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.
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.