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.
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.
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.