voted before in Edo until last year, lost his unit, ward, local government, senatorial district, and presidential elections has now turned a superstar due to the fact that he controls the resources of the state. Does he even know what campaign is? The whole world was even asking us whether he was deaf and dumb when Oshiomhole was marketing him in 2016 because he cannot even speak for himself. So, it’s funny when he said he now owns the Edo APC. We dare him to go get his own INEC to conduct election in the House of Assembly for the 14 members. He will soon realise that the people of Edo regretted the day they gave him their mandate,” he said.
Okah alleged that Governor Obaseki was planning to defect to the PDP and was going round the state recruiting people to move with him to the opposition party.
“Two days ago, he held a meeting with top PDP leaders in Edo with a view to perfecting plans for his defection. But none of our members will join him to enter PDP. Even his deputy, Philip Shaibu, will not follow him to PDP. He is an embarrassment to our party and the country. We apologise to the great men and women of this party for the daily embarrassment the governor is exhibiting. I want to urge our people to disregard his careless statements and remain focus,” he said.
However, member representing, Akoko Edo federal constituency, Peter Akpatason, has urged aggrieved members to embrace peace in the interest of unity and development.
Deputy Majority Leader, made the appeal at a thanksgiving service in Akoko Edo following his victory at the poll. He said his third term mandate was divine and thanked the people for breaking the record of third term jinx in the constituency.