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Edo: Oshiomhole Humbled As Obaseki Plots To Dump APC

 By Suleiman Umaru

 The last may not have been heard about the Edo state, All Progressive congress, APC, crisis, which had  claimed three major casualties :  Godwin Obaseki, the state governor, Philip Shuaibu, the Deputy governor and Aams  Oshiomhole, a  former governor o the state and  National Chairman of the Party. Many believe that Oshiomhole was power drunk and thus, was ousted  by the Appeal Court in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

 The crisis that had engulfed the party in the  south-south state  may have informed why  Obaseki,  the  embattled  governor of Edo state had begun talks  with the Opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to switch  camp, in order to realize his political ambition.

The Edo state governor  had thought  that President Muhammadu Buhari, was with  him as he had gone to the  Presidential Villa , prior to the state governorship primary, on June12, 2020, to present  his  Edo 2020, nomination Form, for endorsement. The katsina state born Nigerian President was said to have given his words to reconcile him and Oshiomhole, the  party National Chairman to stop the crisis in the party in the state.

Oshiomhole In A Painful Mood Over Suspension From APC

 He may not have read the handwriting   on the wall that the President  that the president has not made up  his mind on what to do. He was neither in  support of Oshimhole  led NWC, to conduct the party primaries for the Edo 2020 or  the  position canvassed by him indirect governorship primary in the state.

Even when the Oshiomhole camp, organised the kangaroo   primary  for the Edo 2020, at the party Headquarters  in Abuja, the FCT, where Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a Clergy man, was adopted as the Consus Candidate,  which many believe  was made known to the President, he never saw  anything wrong in it . He may have played along with the party NWC, over the disqualification of the Edo state governor  by the party screening Committee  on account of  alleged discrepancies  on his academic  credentials.

Recall that the governor  had hinged his  continued membership of the party on the outcome of his meeting with President Muhammadu, Buhari,  on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.  He had  gone  to the Presidential Villa, o where he met  the President behind closed door to pour out his mind over the  party primary in the state and how the oshiomhole hijacked it  but that was how far he could go.

the state  party primary which  produced   Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a  Clergy man and former governorship Candidate of the Opposition Peoples Democratic Party’, PDP, in the 2016 governorship election. He may have  opened  up  when  he met  with Agboola Ibrahim Gambari, a Professor and Chief of Staff to the President by expressing his anger  over his  disqualification  by the party Screening Committee from participating  in the party primary last Friday. The  President may have given Obaseki  the  soft-landing  to quit the party based on their discussion which did not show that he was not happy over the development, giving him the feelings that that he fully supports  the Oshiomhole led NWC, action.

It was not surprising that after the meeting with him, he did not hesitate  in  resigning from the party. Until his resignation on Tuesday, he had started hobnobbing with the PDP  governors in the  south –south  region. He had visited Nyensom Wike, governor of  the oil-rich  Rivers state, who has remained a threat to the APC, in the region and Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom state.

  He had met Wike on Saturday, June 13, 2020 and Emmanuel, on Sunday, June 14, 2020 behind closed door. Not that the outcome of  the  Friday , June 12,2020, primaries , may have prepared the  ground for him to meet with  the duo in their respective states to seek their support  to be the Consensus Candidate of the party. The duo may have softened the ground for him as  the  Opposition PDP has expressed  its willingness to accept  him to its fold if  he decides  to join the party.

Uche Secondus, the Party National Chairman,  may have sent a message to him that he may not get  automatic ticket  to for his  re-election bid on the party platform. Secondus may have informed  him that   notwithstanding that Ize-Iyamu, the party Candidate in the 2016, governor ship election in the sate had decamped to the ruling APC, and clinched  its governorship ticket for the September 19, 2020, election,  in  Edo, buthere are other Candidates  in the party who had  already shown interest to vie for the position who would be given opportunity to test their popularity.

