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Edo 2020: Drop your second term bid, Oshiomhole tells Obaseki

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Oshiomhole, Obaseki

-Obaseki fires back ‘I will not step down’

-As Oshiomhole, other party leaders allegedly back ex-deputy gov, Odubu

 

Is there a conspiracy to stop the second term bid of Edo State Governor, Godwin ObasekiThis poser seems to be resolved in the affirmative amid frenetic political developments in the state.

The quest of Godwin Obaseki to win a second term as governor of Edo State now looks more daunting than ever, following the emergence of evidence than Adams Oshiomhole, former governor of the state and national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) alongside some party leaders in the state, have endorsed Pius Odubu, former deputy governor in the last administration.

Already, leaders of Edo State chapter of the APC are divided along camps led by Governor Obaseki and Comrade Oshiomhole.

Even though Obaseki and his predecessor have kept mute over the rumoured cold war between them, their supporters ahead of the 2020 battle for the governorship ticket continue to sound the political battle cry, fueling strong speculation that Oshiomhole may have severed ties with his successor. It was gathered that since it became clear that some top Abuja-based Edo APC leaders are plotting to stop Obaseki from picking the party’s ticket, he has been building political structures across the state to checkmate his opponents within the party.

Oshiomhole, The Witness learnt is said to be supporting his former deputy, Pius Odubu, who he believes is the most suitable replacement while former federal lawmakers, Hon Johnson Oghuma and Hon Gani Audu, are also said to be penciled down by Oshiomhole to replace Obaseki’s deputy governor, Comrade Phillip Shaibu.

Other names touted to be eyeing the seat of the incumbent governor are former minister of state for works, Engineer Chris Ogiemwonyi, Retired General Charles Arhiavbere and Honourable Osarodion Ogie, who is the current secretary to the Edo State government.

 

Obaseki’s alleged ‘sins’ against Oshiomhole

Recall Obaseki won the heart of his former boss, Comrade Oshiomhole who fought his battle to become the governorship candidate of the APC in 2016 and subsequently, the governor.

After Obaseki emerged governor, the relationship between him and Oshiomhole was cordial until very recently when a cold war ensued between them.

Though Governor Obaseki has always maintained that he has no problems with the ex-governor, feelers from the state prove the contrary.

What has now become a war, the magazine learned, started during the APC primaries, when the former helmsman wanted to impose his candidates for the National and State Assembly elections on Governor Obaseki, a situation the governor vehemently opposed.

Though Comrade Oshiomhole succeeded in imposing some candidates on the party, Governor Obaseki refused to support the candidates as a result of this, most APC candidates lost at the National Assembly election.

Obaseki on taking over the mantle of leadership in 2016 ruffled political feathers in the state when he boldly banned revenue contracts hitherto given to some APC leaders and disbanded community development associations (CDA) engaged in illegal sales and allocation of lands.

This major activity had been ‘goldmine’ of sort to some party leaders. The decision was roundly applauded by majority of Edo people but perceived in political circles as a show of ingratitude, especially from the camp of those who felt they supported his emergence.

A source said Obaseki had complained to close associates that he is choking under the overbearing attitude of his predecessor and that he wants to be his own man. It was learnt that Obaseki was expected to take care of some APC political boys loyal to the former governor, but that they were the first he got rid of the moment he was sworn in. 

Besides, some political leaders were said to have complained bitterly of the lack of patronage from the governor and vowed to ensure that Obaseki is denied second term ticket come 2020. They were said to be unhappy with his leadership style. The governor was also accused of empowering his Lagos-based cronies with juicy contracts against politicians who had worked and supported his emergence. They had threatened to work against the governor during his re-election.

Oshiomhole is not also happy the governor dumped all the associates and supporters as soon as he took power, sources divulgedThe governor has simply refused to patronize them as usual rather he populates his kitchen cabinet with his own people.

It was gathered that Governor Obaseki has continuously told Comrade Oshiomhole’s supporters it would not be business as usual as “taxpayers’ money cannot be dispensed for political patronage,” another source said.

The source said, “We are taking development to those in the grassroots, we will not share money like the governments did in the past.”

Now that the 2020 governorship election is around the corner, the aggrieved party men and women said they are poised to have their own pound of flesh on the governor.

