By Stephanie Oziwo
Following the crisis in Edo State and suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, by a faction of the party, 18 chairmen in the state under the banner of the Edo APC Local Government Chairmen’s Forum, last week, endorsed Charles Idahosa, a former Commissioner for Information as the new party leader in the state .
The party chairmen who paid Idahosa a solidarity visit at his Benin City home said he is worthy of the position based on his sterling leadership qualities and his contributions to the success of the party.
The spokesman of the Chairmen’s forum, Benjamin Oghumu, urged Idahosa, a foundation member of the APC, to shun all forms of distraction and remain focussed on improving the fortunes in the state.
In his response, Idahosa faulted claims in some quarters suggesting that the wish of Oshiomhole will prevail in Edo APC Governorship primaries.
While thanking the chairmen for the honour bestowed on him as the political leader, he also expressed gratitude to Governor Godwin Obaseki, the party leader in the state for repositioning the party for success since his assumption of office.
He insisted that Edo State 2020 governorship election scheduled for September 19 would determine the survival or extinction of the party in the state.
Also speaking on his suspension by a faction of the party, he said there is no cause for alarm as it is another wise goose chase
“There is no cause for alarm. Don’t be bothered or shaken, Obaseki must do his eight years. If anybody by omission or commission stops him, APC is dead in Edo State. I have said it many times and I want the powers that be to understand this” he said
Also speaking on the alleged gang-up against Obaseki by four governorship aspirants namely Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, former deputy governor of the State, Pius Odubu, Major-General Charles Airhiavbere (Rtd) and former Minister of Works (State) Engr.
Chris Ogiemwonyi, Idahosa who is from Uhunmwode Local Government Area of the State, boasted that Obaseki will defeat the four APC contenders in the governorship election, as he beat them in the 2016 governorship primaries.
He also said the ongoing political gymnastics by some members of the party to stop governor Obaseki’s re-election was for their pecuniary benefits.
“APC will determine the kind of primaries that they want, not one person. It might interest you to know that I have never lost any battle and I want to assure you here that I stand like the rock of Gibraltar behind the re-election of Godwin Obaseki. Obaseki) is focused and nobody can bend him.”
Idahosa also said Oshiomhole, has no legal authority to function as National Chairman of the APC having been suspended by his ward.
Idahosa, who is a former political adviser to Oshiomhole, noted that any action taken by the embattled national chairman is null and void because it is an illegality.
“First and foremost, irrespective of your position, you are a member of the party and as President Muhammadu Buhari said in his speech when the Caucus met; It is bottom-up. You have to be relevant in your unit, ward, local government and at the state level before you can go to Abuja to claim big titles.
“As far as we are concerned in Edo APC, Oshiomhole is no longer the national chairman. The constitution is very clear in Article 21 on how members of the party can be dealt with but because of the ignorance of many of his followers, they think that once you become the national chairman of the party, you are above the law. Oshiomhole has no legitimacy”
Warning the APC of the legal implication of retaining Oshiomhole as the national chairman, Idahosa said: “He has been suspended by his ward. The party leaders are not spirits; they came out openly to endorse his suspension. They are not hiding and have not denied saying so.
”However, he decided to ignore these leaders. They are just postponing the evil day because at the end of the day, any action by him or any action he takes now as national chairman is null and void because it is an illegality.
In a related development, the leadership of the APC in Uhunmwonde Local Government Area also passed a vote of confidence on Idahosa, describing his suspension by a faction of the party as baseless, null and void.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of an enlarged meeting of the local council’s party executives held in Ehor, Uhunmwonde LGA .
The communiqué, signed by Uhunmwode APC Legal Adviser, Barr. Emmanuel Idahosa; Secretary, Enderly Igbinazaka and LGA Party Chairman, Engr Justin Omoruyi, condemned the activities of Hon. Samson Osagie, Chief Solomon Edebiri, Barr. Washington
Osifo and others who have constituted themselves into a factional group called the Edo People Movement, EPM.
“The party condemned their action as it relates to the meeting held by EPM on the 2nd of February 2020. The meeting is illegal, as they have no right to call for such meeting. The party disassociates itself from EPM as a group.
“The meeting held on 2nd February 2020 to suspend Hon. Charles Idahosa is illegal and the decision reached is worthless,” the communique read.
It continued: “Hon Charles Idahosa remains the leader of the Local Government, State and the nation at large. A vote of confidence is passed on him as the Party Leader in Uhunmwonde, as well as on the LGA Party Chairman, Engr. Justin Omoruyi, and the State Party Chairman, Barr. Anselm Ojezua.”
Speaking to journalists at the end of the enlarged meeting, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Richard Edebiri, who hails from Uhunmwonde LGA, said the local council is united in support of the governor, urging the people to continue to support Hon. Idahosa and the governor for the development of the area and the state.
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Patrick Okundia urged the people of Uhunmwonde to have absolute trust in the governor and support his re-election so he can continue with his developmental strides.
He urged EPM members to repent and retrace their footsteps as Idahosa remains the leader in the LGA.
Chairman of the council, Hon. Napoleon Agbama urged the people to remain focused and continue to support the party.