Home News Obaseki Vs Oshiomhole: Truce at last?

Obaseki Vs Oshiomhole: Truce at last?


Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki paid a Sallah visit to the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, in his Iyamho country home two days ago. Will the parley end the House of Assembly crisis? Correspondent OTABOR OSAGIE writes on the reconciliation moves.

It was celebration time for members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State. The expected implosion may not happened again. The National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and Governor Godwin Obaseki said there was no rift between them. They attributed the speculation about the feud to the media, politicians with selfish interest and third parties.

Oshiomhole said he and Obaseki had been in constant communication.

The governor had visited Oshiomhole at his Iyamho country home to celebrate the Eid el Kabir in company of his deputy, Philip Shaibu, Secretary to the Government, Osarodion Ogie, Chief of Staff, Taiwo Akerele and other political leaders. Oshiomhole told reporters that the alleged rift between them was the creation of people with personal interest.

Oshiomhole said: “from time to time, we have always been meeting. It is not an unusual visit. the meeting afforded me the opportunity to meet with my brother and with people I have worked with.”

Oshiomhole added that it was unfortunate that the media wanted to create factions for their own gain.

Earlier, at a thanksgiving service to celebrate the 80th birthday of Chief John Oyegun, Obaseki, who was responding to the appeal for peace by the Bishop of Catholic Benin Diocese, ArchBishop Obiora Akubeze, said he had met with Oshiomhole to resolve issues created by third parties in the state. He maintained that the tensed political situation was caused by some greedy politicians who wanted him to share the state resources.

He said: “I thank you very much for the remarkable homily. I listened very attentively and I have taken every word in your remark to heart and very seriously. I want to assure you that we are in pursuit of peace and we will have peace in Edo State.

“We have met – me and my predecessor in office – and fortunately, we do not have any fundamental issues. And because we do not have any fundamental issue, I believe that whatever third parties are trying to propagate, I am sure we can talk over it. I assure you that very soon, things will return to normalcy in Edo State.”

There were murmuring and applauds when Archbishop Akubeze was delivering his homily as he called on Obaseki and Oshiomhole to meet and discuss on how to provide dividends of democracy to Edo people.

His words: “The quality of leadership Obaseki is providing is commendable. We see your works on roads in all the three senatorial districts. We see your work in schools. You have continued the good works of your predecessor. Edo State has seen in the former governor a man who aligns himself with the poor. In you, we have seen a technocrat who believes in rewarding merit and ensuring that the resources of the state are used for the good of the people.

“Edo State needs men like Obaseki and Oshiomhole to come together for the good of the people you love so much. What is surprising to many people is that we have never seen an intra party crisis of this level. All elected members of House are of the same party and yet the state is in the news for the wrong reasons. We call on all leaders to embrace the call for peace of justice. We commend the state government for observing the rule of law by using judicial procedure to seek vindication of its rights.

“The people of Edo State are interested in the dividends of democracy. They want good roads, portable water, job opportunities. They want security of life and property, opportunity for everyone to develop potentials. We want to call on Oshiomhole and Obaseki to discuss ways to move Edo forward

“Edo State had gotten opportunity to produce national political leaders. We must ensure that the rest of the nation see us capable of providing the nation with national leaders. God willing one day a president of the Nigeria will come from Edo State. Political conflict within the same party erode the hard earned credibility of Edo people.”

The alleged rift between Oshiomhole and Obaseki came to the fore when in May some members of the Edo State APC formed the Edo Peoples Movement. Those that formed the EPM are politicians that failed to secure appointment in the Obaseki’s administration, private revenue contractors and others who felt the governor is not servicing party leaders. Two major objectives of the EPM are to re-position the APC and get a replacement for Obaseki. Apparently to show where its strength lies, the group said it would not allow Obaseki to destroy the legacies of Oshiomhole.

They became ‘opposition’ to the administration by listing perceived pitfalls of Obaseki these include non-opening of the new Five Star hospital built by Oshiomhole, the abandoning of the storm water project, the closure of the Colleges of Education and Agriculture, giving appointments to unknown persons and awarding contracts to friends from outside the state.

After a reported meeting between Obaseki and Oshiomhole in Abuja last month, Idahagbon had said: “Edo Peoples Movement will stick to its two cardinal objectives. First is to restructure the party by strengthening it, by returning the party to its old winning ways, an election winning machine.

“The second is to shop for a suitable replacement for Governor Godwin Obaseki in 2020. Those two motives are immutable we stand with them and whatever peace move they make good for them. We don’t have any problem with any peace move but the peace move will be without prejudice to the cardinal objectives of Edo Peoples Movement.”

What further caused a gap in the APC was the inauguration of nine lawmakers into the Seventh House of Assembly and Francis Okiye emerged as Speaker. The EPM rose in defence of other 12 members-elect that were absent during the inauguration. Oshiomhole also kicked against the inauguration by insisting that the proper things should be done. The relocation of the 12 members-elect to Abuja gave credence to the suspicion that Oshiomhole was backing the activities of the EPM.

The grandstanding made a former Political Adviser to Oshiomhole, Charles Idahosa, to criticise Oshiomhole. He urged him to say whether he had problem with Obaseki or not. He said the continued silence of Oshiomhole was responsible for the crisis rocking the Assembly.

Idahosa said: “We are not comfortable with what is happening in Edo State today. The political division, the confusion. A situation where we ought to be very happy as a party, but it is now like a tragic-comedy. A situation where we have a governor that the people are happy with, but his problem is with the leadership of the party.

“Over two years ago, I was the first person to react to Obaseki’s style in his relationship with the party leadership. I called leaders who are today fighting Obaseki, but nobody saw what I was talking about. They turned around to present a situation that I was fighting the Governor. Because of personal interest, they have turned around to fight because they want federal appointments; some want to take over from Obaseki. These people were seen to have no value for eight years.

“I find it strange that Governor Obaseki, on arrival from his vacation, announced to the world that he has no problem with the APC National Chairman. I have waited since to see reaction from Oshiomhole, but there is no reaction. Why has Oshiomhole refused to say he did not send any body to form a group against the government?

“Silence means consent. Why has Oshiomhole not said he did not send them?We see how this problem has snowballed into the House of Assembly.”

Now, Oshiomhole and Obaseki have said there is no rift between them. They have laughed together before the television camera. Whether their followers will fall in line would be known in the coming days. The days ahead will tell if the EPM is alone in its struggles.

Source: The Nation NG

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