They have resolved among themselves that they will stop Governor Obaseki from securing a second term in office.

One of them told our correspondent that “the APC leaders have commenced a search for a good replacement of the governor in 2020.

“We have been able to stabilize the party because majority of our memberare aware that the governor will not be granted second tenure. This is the reason some of our members and leaders have continued to remain calm and steadfast in the party.

We have never had it so bad. Governor Obaseki turned his back on us as soon as he became governor, now we are prepared to pay him back in his own coin by making sure he’s not returned as the party’s candidate for next year’s election.”

But some angry party leaders told this newspaper that the governor can still redeem the situation. They insist that they are prepared to work with him if he’s ready to carry everybody along.

“Governor Obaseki’s second term bid rests squarely in his hands, if he is serious let him redeem the situation now before it is too late,” the APC leader who pleaded anonymity said.

Another factor insiders said also working against Obaseki is the governor’s alleged romance with the speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Kabiru Adjoto.

Knowing the fragile nature of the friendship between the governor and his predecessor, sources divulged that the speaker employed deceit to use Obaseki to clean his dirty mess.

“Adjoto told the governor that Oshiomhole brought money to the house with the intent of impeaching him (the governor). He said the plan was to bring in the impeached deputy speaker, Victor Edoror, so that the governor can easily be impeached.

The governor bought into his plan to remove Edoror and others he thought were threats to him,” a source privy to the event told our correspondent.

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POLITICS

Oyegun to Oshiomhole: Stop disgracing APC

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John Odigie-Oyegun, former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has asked Adams Oshiomhole, his successor, to desist from interfering in the administration of Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo state.

Odigie-Oyegun gave the advice in a statement signed by Ray Murphy, his public affairs adviser, on Sunday.

He appealed to Oshiomhole to stop disgracing the ruling party, saying Obaseki should be given a breathing space to concentrate on governing the state.

He recalled that he never interfered with Oshiomhole’ administration when he was governor and wondered why it has become difficult for him to realise that Obaseki is the only APC governor in the whole of the south-south.

“I appeal to him (Oshiomhole) to stop disgracing the governing party APC and Edo state,” he said.

“He should give the governor a breathing space to concentrate in doing the job of serving the people of Edo.

“I wonder how he could easily forget that I never interfered or bothered about how he ran the government as the then governor of Edo, all the while I occupied the position of the party’s national chairman.

“I am yet to come to terms with why it has become difficult for Oshiomhole to realise that Obaseki is the only APC governor in the entire south-south.

“And he should be allowed to concentrate on giving the people of Edo the dividends of democracy. ”

He urged APC governors not to stand aside and watch their fellow colleague “hampered by a party chairman whose actions might lead to political misfortune of the party”.

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Abia APGA suspends Alex Otti, alleges anti-party activities

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The Abia State Working Committee of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has slammed an indefinite suspension on the Governorship Candidate of the party in 2015 and 2019, Dr. Alex Otti.

The suspension was announced in a statement jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the party, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere and Sunday Onukwubiri, and made available to newsmen in Umuahia on Monday.

The party accused Otti of engaging in anti-poverty activities, saying that he equipped his political machinery, known as Abia First, to harass party officials and create divisions in the party.

It also accused Otti of indulging in illegal and unconstitutional activities as well as acts of insubordination to the party leadership, which “undermined the principle of party supremacy”.

It stated that the governorship candidate proceeded to the election tribunal after the 2019 poll “in the name of APGA without the consent and approval of the party.”

The party further alleged that Otti sponsored attacks on the party’s state and national leaderships in both the social and traditional print and electronic media.

It stated: “Otti’s Abia First was set up and equipped for the sole purpose of using it to display political force, harass party officers and create divisions in the party.

“It is also for the promotion of his selfish and personal political objectives against the interest of the party.

“Otti is hereby suspended indefinitely from the party with immediate effect, pending the hearing and determination of his case by a disciplinary committee to be set up by the party in the state.”

The party urged the public and institutions to take note of the suspension “and desist forthwith from having any dealings with Otti in any capacity as APGA member or representive in any capacity in Abia or elsewhere.”

The party also announced the expulsion of Chief Nkem Okoro, the Chairman of a faction of the party loyal to Otti, for alleged anti-party activities and breach of the party’s constitution.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the party copied the National Working Committee of the party, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies in the statement.