Reliable party sources, told The Magazine that Secondus led  PDP NWC, may  have gone back to the drawing board to  ensure  that  all the governorship Candidates  are carried  along to avoid defection to the ruling APC, after the primaries by the losers. Some of the PDP  governorship  Candidates, were said to have thrown their weight on the Obaseki  and Philip Shuaibu Ticket .

Already, Shuaibu, the Edo state Deputy governor, has take a cue from Obaseki , to resign his membership of the APC,  he has promised to run with thim in whichever party he pitches his loyalty for the election. APC, fears that he decamp to the PDP with the party structure which is firmly under his control which may not augur well for the party in the long run.

 Until his removal  as the party National Chairman by the Appeal Court, Oshiomhole, had told party loyalists that Obaseki and his Deputy exit from the APC, will not affect the electoral fortunes of the party in the September 10,2020 election. ‘’I don’t know about their exit’’, he had said.

 Aware that Oshiomhole , the APC, then National Chairman,  will fight back , to ensure that he is in total control of Edo state  by returning Ize-Iyamu, the party  flag bearer  as the next governor of the state, Osaigbovo  Iyoha, Political Adviser to the embattled Edo state governor has sent a signal to Oshiomhole, that  they were fully prepared for the election.

The President mwas have known that there is problem  in the ruling APC, and with the  way the crisis in the party in the south- south state is going  the party  may lose Edo to the Opposition  PDP but had remained calm .  The feud in t he party may have been settled with the  FCT, Appeal Court ruling which  forced the Edo state born National Chairman of the APC , out of his exalted office and denied  him of all his rights and privileges including the  use of security details which he had been using over the last couple of years  to harass political opponents in his home state, Edo, in order to force them to submission.

Obaseki: Governor, Edo state

 He was quickly  replaced ,  by  Abiola Ajimobi, a former governor of Oyo state a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria. Ajimobi,  may have been removed due to his unavoidable absence and replaced by  Hilliard  Etta, the party National Vice Chairman from Cross rive state.   The party  Chieftains  may  not have been satisfied with the choice  of Etta , who is a chip of the old block, as possible replacement for Oshiomhole as they went for a neutral  party   member  from the south-south  geopolitical region to lead the party NWC. .  It was not  surprising how Victor Giadom, an indigene of Rivers state,   emerged to take over the mantle of leadership of the party to save it from disintegration on Wednesday, June 17, 2020.

The Giadom  led APC NWC, may have held  extensive Consultations with party Chieftains , governors and the Presidency  which may have  informed the cancellation of the Edo state  governorship primary . Giadom, the APC, acting  National Chairman, may have  sent a signal to Obaseki, the aggrieved  governor of Edo , who has resigned his membership of the party alongside  Shuaibu,  his Deputy, that  he is free to recentest  the primary, if he so wish, an indication that the party is not happy  losing him  to the PDP. The party do not want the story of Zamfara  state to repeat itself in the case of Edo 2020, where it won the state governorship in 2019,  but lost  the Seat to the PDP, because of the  over bearing attitude of Oshiomhole, the former APC,  National chairman  who had used his position to imposed  an unpopular Candidate on the party.

Despite rejecting Obaseki’s  resignation letter by the party NWC, party sources told The Magazine that there have been pressure on the embattled governor to shelve his plans of decamping to the PDP, and  return  back to the party fold  as the  his arch rival in the state, Oshiomhole has gone for good.

 Close sources told The Magazine   that the governor may not  bow to such pressure  as he has gone far  with his discussions with the Opposition PDP leadership both at the state and National levels , using his contacts,  Wike and Emmanuel, governors of Rivers and Akwa Ibom respectively.

Althogh, Giadon, has the backing of the Presidency, a group of  party stalwarts from the south west geopolitical region, would not agree with the replacement of Ajimobi  with Giadom,  as the acting National Chairman of the party, insisting that the position is still vacant, which may throw up another leadership crisis in the ruling party that may factionalise the party if not properly handled.

Oshiomhole’s heart may still be with the party as he had said on Wednesday that his Lawyers will advice him on the next lone of action to follow to return back to his office.

 . 

Stephen Ubanna

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