Buhari hosts Obaseki, APC govs meet Oshiomhole, NWC

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    The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Monday hosted the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, at the Aso Rock Villa, amid the lingering rift between the governor and his predecessor and Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole.

    Although details of the meeting were sketchy as of the time of filing this report, it was gathered that Obaseki who was at the Presidential Villa to present his nomination and Expression of Interest forms to the President, asked for his intervention in the political crisis between him and Oshiomhole.

    This came barely 24 hours after joining seven of his colleagues to hold a similar meeting with the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, in Lagos.

    A source privy to the meeting said, “The president met with Obaseki and will be meeting with Oshiomhole and the governors to find a common ground. That’s all I can tell you for now.”

    Earlier, Oshiomhole had told reporters that the Edo State governorship primaries would proceed as planned just as he said the sale of forms was ongoing.

    He spoke after he led other members of the party’s National Working Committee in a meeting with governors elected on the party’s platform, in Abuja, on Monday.

    In response to a question with regards to the rejection of the direct primary mode of primaries by Obaseki and his supporters, Oshiomhole asked the reporter to “stop spreading rumours.”

    He said, “Obaseki is not here but issues of primaries are well spelt out in our constitution and we are following it as strictly as possible.

    “You are speculating (on Obaseki’s rejection of direct primaries), I don’t have any letter or document to that effect. These are very formal matters. Stop spreading rumours.”

    Speaking on preparations for the party’s primaries in Edo and Ondo states, Oshiomhole said, “We have published our time table because under the law, we are required to give INEC at least 21 days’ notice to monitor our primaries and to state the mode of our primaries and of course NEC had approved direct primaries for Edo.

    “That of Ondo has not been discussed because that will come much later, because Edo will come about three weeks before Ondo.

    “We have commenced the sale of forms. I think by today, more people have picked the forms. So we’re selling forms to all those who wish to buy based on the guidelines. I think everything has been going fine.”

    A top-ranking member of the APC NWC, who spoke to The PUNCH on condition of anonymity, said, “The issue of the mode of primaries for Edo didn’t feature at the meeting. We only discussed how to be fair to all in the conduct of the primaries. The governors want whatever the issue is that it should be resolved in favour of their colleague. Consultations are still going on.”

    Also speaking after the meeting, the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Abubakar Bagudu said, “The meeting between the national leadership of our party with the Progressives Governors Forum was to discuss issues that have piled up especially between March 14th when the forum last met and agreed to meet with the National Working Committee under the able leadership of Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole to discuss issues of interest to our party.”

    Governors, who attended Monday’s meeting, included: Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Babajide Sanwu-olu (Lagos), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and Simon Lalong (Plateau).

    ‘Buhari in support of my re-election bid’

    Meanwhile, Obaseki on Monday said he had received the support of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for his re-election bid under the APC.

    Obaseki said this as he presented his nomination form to Buhari during a visit to the Presidential Villa in Abuja, ahead of the APC governorship primary election scheduled for this month.

    The governor, while fielding questions from State House Correspondents, stated that Buhari’s reception was warm, while the President expressed his support for him.

    He said, “I came to see Mr President to formally inform him of my desire and intention to seek re-election as governor of Edo State on the platform of the APC in the forthcoming governorship elections. The President was quite warm and welcoming.

    “When I showed him my Expression of Interest form, he looked through it, wished me good luck and assured me of his support.”

    Speaking on his rift with the APC national chairman, Obaseki said, “It’s unfortunate he’s (Adams Oshiomhole) taken the position he has taken. I believe that he was not properly guided and, as governor – and his governor – it is my responsibility to seek peace for my state and with all my citizens.

    “So, the relationship is still frosty. I’m doing my best to make it warm just for the sake of Edo people. Whatever it will take to have peace and not to lose lives in Edo, I am committed to.”

    Asked on how much he was willing to sacrifice in order to mend fences with Oshiomhole, the governor said, “Whatever I can do that is within the law and constitutional, I would.”

    He added that he had received the “unanimous” support of his fellow APC governors.

    Source: PunchNG

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