Edo: APC Crisis Taken A turn For The Worse

By Suleiman Umaru

Adams oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo state and now, National Chairman of All  the Progressive Congress, APC, is  not a happy person. Oshiomhole’s’source of unhappiness, is that Godwin Obaseki, who he had  propped up  to  succeed him in 206, has suddenly become his political nemesis.

 Indeed, the struggle for supremacy and control of the political machinery  of the party in the state   had been the source of quarrel  between the duo.   The conflict of interest  between the two Chieftains of the ruling APC in the state  has  become  so pronounced  on the activities of the st that it is telling on the party in the  state.

Oshiomhole could not  understand  why the party  could be thrown into crisis when there is a party Chairman who should bring all  the warring factions together and  reconcile them instead of taking sides with one faction  against the other.. He believes that Obaseki could  call his bluff as the National Chairman of the party  because he has the backing of Anselm Ojezua, the state party Chairman.

It was not surprising why the faction loyal to the APC National Chairman,  moved  to sack the state APC , Chairman and the  Secretary,  but were, however, stopped by  a Benin High Court.  Oshiomhole, according to party sources, had not been happy that  Obaseki  could  turn  down his recommendations  for  political appointments in the state without reason and other issues which  may not be known to the puclic. 

 The governor may have  his reason. He could not understand why the former governor should  be  in Abuja, the Federal Capital territory, FCT,  where he relates closely  with President Muhammdu Buhari, and still  wants to control the state party Structure and dictates the Affairs of the state administration.

He was  said to have made it clear to him  at different  Cacus meetings  that as the governor of the state , he is the party leader  and therefore should be  accorded the respect but the former governor would not take  it. The fallout was the factionalisation of the party and the plot  to block Obaseki , from  winning his re-election bid  in the party against the 2020   election.

Godwin Obaseki: Governor, Edo state

The  APC National Chairman disdain  for the state  governor and the party leadership in the state  became pronounced when the faction  loyal  to him had planned a rally to receive Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the people’s democratic Party, PDP, governorship Candidate  in the state in 2016 and 30,00 of his supporters.

Given the tension created by the planned rally and the factional fight which claimed  about 15 lives, Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police, IGP and Obaseki, the state governor had intervened  by banning all rallies in the state to save the situation from degenerating.

Oshiomhole, the APC, National Chairman, did not find the ban on the his planned rally in the state funny as he  had arrived the state with other members of the party National Working Committee, NWC, to receive Ize-Iyamu and his group. He had promised  to take up the matter with the IGP but that was  how  far he could go.

Perhaps, to prove to Oshiomhole and his group, that he has the Structure of the party in his hand in the state and  as the leader, the party was said to have suspended  the APC National Chairman,  thus exposing him to his political enemies.

Last Friday, Obaseki took the Oshiomhole   to a C case  to the Cacus meeting  involving  leaders  of the party in Edo North, his Senatorial district. An aggrieved asObeki had told the Edo North APC Cacus that the APC National Chairman has  been  a ‘’negative influence in the Affairs  of the state and the need to stop him’’.He had  described the former governor as the person causing  anti-party activities in   APC and therefore should leave  as he has created   his own faction .

The Edo state governor, who could not hide his feelings noted that ‘ since  Ohiomhole , as the party National Chairman  ‘’can’t be a disciplined  member of the party, he has no option but  to leave.  This may have informed  why he said  the’’ former governor, remains suspended’’.  The governor may have told those that cares  to  listen  that he had always protected the  former  governor’s excesses  in government, an indication that Oshiomhole  has  some skeleton in his cupboard that needed to be probed by the Ibrahim Magu, a Commissioner of Police,Cp, led, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC .

He had said   that while other state governors  were busy looking into the books  of their predecessors over   their internal revenue generation, allocations from the Federation Account, loans  both internal and external  as well as  their  expenditure profile   while in office, he never  did . He claimed to have concentrated his efforts  in carrying out his duties  of implementing his electioneering Campaign promises to the people when he was elected in 2016.

Obaseki  stopped  short at telling the Edo North Senatorial District, party Cacus, that  Oshiomhole should count himself lucky as he has not come out  like other state governors   had done to reveal  the amount of debt   his administration had left behind in his eight years in office  in the state. According to him, he has maintained a sealed  lips because  ‘’we are part of the same family’’.

There are fears in both official and unofficial circles  that Obaseki may take advantage of  the frosty relationship between him and his estranged godfather  to open up on him. Political Observers fear that the events of November, 2019 and the Clash of Interest between former President Goodluck Jonathan  and Seriake Dickson, the PDP, governor of Bayelsa state causing the party to have lost   the state to the Opposition  APC,  may repeat itself  in Edo state.

 Note that  Edo state  is regarded in political circles, as a PDP state, before late Tony Anenih,  regarded as Mr. Fix it and a former minister of Transportation in anger to the choice of the PDP governorship Candidate of the state   in  2008, threw his weight behind  Oshiomhole, the APC Candidate,   thus clearing the ground for him to  win the election. Since then, PDP , has never  recovered the state from the  APC. Perhaps, the 2020 election , may be an opportunity to do so, if the party could present a popular Candidate to contest against Obaseki, the APC, Candidate.

 The situation in the  state may  look worrisome, as those opposed to the former governor’s  leadership of the APC, may cash in on the conflict  between him and Obaseki, his former godson, to work for his removal   to avoid the party losing south-south  state to the Opposition PDP.  

 This is where the Katsina  state born Nigerian President  may have  to intervene  to avoid the Edo crisis degenerating further   that may result in the party  losing the state on a platter of gold to the PDP.

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