The political war between godfather and godson which is currently rocking the Lagos State chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has moved to Edo State as Governor Godwin Obaseki is allegedly working to dismantle the political structures of his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the incumbent National Chairman of the party.
According to Daily Independent report, while Oshiomhole is pushing for direct primaries as a means of selecting candidates in the forthcoming 2019 election, the Edo State chapter of the party has settled for a consensus arrangement where loyalists of Obaseki are being allegedly handpicked.
A party source in Benin said since the party opted for the consensus arrangement, majority of Oshiomhole’s foot soldiers who worked assiduously to ensure Obaseki’s emergence have been dropped from contesting.
The source who said it is an abnormality that of all states, Edo which is the home of the national chairman is going against his directive on direct primaries, adding that as a result of Obaseki’s alleged victimisation, many of the party leaders in Edo are moving to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to him, “What is happening in Edo right now is that Obaseki is fighting all Oshiomhole’s loyalists. He is trying to build his own political structures. For instance, Oshiomhole is talking about direct primaries in all APC states, but in his own state, the man he helped to become governor is defying him, saying he is doing consensus.
“In that consensus, he is targeting majority of Oshiomhole’s loyalists. He is picking his own loyalists as the consensus candidates and dropping the ones he doesn’t like. Unfortunately for him, many of the people he has picked are people who cannot win elections for APC. PDP is still very active in Edo State so we cannot afford to field people who are not popular.
“Obaseki, as we know, is not a politician but a technocrat and yet he is playing politics by moving furiously against the people who installed him. Instead of allowing politicians to handle the situation, he has arrogated all powers to himself in defiance to Oshiomhole.
“Because of his actions, most of the APC veterans in APC are defecting en masse to PDP. You will recall that a chieftain of the party, Chief Charles Idahosa, a few weeks ago announced that he is quitting politics until he was persuaded by Oshiomhole to change his mind.
Another chieftain of the party, who is not happy with the consensus arrangement, said, “As we speak, he is using police to fight Chief Francis Inegbeneki, accusing him of sponsoring Esan youths who stoned his convoy, meanwhile Inegbeneki has no business with what happened to him. The youths only pleaded with him to interact with them but he said he doesn’t have their time and entered his car. They became angry and started stoning his convoy.
“What he is doing now is that systematically he is trying to erase all Oshiomhole’s legacies. For instance, Oshiomhole built a state of the art Central Hospital and furnished it with equipment. President Muhammadu Buhari came to commission the hospital but two years after, Obaseki has refused to open that hospital.”
However, Chief Anselm Ojezua, the Edo State chairman of the party, denied the existence of any rift between Obaseki and his predecessor.
On why the party is opting for consensus arrangement instead of the direct method, he said, “It is not true. Most of them know what the constitution says. The constitution says we can do consensus, where consensus fails, we can go for primaries.
“If we want to go for primaries, we can either go for direct or indirect. At the moment in Edo, we have been favouring consensus but from what I can see, there are lots of purchase of forms. So we are going to encourage our leaders to still try to achieve consensus.
“But if they are not able to do it, we will go for primaries. We have been doing primaries before. It is not a one-man thing. In fact, it is not a decision for Oshiomhole or Obaseki to make. It is a party affair of Edo APC”, he said.
•Excerpted from a Daily Independent report