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Oshiomhole, Obaseki feud sparks fresh crisis in APC

By News Express on 14/11/2019

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• Photo shows Adams Oshiomole and Godwin Obaseki
• Photo shows Adams Oshiomole and Godwin Obaseki

 Another round of crisis has erupted in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). It originates from the protracted feud between the APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki.

Apart from the raging battle between factions of the APC loyal to Oshiomhole and Obaseki in Edo, governors elected on the platform of the APC have joined the intra-party squabble.

The governors, who expressed dissatisfaction with the various crises rocking the party in some states, asked Oshiomhole to convene a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting or resign immediately.

While the faction loyal to Obaseki ratified Oshiomhole’s suspension from the APC, the rival group countered, and suspended the governor from the party with immediate effect.

The governors under the aegis of Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), who specifically mentioned the ongoing fierce battle between Obaseki and Oshiomhole, among many others across the country, asked “Why is it impossible to convene a NEC or even national caucus meetings, which are supposed to hold every quarter to resolve all these issues? Why should the NWC under Comrade Oshiomhole continue to imagine that it can conduct the affairs of the party without the mandatory meetings of the party organs?”.

The Edo State chapter of the APC on Tuesday suspended Oshiomhole over what it termed as “his role in the crisis rocking the state chapter of the party.”

The decision followed the vote of no confidence passed on Oshiomhole by the chairmen of the APC in the 18 local government areas of the state.

The governors joined the feud yesterday when through a statement issued by the PGF’s director-general Salihu Lukman, asked: “What legacy is Oshiomhole hoping to achieve as a national chairman by running the party in a way that suggests almost zero-commitment to issues of party development?”

While demanding for a statutory NEC meeting or Oshiomhole should vacate his office, the governors said: “In the current circumstance, nothing short of a NEC or national caucus meeting of the party can resolve all our increasing organisational challenges as a party. It is either Comrade Oshiomhole respects the provision of the party;s constitution and convene a superior organ meeting to deliberate on all our challenges, or he should just accept his inability to manage the party and simply resign.

“Our national leaders must rise to the challenge facing us as a party and take all necessary measures to convene superior organ meetings to begin to resolve all our challenges as a party. The current public disgrace must end!”.

The governors said that it was painful for many of them who had the privilege of being mentored by Oshiomhole to see him being devalued to a local factional leader from a very high pedestal of an illustrious national leader.

“As national chairman, Comrade Oshiomhole hardly appreciates that he now has a national constituency and not just a state constituency, which may have been responsible for his apparent intemperance in the handling of matters affecting Edo State. I wish he paid similar attention to the handling of issues affecting Rivers and Zamfara States during the 2019 elections.

“Information coming from Edo State indicates that members of the State Executive Council (SEC) of APC have passed a vote of no confidence on Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman of our party, APC. In so many respects, it could be argued, it is a natural outcome of unfolding power play between Comrade Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki since June 2019 with the contentious inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly. Possible retaliatory response from both Comrade Oshiomhole and groups such as Edo Peoples Movement who are loyal to Comrade Oshiomhole should be expected. In other words, there could be counter pronouncement suspending Governor Obaseki.

“Side by side with the news of the vote of no confidence was also the discomforting report of the Federal High Court judgement in Abuja disqualifying Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo as our deputy governorship candidate for the November 16, 2019 Bayelsa State election. While expecting that every necessary step will be taken to vacate the judgement, it is very depressing for every committed party member to be subjected to such ignominious reality, which only remind us of our reckless conducts in states like Zamfara, Rivers, Bauchi and Adamawa, which chiefly gave away electoral victories to the PDP.

“Instead of focusing on working to win elections, we are busy undermining ourselves. All these are ominous signs that we are about to re-enact the Zamfara, Rivers, Bauchi and Adamawa experiences in Bayelsa. It is Bayelsa today, Anambra, Edo and Ondo, are being set up for similar experiences. Somehow, unfortunately, the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party, which is the organ vested with the statutory responsibility of responding to all these challenges appear to be suspended. The last time it met was August 2018. In its place, the National Working Committee (NWC), which is an administrative organ with the responsibility of implementing decisions of NEC and other higher organs, seems to have usurped the powers of NEC.

“Sadly, even the NWC, as at today, is a shadow of itself, as it has lost many members either on accounts of appointment into government or controversial suspension. For instance, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, deputy national chairman (South) is today a minister of the Federal Republic. Senator Lawal Shuaibu, deputy national chairman (North) is allegedly suspended. Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir, national vce chairman (North West) is similarly suspended.

“We may recall that in June 2019, the NWC allegedly suspended Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN). During the 2019 general elections, on accounts of the roles of former governors Rochas Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun against the candidates of the party, they were similarly suspended. Whether all these actions are permissible by provisions of the APC’s constitution is highly contestable,” the governors said.

