EDO GAME OF THRONES!
Intrigues Of Oshiomhole, Obaseki’s Political Power Tussle
The Inside Story
*Buhari, Tinubu keep mum as APC sinks
The current Executive Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki is facing a hill of a bind as he battles to save his political life. The governor has been locked in a protracted feud with his estranged godfather, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole over matters that have no link to good governance.
After months of brickbats and unending acrimony, Obaseki has joined the league of hapless APC governors who have had their 2nd term ambition hacked by their party. The setting for this repulsive development in our democratic space was Lagos State where erstwhile governor, Akinwunmi Ambode was denied a second term bid for reasons outside the precinct of good governance.
During the height of their conflict, the Edo State governor cried out that he was being persecuted by the APC national chairman for not towing the line of plunder. “I refused to share Edo State money with people who brought me to power, that’s my offence, but I will not allow Edo State to be a pawn in anybody’s political chess game”, Obaseki noted.
As the Obaseki – Oshiomhole gulf widens, it tore the state chapter of the ruling party into shreds as members loyal to both camps threw up gambits, subterfuge and political sophistry to counter themselves.
Obaseki after absorbing so much tension from the APC national chairman and his men also opted to dislodge Oshiomhole from the party at the state level, a matter that is before the courts of competent jurisdiction. But it appears that the former Edo State governor while searching for an albatross that would sink his former political godson, waited for the preparation of the 2020 election to ruin Obaseki.
The National Working Committee established a screening committee headed by Prof. Jonathan Ayuba to screen all the aspirants ahead of the party primaries, but an Edo insider intimated Classic International Magazine that the screening committee had several predetermined mandates, one of which was to disqualify the Edo State governor on grounds of certificate irregularities.
Obaseki himself admitted after his screening that some political landmines seem to have been planted for him. “Like I said, as a party man, I have been through the screening process but I do not believe that I will get justice because Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is an interested party in the Edo process,” the governor lamented.
Those who are desperately opposed to the second term bid of Godwin Obaseki have gone all out to ensure that he is stopped by all means. A group of Edo indigenes had gone ahead to petition the APC screening committee through their legal counsel, Shores and Savanna International Law Firm to disqualify Obaseki on grounds of irregular certification.
In a letter captioned “Petition for Disqualification”, Edobor Williams, Ugbesia Abudu and David Anakhu represented by the law firm inferred the following: “Our clients are loyal members of the APC and are passionate about the success of the party in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State. Arising from this, our clients conducted discreet investigations into the background of Obaseki and found him wanting.
The aforementioned petition and many other conspiracies made the disqualification of Obaseki inevitable, but the disqualification did not go down unchallenged. The former national chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun in his reaction to Obaseki’s disqualification said APC will suffer dire consequences in Edo State if the disqualification is not speedily reversed.
Oyegun in a statement by his public affairs adviser, Ray Morphy said, “The disqualification of Obaseki by the APC screening panel is a hatchet job aimed at installing a stooge that will allow some people unfettered access to Edo treasury. While not a surprise, the disqualification is a clear indication that internal democracy has been murdered in APC, a party which we founded on the principles of fair play and good conscience”.
The governor through his media aide, Crusoe Osagie noted, “We have watched the mockery of democratic process which Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is administering and superintending over in our great party, the All Progressives Congress. It has been an unfortunate, disheartening and dreadful spectacle”.
“We wish Oshiomhole luck in his maladministration of the party and trust that the Almighty will help our country to find the path to true liberty, freedom and justice” Crusoe accentuated.
The Governor of Rivers State who incidentally belongs to the main opposition, PDP lambasted the Nigeria Governors Forum for being quiet in the face of a clear rape of democracy.
Governor Wike chided the elite group for acting as a toothless bulldog. He said the Forum had become lethargic since the ruling party took over the leadership of the Forum. The Rivers Chief Executive says the Forum should rise above partisanship and collectively stand against acts of democratic tyranny.
Clement Obasie, another son of Edo State castigated the ruling party for elevating godfatherism to new levels of brigandage. “It was a year ago that Bola Tinubu, the self-proclaimed national leader of the APC instituted this vagrant abuse of power. He drove Ambode away to bring an unprepared stooge, who would cater to his whims and caprices. Look at Lagos today, Sanwo-Olu has been unable to replicate the dynamism Ambode brought to the table”.
“In Edo State, Oshiomhole is trying to perfect the same scenario. He wants to bring in Osagie Ize-Iyamo to be his own yes-man. How long will we sit back and watch evil triumph over good”, Obasie questioned.
