By Gabriel Olawale
A chieftain of the Edo State All Progressives Congress (APC), has disclaimed a report insinuating that President Muhammadu Buhari has endorsed Ondo and Edo state Governors for a second term adding that “the President is a democrat and one who is not in the business of enthroning aspirants on his party”.
Addressing journalists in Abuja shortly after the swearing in of APC acting National Secretary, Waziri Bulama, the Edo state APC stalwart, Prince John Mayaki said “Godwin Obaseki’s status as a political orphan has driven him and his supporters to new levels of desperation, the latest manifestation being the condemnable attempt to drag the esteemed President Muhammadu Buhari into their travails by claiming that he had endorsed the embattled man.”
According to Mayaki, “In a report carefully planted in one of the nameless blogs, they sought to mislead Edo people and other Nigerians into believing that after a purported meeting in Abuja with Godwin Obaseki today, Monday, 18th of May, he was subsequently endorsed by the President.
“The inherent falsehood of the story is not hard to spot. Since his victory at the polls in 2015, President Buhari has displayed unblemished respect for our democracy and its tenets. On occasions too numerous to count, especially in matters of local elections, the President has demonstrated his resolve to allow for the emergence of party candidates through a free and fair process that reflects the true will of the people in the locality and party members.
“This was true in Lagos State in the last governorship election, and so it was in Ogun State. In both specific situations, the will of the party members prevailed, and the President, out of respect for the principles of elective democracy, and an acknowledgment of the fact that ‘enthronement’ of candidates contravenes every known tenet of ‘the rule of the people’ refused to interfere or rig the process in favor of any candidate.
READ ALSO: Obaseki appoints Uzamere as Chief of Staff
“By dragging him into their desperate scheme to truncate party systems and conventions, Godwin Obaseki and his followers are sadly impugning the reputation the President has carefully built for himself over the years, and as a result, cast him as a dictator. This is unfortunate especially because it is not the case and inconsistent with the President’s public declarations”, he said.
Mayaki recalled that “in December last year, during a meeting with state chairmen of the APC across all states in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari, after declaring full support for the leadership of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, quashing the well-reported attempt by Obaseki to cause an internal mutiny in the party’s hierarchy through funds sourced from Edo state treasury, made it abundantly clear that only politicians with popular support at the grassroots will be allowed to fly the party’s flag in any election.
“In Abuja, we want to deal with people who have a solid base from where they come,’’ the President said and without mincing words, this description clearly does not match Obaseki.
“It is therefore incongruous and patently false to claim that the President would declare support for a man whose loyalty to the party is in doubt, and has lost the support of virtually all leaders across all political levels in the state over verified allegations of incompetence and abuse of office.
“Godwin Obaseki and his followers are advised to refrain from besmirching the good name and reputation of the President and making him an unwilling character in their plot to avoid the assessment and verdict of the people they have governed over for nearly four years”, Mayaki said.