Meanwhile, the APC National Working Committee (NWC) has upheld the suspension of the Edo State chairman of the party, Anslem Ojezua while waiting for the outcome of the fact-finding and reconciliation committee it set up to investigate the ongoing crisis in state.

In a press statement released yesterday by the APC national publicity secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the party said that the NWC’s objective and cause of action was to strictly address the root causes of the disputations and reconcile all parties in the matter.

“Meanwhile, the meeting of the NWC, which held today, Wednesday, at the party’s National Secretariat received a notification of the suspension of the Edo State APC chairman, Anslem Ojezua by 11 of the 16 members of the Edo State Working Committee (SWC). We have reviewed the process they followed and concluded that they have fulfilled the required conditions.

“We, therefore, uphold the suspension of Ojezua while we await the outcome of the fact-finding and reconciliation committee.

“The NWC of the APC has watched with grave concern the political development within the party ranks in Edo State and is deeply disturbed by the recent turn of events. We note that this is happening in spite of the various steps the party has taken to find an amicable resolution,” Issa-Onilu said

APC leaders, including the chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; the chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) and governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Abubakar Bagudu, have tried to ensure that the crisis does not escalate without success.

The APC lamented yesterday, that “these interventions have not yielded the desirable results.

“However, the immediate concern of the NWC is how to ensure that unity returns to the ranks of the party in Edo State. In achieving this, we have decided to constitute a high-power fact-finding and reconciliation committee of party leaders to meet with all disputing parties to ensure that all issues are addressed and resolved,” he said.

Also on Wednesday, the SEC of APC in Edo ratified the suspension of Oshiomhole from the party.

The decision was taken at an enlarged meeting of the council and other party chieftains with Governor Obaseki in attendance in Benin City.

At the meeting, the leaders said that the suspension of Oshiomhole became necessary because he had been deploying divisive tactics to cause disharmony in the party in collaboration with the proscribed group, Edo Peoples Movement (EPM).

While addressing APC leaders from the 18 councils the state, Ojezua traced the genesis of the crisis to the primary elections in 2018, noting that “all these started since the party primaries in 2018 when we conducted the primaries to nominate candidates for the general elections held in 2019. It appeared that after the elections, Edo APC didn‘t know peace again.

“The issues were later aggravated in April and May 2019 which culminated in the formation of the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), an infamous group we proscribed in our last meeting,” he said.

Ojezua said that the news of his removal was shocking as the State Working Committee (SWC) which purportedly removed him didn‘t have powers to do so, adding that “our constitution has a provision to remove officers at the state level. It is only the State Executive Committee that has the powers to remove any officer.”

He continued: “Yesterday, 15 chairmen of the APC chapters in the local councils and 23 of the 35 members of SEC passed a vote of no confidence on Oshiomhole, while a vote of confidence was passed on my person.

“The APC local council chairmen have found out that Adams Oshiomhole is the one behind the crisis in Edo APC and following the findings, lost confidence in the leadership of the national chairman by passing a vote of no confidence on him. Considering the stand of these chairmen and also based on the report from organs of the party, we affirmed the suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole from APC in Edo State,” he said.

Ojezua said that “three local government chairmen of the APC were not in attendance at the meeting held on Tuesday. They are the chairmen of the party in Owan West, Etsako West and Etsako Central LGAs. I have letters informing me of their suspension and in that regard the vice chairmen are to act until those positions are filled.”

Governor Obaseki said that he was not happy with the recent political developments in the state, especially the disruptions from a once-trusted leader who has thrown caution to the wind to cause disaffection among APC members in the state.

The governor said that when he first met Oshiomhole 12 years ago, they shared a common interest in salvaging Edo State, but all that has changed in recent times, noting that „I am not an ungrateful person. No one made me governor. I became governor by God’s grace, with the support of many other people. If God had said I would not be governor, no way would I have been a governor. It is wrong for someone to say he made me governor.

“No one gave me money. The funds Oshiomhole initially raised for his governorship ambition was raised by me in Lagos. If I can raise money for him for his election, why would I not be able to raise money for my own election?”

Obaseki said that the national chairman was not truthful about comments on his administration, stressing that “if you came into power on some basic principles, do not expect to change those principles because you have certain ambition. If you came to power believing no man is God, then the day you start to play God, you will get the consequences.”

A leader of the APC in Ovia South-West LGA, Hon. Samuel Ekeneza, who moved the motion for the ratification of the suspension of Oshiomhole, said that the party remains supreme as no individual is bigger than it.

The motion for the ratification was supported by a leader of the APC in Esan Central LGA, Mr Osediamen Oriaifoh.

 (Leadership)

 

Source News Express

Posted 14/11/2019 12:42:08 PM

 

 

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