…Gov Obaseki asks Oshiomhole to shift grounds on Speaker
…I stand on President Buhari’s directive -Oshiomohole
…Conflicting signals from Oshiomhole, Obaseki camps
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, Niger Delta
BENIN CITY- PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly directed Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State to issue a fresh proclamation for inauguration of Edo State House of Assembly.
Impeccable sources disclosed to Vanguard, weekend, that Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, who is a member of Committee set up by President Buhari to resolve the Edo state crisis, declared the stand of Mr. President at the first re-conciliatory meeting of the group, last Monday, in Abuja.
The committee headed by Chair of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state has Governor El-Rufai and business magnate, Alhaji Aliko Dangote as members. Both the National Chair of All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki are members of the committee.
The initial meeting of the committee presided over by Governor Fayemi was held at Ekiti House. Our source said Governor El-Rufai informed the meeting as they commenced that he had information from President Buhari. He hinted:
“The Kaduna governor told the meeting that President Buhari wants Obaseki to issue fresh proclamation for re-inauguration of House of Assembly, and anybody interested in the Speaker position should contest it.”
“Governor Obaseki interjected, saying he thought they were looking for peace, but having seen the handwriting on the wall even before the meeting, he said he would want to appeal to Oshiomhole for a situation where the self-worth of both sides would be accommodated in the final resolution,” he said.
Vanguard learned that the governor argued that if the present Speaker, Hon Frank Okiye would be sacrificed, then Oshiomhole should also shift grounds on his preferred candidate, Hon Victor Edoror for a neutral person, Hon Emmanuel Okoduwa.
Governor el-Rufai demanded to know what Obaseki meant by accommodating the interests of both sides, saying if the governor wants anybody Hon Emmanuel Okoduwa in the new dispensation as Speaker, he should ask him to lobby his colleagues and he (Obaseki) should also lobby the lawmakers for him.
The Kaduna governor made reference to the recent inauguration of the National Assembly, where the President and the party settled for the incumbent Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, but Senator Mohammed Ndume insisted on his rights to contest and everybody went to lobby the senators-elect.
Oshiomhole’s tacit response
Oshiomohole in his response stated that his stand is what the President enunciated through el-Rufai.
According to our source, “The meeting ended on that note the first day without conclusion, therefore, it was adjourned to the next day.”
“On the second day, last Tuesday, they could not also take a formal position with the governor saying that he had shifted grounds, so, the other side should also shift grounds.”
They adjourned again to the third day for possible conclusion, but the day coincided with the Presidential Retreat, last Wednesday, which Oshiomhole, Obaseki and others attended and photographers took pictures.
“That third day they did not meet as planned and to the best of my knowledge, nothing has happened on the matter since then,” our source added.
What they resolved- Obaseki aide
Contrary to the above information, a source close to Obaseki, who confirmed he did not attend the Abuja meeting, said: “I was not there at the meeting, but what I know that political steps are being taken to resolve the crisis. Some governors and Alhaji Dangote met with both Oshiomhole and Obaseki some days ago in Abuja.
“And part of the conclusions is that the House as presently inaugurated should be left as it is; that other lawmakers not sworn in should granted unfettered access for their inauguration, while APC politicians were enjoined to work together.
“The problem really is the way Obaseki has decided to run the government, not any other thing. He decided that the people should come first and politicians are not happy with him.
“His order of priority is from whatever comes from the Federation Account, pay civil servants and pensioners first; look at contractual obligations and pay contractors; if there is still money left, pay political office holders and their allowances to run their offices; after which he would talk about patronage to politicians.
“As I speak to you now, political office holders in the state are being owed backlog of because the governor has prioritized areas of needs.
All lies- Oshiomhole supporters
A top politician from the state, who is sympathetic to Oshiomhole, told Vanguard, “Forget the photograph you saw online and all those things. They have not reached any agreement, anybody telling you they have reached agreement is telling lie.”
“The truth of the matter is that Obaseki has been directed to issue a fresh proclamation and do reconciliation. They have been trying to reach out to Oshiomhole, there is nothing wrong in taking photograph, but that is not to say that he would not do what the President and party have asked him to do,” he added.
Another pro-Oshiomhole party leader said, “Forget about all those stories that they resolved to allow the inauguration stay and they locked up Oshiomhole and Obaseki in one room to settle their differences. Are they babies to be locked up, by who and where?
“What I can tell you is that the governor is realizing some of his mistakes, he is beginning to make some sense,” he added.