Meanwhile, the Edo State Governor on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 announced his resignation from the ruling APC as he concludes plans on his political future.
From all indications, Obaseki has become the toast of the PDP, but what would be his chances if given the ticket of the main opposition.
According to James Afe, another son of Edo State, if Obaseki become the flag bearer of the PDP, it would stoke desperation in the camp of the APC. “Oshiomhole and his men are aware that if Obaseki wins the election under the PDP, it would turn around to haunt him. He would now be considered as the true undertaker of the party ahead of 2023. All party men of good reasoning would gang up against him and show him the way out”.
“But trust the APC national chairman, he is away of the attendant backlash that would visit him if an Obaseki returns to state house, so he would do everything humanly possible including using the coercion of state to rig Obaseki out. As it stands one of the two men would have to blink and that would determine how the unfortunate drama would end,” Afe affirmed.
The political imbroglio in Edo State took a shocking turn which dramatically changed the narrative in the state.
The Court of Appeal on Tuesday June 16, 2020 upheld the previous suspension of Adams Oshiomhole as national chairman of the APC by the Federal High Court.
The Appellate Court insisted that the chairman remains suspended and is hereby ordered to stay away from party activities.
The ruling has literally thrown the ruling party into a state of fierce anarchy. The party is imploding with two persons claiming to be the rightful personnel to hold fort as acting chairman. The Deputy National Secretary of the APC, Victor Giadom says, he is the authentic acting national chairman as declared by the Federal High Court when Comrade Oshiomhole was initially suspended.
But members of the national working committee sympathetic to the cause of the suspended chairman have announced former Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi as the acting chairman.
With Ajimobi seeking treatment in Lagos for Covid-19 related challenges, the APC national working committee was further caught in a web of confusion. Sixteen of the twenty members pushed for the enthronement of Vice Chairman, South South, Prince Hilliard Eta to act as national chairman.
While the party sinks deeper in the avoidable leadership crisis, the national publicity secretary, Lanre Issa Onilo says there is no crisis of leadership in the party.
Mr. Israel Ajesuwa told Classic International Magazine that the Appeal Court ruling seems to have pushed the suspended chairman to eat the humble pie. “His post ruling utterances say it all”. According to Ajesuwa, “did the Comrade need a court ruling to realize that humility and emotional intelligence are essential elements of leadership?”
Oshiomhole was quoted as saying, “I accept the judgement in good faith as I am a product of the judiciary”. He went on to say “All my life has been that of struggles. People always oppress me, harass me but the court has always come to my aid even my being governor is courtesy of the court.”
Oshiomhole while reacting to Giadom’s declaration of being the legitimate acting national chairman noted, “My advice to my brother, Victor Giadom is about common sense. If the chairman is absent, it should be the deputy chairman, if the deputy is absent, it should be the vice chairman. How does a deputy secretary come in? As we speak, we have a secretary working late hours to ensure the secretariat functions”.
The embattled chairman said, “I think that my brother, Victor Giadom wants to take our party to Rivers State where they created so much problem.”
The leadership crisis in the ruling party is not abating as two members of the party in Rivers State have approached the court to restrain Giadom from parading himself as the acting chairman.
The Director-General of the APC Governors’ Forum, Salihu Lukman took a swipe at the ruling party, affirming that the APC is collapsing with no leader in charge.
He lampooned members of the party’s national working committee where he accentuated “It is very clear that we need an organ transplant by way of replacing the members of the current NWC, whom he said caused the current crisis”.
Lukman faulted President Buhari and Bola Tinubu for failing to provide guidance to a party in crisis. “Does the current APC leadership crisis therefore suggest declaration of no moral authority in our two leaders? It is very easy to reach a conclusion”, Lukman fumed.
A strong member of the APC in Bayelsa State who prefers anonymity, told this paper that the “mess” facing the party was long coming, but the President and Tinubu ignored the combustible character of Adams Oshiomhole.
Since he emerged chairman, the party has not known peace. It has been one controversy to the other. They all knew that the suspended chairman does not have the temperate to run any serious corporate entity, but it appears they need him to do their bidding on one issue or the other so they kept goading him on.
“A lot of keen observers of politics in the country having observed the Comrade, posited that he was loaded with all the propensities to wreck the party, yet they failed to act accordingly especially when it became apparent in the last political inferno that he had already thrown the party into disarray.
“if our party must survive now and beyond 2023, the Comrade Chairman should bow out and allow the party to rejuvenate.
As the primaries get on the way in Edo, all eyes are set on the developments there.