Edo: I Am Not A coward – Oshiomhole

By Suleiman Umaru

 Adams Oshiomhole ,  a former governor of Edo state and National Chairman of All Progressive Congress, APC, is not a happy man.  Oshiomhole’s source of unhappiness is about  what is happening in the party in the state, which appear to have been factionalised a armed  thugs has thrown the state into a theatre of war.

The  incident  of  last Wednesday  as  the party  prepares  for a rally  in Benin city, the state Capital speaks volume.  Political watchers believe that both for the intervention of Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police, IGP,  to cancel he rally, when it became apparent that there was trouble ahead because of the mayhem being unleashed  on party supporters  who had trooped out in their thousands to welcome APC National Chairman to the state by the  thugs, the situation  would have been worse.

The APC National Chairman, was  said to have  been accompanied to the state  by  some members of the party National Working Committee, NWA, in order  to receive  Osagie  Ize-Iyamu., a Clergy man and   former  Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship Candidate in the state, who was said to have contested against Godwin Obaseki, the incumbent  governor, in the 2016  governorship election .

  The former Edo state governor and Labour activist was said to be happy to be in the state to receive the PDPD Chieftain , because of the over 30,000 of his supporters  , he was bring  into the APC.  At the last  governorship election in the state  , the margin of his loss, as a  Candidate  of the  PDP, to Obaseki, the APC, flag bearer then, was  said to be  50,000, going by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, records, an indication  that  the PDP, Candidate  may  lose with about 80,000 votes  to APC Candidate in the  2020  election.

Indeed, the APC National Chairman may have  been emboldened to visit  Edo, his home state because of the approval of granted to the request  of  Amusa David, a retired Army Colonel , and incidentally the leader of  a faction of the party  loyal to him organizing the rally to welcome the PDP  decampees   for  deployment of  police personnel  to provide security at the rally by  the IGP.

   He got it wrong as party thugs embarrassed him.  They  were said to have taken the opportunity of the visist to take   over  the Benin Airport  road  awaiting when his Helicopter would touch. When it became clear that he had landed at the  airport and being taken to his residence, they  were said to have  started  ‘’shooting sporadically to scare  the Abuja based politicians.

Eyewitness account said   burn-fires  were  made  at strategic locations  in the  Edo state Capital while  roads leading to his  residence were  blocked  by heavy –duty vehicles.The source  disclosed that  security operatives  including soldiers who had been on  escort team had struggled  for about an hour  to  disperse the angry armed  party thugs to avoid inflicting harm on the APC National Chairman.

Ahead of the Friday, December 13, 2019, party rally in the state Capital,  15 people were said to have been injured  during  the alleged  clash  between supporters   of Oshiomhole  in the state and those of  Obaseki, the state  governor.  But the APC National Chairman , would not believe that  it was a clash between  a non- existent   factions of the party.

He  may  have alluded that they were PDP thugs going by his comments. ‘’’I know you are hurt  with what you are passing through here , particularly  when  those decamping to  the party  were  people  who fought  us  in the last election’’. Given an insight into why they were in the state, he said ‘’ we were in the  state to welcome  Ize-Iyamu, a former PDP  governorship Candidate in the state and  thousands of his supporters to  the APC’’  but noted that it have resulted into’ ‘’unleashing  mayhem  on the people’’.  

Godwin Obaseki: Governor, Edo State

He may have contradicted himself when he asked the supporters to be calm, noting that  ‘’APC is our House  and we will not destroy it and therefore , will not  want anybody to be killed’’. He was said to have made the party supporters  realise  that he is not a coward  for preaching peace  in the midst of provocation  by   the alleged PDP, thugs’’ who  were APC  members opposed to his interference  to  the state party Affairs from Abuja. Those who knew  me , referring his days as a labour activists, knew that  I am not a coward, I am not afraid of fight but I will not ‘’.

Investigation by The Value News shows that  the build up to the   mayhen  in Benin, the Edo state Capital,  started  when information filtered  out   that a faction of the ruling APC  in the state  led by Oshiomhole,  plans to hold a rally ,  to welcome Ize-Iyamu, a former Chieftain of the PDP and his supporters to the party. Note that there have been a rivalry between  the  APC  National Chairman and Obaseki, the state governor, over control of the party machinery.

 Insiders told The Magazine that Oshiomhole who  had been at dagger drawn with Obaseki, believed in political  circles  to be  his godson had withdrawn his support from him  because of  alleged disloyalty. It was  not  surprising why the former Edo state governor, never supported Obaseki re-election bid, was said to have done everything within his powers to stop him and plant his crony as the next governor of the state.  Perhaps, to avoid  aggravating the crisis  in the party, the last Wednesday mayhem,  by armed party thugs  had not  been attributed  to  Obaseki, but PDP.

Insiders informed The Magazine,  that APC , had been factionalised since last November, with a group led by Amosu, mained their  loyalty  to the APC National Chairman ,  while the second group was  backed by Obaseki, the state governor.

 There are  fears in party circles that if the crisis in the party  are not properly handled by President Muhammadu  Buhari  by reconciling all the warring parties, APC, may likely  lose Edo  state to the Opposition PDP. The party appeared to have cashed in on the struggle for supremacy and control of the   APC machinery     to put its House in order  in order to spring a surprise .

There have been conflicting reports that  in  spite of the  cancellation of the  APC rally by the IGP  and the ban on political rallies in the state, the rally was said to have taken place at the former  PDP governorship Candidate’s residence, to show how  desperate  he was to join the APC, in order to achieve his hidden political ambition.

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