By Simon Ebegbulem & Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—The reported endorsement of the immediate past governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, for the office of National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, was yesterday received with mixed feelings in the state.
While a section of party faithful, led by the state chairman celebrated the endorsement at the state secretariat, outside, critics of the former governor bemoaned the endorsement as an unjust reward for him after reportedly diminishing President Muhammadu Buhari’s reputation through leading him to commission non-existent projects.
Party leaders from different parts of the state led by the state chairman of the party, Mr Anslem Ojezua, were at the party secretariat to celebrate the endorsement yesterday.
“We are celebrating because we are happy our President has done the right thing. We are going to war next year and we need a warrior in the form of Oshiomhole to lead the war.”
Also, former House of Representatives member, Mr Patrick Obahiagbon, described Oshiomhole as the “best man for this job because he has been tested and trusted in Edo state and as former President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC.”
Another chieftain of the party in Edo State, Dr David Imuse, said: “APC is lucky to have a personality like Comrade Oshiomhole and I urge all well meaning APC leaders who love President Buhari to support him.”
Rebuffing the endorsement yesterday, Edo Unity League, EUL, following what it claimed as a demonstration round the city in a statement said the position of APC National Chairman should be sustained by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun upon his unique effort in leading the party to defeat an incumbent government.
A statement in Benin yesterday by the group’s Director, Action and Mobilization, Mallam Abdul Osaze Uhunasmure, said Odigie-Oyegun’s enemies who had been working against him have murdered sleep and cannot sleep any more.
He said, “We reject the aspiration by former Governor Adams Oshiomhole because we believe that the position of National chairman of a party should not be an inadvertent reward to those who drained the reputation of President Muhammad Buhari by inviting him to commission a completely nonexistent hospital and other phantom projects.
“ Similarly, we are backing Chief John Odigie – Oyegun because his terrific leadership broke the jinx of hitherto impossibility of unseating an incumbent Federal government.
“Suffice it to say that it is not in our operational modus to stage possession for any single individual of Edo extraction no matter how highly placed. The need to drum a landmark warning to political opportunists who are fanning the ember eternal ethnic rivalry between the Benins and Afemai people provoked our unanimous resolve to set aside the restraining principle of this caveat and stage this grand possession”.