Immediate past national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John Odigie-Oyegun, has again delivered verbal blow on his successor, Adams Oshiomhole, who he accused of heightening tension in Edo State.
Apparently piqued by the position of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) on the crisis rocking Edo State House of Assembly, Oyegun argued that Oshiomhole’s activities against Governor Godwin Obaseki amounted to anti-party, warning him not to distract the governor.
Chief Oyegun, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Political Affairs, Chief Ray Murphy, lamented that he is yet to come to terms with the fact that Governor Obaseki is receiving the highest distractions not from the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but from his predecessor, who is also the chairman of his party.
“This party must be stronger because we cannot go into the 2023 general elections with this discordant tunes, especially as President Buhari will not be contesting. We need to get our acts together. Oyegun has no personal grievances with Oshiomhole but Nigerians must know that he cannot go to equity with unclean hands.
“Today, there are all kinds of rancour coming from Edo State. They all boil down to attempt by godfather and godfatherism that is heating up the polity in the state. Obaseki is the governor of Edo State and should be allowed to exercise the powers vested on him by the law. To what purpose is this idea of the APC chairman putting the state under tension?
“As a governor under APC platform, he should be allowed to run out his tenure before they decide whether to bring him back or not. There are so much antics going on and you don’t need to be a prophet or babalawo to trace where they are coming from. They are coming from the APC.
“I want to think that they are all targeted at weakening the governor of Edo State. Ordinarily, the man in Edo should be given every support so that he can succeed to fend off the opposition PDP already around the corner,” Oyegun noted.
Reacting further, Oyegun stated: “Ask anybody from Edo State what is Obaseki’s biggest distraction and they will tell you that it’s not whether he has governed well or not, but from his immediate predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole.
“It is very unfortunate, especially considering the fact that he is the national chairman of the same party with the governor. I have not heard that PDP or Edo leaders want to remove Obaseki. What has been trending is how his predecessor who happens to be the party chairman doesn’t want him back in the office.
“If his actions against Obaseki are not anti-party, someone should then explain to me what is anti-party. The problem of the APC is from a singular man, the national chairman who runs the party like an executive chairman.
“Look at what is happening in the party today; when was the last time the NEC meeting was held, but when these crises came to the fore, he has called several emergency NWC meetings,” he noted.
But Oshiomhole denied allegation that had constituted himself to a godfather.
“What is the evidence? It’s all about accusation. The media has a duty. They have to give you the particulars of that godfatherism. What’s the evidence? I am a democrat. I accept the credit, not only that I fought godfatherism, I launched the ‘one-man-one-vote’ campaign to fight against election rigging anywhere in Nigeria and by the special grace of God under PDP with Anenih alive and at his best, I won all the 18 local government areas and I won 95 percent of the total votes cast in my second term election. So, Edo people know me and I know them. I don’t need short cut to sustain my position in the system. But you know that there is nobody in Nigeria who is not open to accusations.”
He described as embarrassing to the constitution the interference in the activities of the state Assembly in Bauchi and Edo State.
The party had condemned the inauguration of nine members of the Edo State House of Assembly at about 9.30 pm leaving out majority of members, saying such action is a departure from the constitutional provision.
In the case of Bauchi, the APC chairman said using 10 members to proclaim the House and locking out 20 APC members is completely illegal, adding that both scenarios were wrong no matter the party involved.
Speaking to State House Correspondents at the weekend after a closed door meeting with President Buhari at the weekend, Oshiomhole said: “As journalists there are questions you don’t need to ask me because you know the answer. You know the law provides for how the House should be proclaimed transparently the day it’s announced, members-elect are informed of date and time for inauguration. These are clearly spelt out in the Nigerian constitution. And just last week, you were all witnesses to how President Muhammadu Buhari issued proclamation letter to the Clerk many days before stating date and time of the inauguration of the two chambers of the National Assembly. Even while we are still negotiating to ensure that our party was not divided on the floor of the House, without prejudice to the outcome of those negotiations, the president issued proclamation because he is obliged by the constitution to do so whether he likes it or not and he did. He did it transparently. He has led us by example. For me, it’s very embarrassing if any state governor, particularly of APC extraction, will do anything that is less than what the constitution says and the example that our president has set.
“So, you know that what happened in Edo was that they did not publicise a proclamation letter, the members were not informed, they did the inauguration at 9:30 pm in what in a Supreme Court judgment they call nocturnal hours. Business of parliament is done transparently; they are not secret cult.
“Now you have 24-member House, 19 members protested. You have six and you carry people in their knickers, even in the House they have rules, the dress code. So, it happened in Edo, it has happened in Bauchi. Like Edo, Bauchi used the minority of 10 to proclaim the House and lock out 20 APC members and got those 10 people to elect, exactly the way Edo did with six and then coopted other three people to become nine and even at that it is nonsense. For us, these are completely illegal. And that is why we said so. If it is wrong, it is wrong whether it is done by APC or by PDP; whether it’s the chairman’s state or not. The law is blind to those sentiments. I believe by the end of the day, the solution is return to the rule of law. Let’s properly follow the law; let the parliament do what they have to do but people have the right to lobby for people they want and whom they prefer. This is also legitimate.”