Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Major General Charles Airhiavbere (retd) has alleged Governor Godwin Obaseki wanted to abandon the party and seek his second term bid on another platform.
Airhiavbere said the governor opted to leave after realising it would be difficult to get a second term ticketin because of his poor management of the party. He alleged that it was Obaseki’s incompetency that was responsible for the crisis in the party, including his falling out with his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole.
Addressing journalists in Benin City, yesterday, Airhiavbere said the impact of the crisis became obvious at the presidential and senatorial election.
“The presidential election in February gave an account of APC political instability in the state. During that as we lost in Edo South and Edo Central; only Edo North produced the percentage that was required for the president to scale through and that was the beginning of the problems of APC
“Since that election, there has not been governance in Edo, and if we allow Obaseki, the opposition will take over. It has been all over the place that he has been trying to cross carpet, trying to look for soft landing, but his main assets which are the APC leaders; he has left them in disarray
“Are you not worried that in a state where you have 24 over 24 in the House of Assembly, there is division, are you not worried that in a state where the governor said he was endorsed by his immediate predecessor in office, he is having problems with him?”
But the governor’s spokesman, Crusoe Osagie described the allegation as baseless.
“That allegation is a complete lie from the pit of hell. Governor Obaseki is firmly rooted in the party, he has recorded 100 per cent in his political career and is performing. He is the leader of the party, controls the party, who will he leave the party for?
“Governor Obaseki has a robust relationship with the presidency and party at the centre. His party is the ruling party in the state and the centre, so where is he leaving to and why should he leave?”
Meanwhile, Edo State chairman, of the APC, Anselm Ojezua, has warned that members establishing parallel groups and working against efforts to strengthen and unite the party would be suspended.
He stated this after a meeting at the party’s secretariat attended by Governor Godwin Obaseki.
He frowned at the attitude of members trying to break the ranks of the party, and said the meeting was held to checkmate members seeking to cause disaffection within the party from having their way.
Ojezua said although the party cannot expel a member, it however had the right to suspend those considered as dissidents.
“This one, goes with suspension, with the possibility of expulsion, but it is the national executive committee that has power for expulsion. We can only make recommendations.
“Essentially, the meeting was to discuss issues of formation of a group within the party and on what the constitution says about that.
“We reached the conclusion that the constitution of the party forbids the formation of a parallel group within the party; it is anti-party, it weakens the fabric of the party and it must be discouraged.”
Ojezua said the party remains united, although there were “pockets of greedy and irritant members.”
“I need to clarify that there is no crisis within the party. What we have are just a group of greedy irritants. That is what we have, and if they have the tendency to create disharmony within the party, as a leadership, we have the duty to deal with it,” he said.