Saturday, 4 January 2020

Obaseki,Oshiomhole Feud:Edo APC Factions Set For Final Battle

After the expiration of the December 31, 2019, deadline issued to Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State by some loyalists of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to either reach out to the leaders of the party or forget any further reconciliation, the rival factions of the party are now set for a fight to the finish.

This is because the loyalists of the two principal actors and their foot soldiers are sticking to their guns, as such, the political stage in Edo is set for an epic battle between the godfather and the godson, as the governorship primary nears.

The Edo Peoples Movement (EPM) led by Barrister Henry Idahagbon had issued the ultimatum last November while giving condition for reconciliation but the Obaseki Shaibu Movement (OSM) led by Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, called the bluff of the EPM and dared Oshiomhole and his supporters. This is coming as Obaseki linked the unending political tussle to his fight against warlords and non-state actors, who hitherto controlled the state’s resources to the detriment of Edo people.

The governor also reaffirmed that his government belonged to the majority of Edo people and not a few feudal lords, noting that his administration would continue to put the interest of the ordinary people first. Speaking while hosting leaders of the APC in Oredo Local Government Area of the state, Obaseki vowed to use last drop of his blood to defend Edo people and the state.

“When they say I am a mosquito, I was never worried; I told them that mosquitoes can bite and the bite can cause malaria, but if not well treated, it can kill. Those bitten are already on life support but we pray they don’t die. “I am not trained to abuse elders or my seniors, but we will not allow anything that will negatively affect Edo people. I will fight with everything to make life better for my people. God has continued to fight for us. “All the strategies and antics against this government have failed. We will build this party and you will be the envy of all others, who are not in our party, but we are sure they will join us soon,” he said. On the coming party primary to pick the flag bearer of the APC, Obaseki assured his supporters that he had no doubt about being victorious.

“The last time an incumbent ran for governorship in our party in the state, it was a consensus. It will happen again; we will all agree on consensus. Whether direct or indirect primary, you, the people, will vote. Our plan is on the election, not the primaries,” he said. The governor also spoke at other occasions; while receiving members of the National Union of Printing, Publishing and Paper Products Workers (NUPPPPROW) as well as during a meeting of Benin Elders’ Forum, where he reassured his supporters that his administration would remain committed in delivering the dividends of democracy to the people, and not a few individuals. He said: “You are all witnesses to what is happening and I am sure that you will ask what exactly is going on.

When the change occurred in 2016, I had no doubt in my mind to jump into the train to continue the reforms, which we had started. “But what I didn’t realise is that the rot was so deep and fundamental; it was not just a rot in physical expression but it was becoming cultural. You come into Edo and you cannot drive through the city, because we had warlords that had taken possession of everywhere.

“In fact, when we had to clear Lagos Street, we found out that people had erected stores and shops on the street. It then became clear that there was a lot more work to do.” Alleging that some people might have been taking advantage of a corrupt situation to enrich themselves, the governor said, he could not understand why a council such as Oredo Local Government, could not earn more than N5 million tax monthly, but “there were non-state actors who were celebrating having billions in their private bank accounts at the expense of government. “Once I came in, these non-state actors began to almost physically threaten the state and I had no choice than to dislodge them in good faith.

I thought this was something we had all agreed to do; I thought we were happy that now we can drive through Oba Market; I thought we were all comfortable with the sanity in the city. “But today what do we have? A fightback from these characters and they are getting support from sources you can’t believe. How can you have a city and it is only those who refused to go to school and have turned themselves into thugs and touts that want to dominate our polity? How can we have progress?”

He said that his administration would not relent in transforming the economic fortunes of Edo people, adding: “In all the things I heared, nobody has been able to tell me what exactly the policy issues are. Is it that ensuring you build infrastructure at the right price is not the right thing to do? “Or building roads is not the right thing to do? Or is trying to get more resources of the state to work for the people not the right thing to do? Is paying teachers and strengthening the education sector not the right thing to do?” Obaseki, in the same vein, condemned the neglect of government institutions by past regimes while reassuring that Edo people would remain his topmost priority.

“As a government, we are not here to impress anybody or group of people but very concerned about the future of the state and its people. “We must do things differently and ensure that what we are investing on survives, hence avoiding a repeat of past mistakes. The equipment we brought to the press has been paid for and partially financed and needs to be run for sustainability. Similarly, the governor’s Special Adviser on Political Matters, Chief Osaro Idah, had alleged that Oshiomhole deprived Obaseki, the opportunity to nominate federal appointees.

Idah said unlike the tenure of Chief Odigie Oyegun whereby the then national chairman would not interfere with federal appointments, Oshiomhole continued to interfere in such selections. He said Obaseki had hitherto allowed Oshiomhole to have his way in order to preserve the peace in the state, revealing that of the eight federal slots assigned to Edo, the governor recommended only one person, which Oshiomhole still interfered with and the person was dropped. “Edo had eight slots for its indigenes for federal appointments, but Oshiomhole filled all the positions.

The only nominee the governor submitted for National Population Commission (NPC), Oshiomhole still replaced him with his own person”, he said. On his part, a factional chairman of the APC, Anselm Ojezua, said no other governor had supported the party as Obaseki had done in the last three years, urging the people to support Obaseki and “never allow anyone treat him anyhow. Possess your possession.”

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