In a swift reaction, Mr Ebere Uzoukwa, the Publicity Secretary of Otti’s faction of the party, dismissed the suspension as a nullity.
Uzuokwa said that Ehiemere and Onukwubiri lacked the legal power to suspend or expel any member of the party, having been allegedly replaced by Okoro-led executive that emerged during the party’s state congress in June.

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Delta APC crisis: Emerhor withdraws case against Omo-Agege, Ogboru faction

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The protracted division bedeviling the Delta state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was on Monday laid to rest with the leader of one of the two factions, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, calling the truce.

Delta APC got enmeshed in 2018 when the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, on assumption of office sacked the Olorogun Cyril Ogodo-led state executive counci, inaugurated by former National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and replaced it with Prophet Jones Erue-led executive council.

The Ogodo-led faction, which is represented by the Mainstream Delta APC group under the leadership of the 2015 governorship candidate of the party, Olorogun Emerhor, had gone to court to reclaim its mandate, winning its first outing at the Federal High Court in Asaba and had proceeded to the Supreme Court in pursuit of favourable judgement.

However, in a statement on Monday, July 15, Emerhor, said his faction, considering the high stakes that had risen with recent developments, especially the election of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as Deputy Senate President had chosen to withdraw from pursuing the case.

“During the pendency of our Supreme Court appeal, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the main impacted person, should our appeal succeed at the Supreme Court, was sponsored by our National APC and Federal government and was elected the Deputy Senate President (DSP) of the Nigerian Senate. Since this event a lot has happened.”

“Your leadership has come under intense pressure to terminate the appeal at the Supreme Court in order not to jeopardize the standing of the DSP at the Nigerian senate. This pressure has come from elders, leaders and Clergymen of Urhobo nation, from well wishers and family members of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, from APC party leaders of the South South, and indeed, from the Presidency.

“Recently, on Tuesday, July 11th 2019, myself and Chief Cyril Ogodo had audience with the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osibanjo on the matter to chart a way forward.

“Upon the election of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as the DSP, and with the reach out from the various interested persons mentioned above, your leadership has indeed agreed, in its usual reconciliatory manner, to seize the opportunity to again push for a party reconciliation and unification deal that can produce a win win situation for Delta APC and properly position it.

“Our earlier terms for Party exco harmonization and sharing of Federal appointments to all groups in Delta APC were once again put on the table as the panacea for bringing lasting peace to APC Delta State. Unfortunately, even with the best efforts of those who intervened to seize this moment as a last minute effort to bring peace to reign, again no traction was achieved.

“At the same time, our case in the Supreme Court suffered a set back. As against securing an accelerate hearing consequent on it being a pre-election matter, the suit is currently adjourned to October 14, 2019. It has been in our contemplation for the case to come to a closure in July 2019 and allow peace and unification come to Delta APC at last.

“Under the above circumstances and in full recognition of the pressures that have been brought to bear and also in appreciation of the legal arguments as to whether we could still achieve the objectives of the suit when it comes up in October or not, your leadership has decided and indeed unconditionally agreed to withdraw our appeal from the Supreme Court by filing a notice of discontinuance today Monday July 15th, 2019.

“Your leadership believes this is for the best. We have fought a good fight and even good fights must come to an end! We don’t need to fight on till October and beyond! We don’t need to force others to the table anymore and or forever.

“I, therefore, on behalf of the Mainstream of APC in Delta proclaim an end on our part in the factional fight for the control of APC in Delta State. We also seize the opportunity to recognize Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as our Senator and congratulate him for his election as DSP of the Nigerian senate. We in the same breath, recognize and congratulate other elected legislators of APC in Delta State.

“We do this with zero expectations from those who are now the ‘victors’. We will, however, be wildly surprised if they seize the moment and strive for the unification of the party in the interest of a stronger Delta APC.

“I also wish to seize the opportunity to thank all members of the Mainstream of Delta APC, and the Ogodo led Exco in Delta State for your unalloyed loyalty, support and resilience in the face of daunting challenges throughout the period of our contending for a winning APC in Delta State. As I said earlier, even a good fight must end one way or the other. I thank you all,” Emerhor said.

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