Despite the political differences between the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his successor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, Oshiomhole has continued to reposition the party ahead the 2020 governorship election in the state. Oshiomhole has capitalized on the crisis in the state PDP to pull out over 60 per cent of its leaders into the APC.
Apart from Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu who led some of the leaders into the APC, veteran politicians in Oshiomhole’s Edo North senatorial district such as Hon.Abubakar Momoh, Chief Joshua Ogene (a.k.a Scatter), Gen.Ilogho, Gen.A.Abu former military governor of Kano state, Hon.Ganiyu, Jarret Tenebe and others have dumped the PDP to join Oshiomhole in the APC. The implication is that the remnants of PDP in Edo North have all joined their son Oshiomhole. Anyone who has been following his politics in Edo State will recall that it was the same way he was able to dismantle the PDP winning machine during the days of late Chief Tony Anenih and by wooing top PDP leaders to his side he was able to grab the state from the strangle hold of the PDP.
And last weekend in his Iyamho country home, Oshiomhole met with leaders of the party across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state, de-emphasizing the ongoing crisis in the state APC. He urged them not to allow the current political impasse in the state to distract them and stressed the need for the leaders to keep their eyes on the ball. All the political heavyweights in the state including the new leaders who just joined the APC were there. Oshiomhole tasked the old members to ensure the new members are well integrated so as to make the party more formidable ahead the 2020 governorship elections, insisting that the APC will retain the state. The APC National Chair who reflected on the progresses made by the party since his assumption of office, expressed his satisfaction despite plots against him by some persons.
He said: “There are facts of history nobody can change. I became chairman precisely on the 24th of June 2018. By the special grace of God we won the first election, Ekiti election. The next election after that was Osun State election which APC also won by the special grace of God APC. Then came the Presidential and National Assembly elections, by the special grace of God we won the presidency and our president was re-elected for the final second term while we won more seats in the senate as well as more seats in the House of Representatives. Unlike in 2015, this time we managed our victory more creatively. Memory fails fast, that is why I am saying this because in 2015 we had majority yet APC produced Senate President and PDP produced Deputy Senate President and it was a riotous National Assembly, always fighting against the president. This time, we managed our victory more creatively, more smartly and we conducted peaceful secret ballot and our party won all the principal offices that were there to be contested. This time there was no grafting of APC and PDP.
We went to Kogi, and we won, then we went deeper to South-South Bayelsa state, the heart of the Ijaw Nation, we fielded a candidate; a humble man from a very humble beginning and as we can see, we have Bayelsa, by February he will be sworn in and the number of APC governors will increase. So, I am proud to say that under my chairmanship, we won one more state in the South-South and it is not just another state, it is a very special state, the state that produced the immediate past president”. Continuing he said, “I have no enemies, I have brothers and I have sisters. Some may be happy with me today, some may not be happy with me tomorrow but that is alright. We have quality minds because the governance of our country and the quality of politics must reflect the quality of the people who are in it so we are not just celebrating good people today, we are celebrating quality re-union with my brothers and my sisters
. I ask all of you to do the same thing in your various wards, please work hard to re-integrate all those who have re-united with us in all your wards, in all the local governments and of course at the state level. Our President in our last NEC meeting, reminded us that the strength of our party should be at the grass roots at the unit level, you must properly get yourself re-integrated and he believed that if we are not on ground at the unit level, how can we have the wards. He said we must listen to the ordinary members of the party and we will try the best we can to run our party transparently. The ordinary members are as important as all because without them, we cannot win elections. “You must have read a lot of stories about my person. I sleep well because my heart is at peace, but let me ask you to always please remember me in your prayers, I believe when God says yes, no man can say no. I believe when we work with our good heart, we might even be persecuted even for the good that we are doing but this season is the best season to remember that the purity of our heat does free us from people throwing stones at us. Don’t say I am doing my best because even that best is the reason somebody will fight you”. It will be recalled that Governor Obaseki last week declared Oshiomhole remained suspended from the party. The Governor said, “Can you imagine a national chairman that is creating problems in his own house? Because of that, we had to suspend him and he remains suspended. We pray that God should have mercy on him because he has done something bad against God and the people of Edo State; he should find his way back into the party and apologize to all of us. If he comes back remorseful and apologetic, we will consider taking him back.” The governor said he sympathized with the deputy governor “who was deceived by Oshiomhole, a man who he had always looked up to in politics. Oshiomhole thought he was setting a trap when he chose Philip Shaibu as my deputy and Osarodion Ogie as Secretary to the State Government. He was thinking that we will always quarrel, fight and then run to him for settlement.” But the state secretary of the party, Mr Lawrence Okah, fired back at the governor, regretting that the governor had abandoned the dividends of democracy he promised the people of the state to focus on war against the national chairman who had kept APC solid in the state over the years. He said, “It is very obvious that the governor’s second term ambition has affected his sense of reasoning. A man that has never voted before in Edo State until last year. A man that lost his unit, ward, Local Government and senatorial district in the Presidential election has now turned a super star due to the fact that he controls the resources of the state. How can an APC governor be saying that he has declared the seats of 14 members of the State House of Assembly elect, who are all APC members vacant? The fact remains that Obaseki is now going round the state recruiting people that will move with him to the PDP. Just two days ago, he held a meeting with top PDP leaders in Edo state with a view to perfecting the plans for his defection. But we will tell him that none of our members will join him to move to PDP. Even his Deputy, Philip Shaibu will not follow him to PDP. If he is a man like he claims, he should have met face to face with the National Chairman of our great party, to discuss any matter bothering him rather than abusing Oshiomhole on the pages of newspapers. Edo State APC under our indisputable leader, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole remains solid. However, if the crisis persists, it will be interesting to see how Oshiomhole will rejig his political family after the current Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu and the Secretary to the state Government Osarodion Ogie, had decided to pitch tent with Governor Obaseki. It may not be difficult for him with the arrival of Ize-Iyamu who was once his master strategist in his second term re-election as governor. Ize-Iyamu, Oshiomhole’s former Deputy, Dr Pius Odubu, Lawrence Okah are capable of neutralizing Obaseki’s forces in Edo South while the former Deputy Chief Whip of the senate, Pally Iriase, Oshiomhole’s Chief of Staff, Abass Braimah, Joshua Ogene, will check Shaibu’s chances in Edo North ahead the elections. Those monitoring the politics of the state will also want to see how Shaibu and Ogie, will comfortably team up with the governor to battle Oshiomhole.