•Why Obaseki deserves a second term – Shaibu
•Oshiomhole supporters to mobilise in rural areas
By Ozioruva Aliu
THE intrigues ahead of the June 22 governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo state have remained unabated as more aspirants from blues picked their expression of interest and nomination forms to contest the election.
More shocking is the purchase of nomination forms by former Deputy Governor: Dr Pius Odubu and former Minister of State for Works, Dr Chris Ogienmwonyi. The two were among the seven aspirants who few days ago withdrew their interest and agreed to support Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as their consensus candidate. They even jointly contributed money to buy his form.
In what seemed to have been a breakdown of the consensus agreement, Saturday Vanguard gathered that the two were shocked that a new entrant, Osaro Obazee who is an ally of Ize-Iyamu went to pick the governorship nomination form with the support of Ize-Iyamu and they were not carried along.
This development has led to a seeming distrust and discordant tunes now coming from the camp of the opposition to the second term bid of Governor Godwin Obaseki. Before now, the opposition appeared to speak in one voice. Supporters of each of the aspirants who before now pledged to support Ize-Iyamu had suddenly re-ignited their individual campaign channels.
A source close to the group said “it was a clear case of communication breakdown which I think was not properly managed and they have to be careful about it. You can see that the supporters of these aspirants especially Odubu and Ogienmwonyi who were almost getting pacified after their principals congratulated Ize-Iyamu had reignited their campaigns. This could be counter-productive because on the day of election, they may go and vote for these their leaders instead of Pastor Ize-Iyamu”
APC Governor’s meeting with Oshiomhole
Supporters of Obaseki had believed that the meeting of some APC governors with the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole would change the tide in favour of Obaseki. Even while the meeting was still ongoing in Abuja, some of them had taken to various social media platforms with information that the governors had prevailed on Oshiomhole to grant Obaseki right of refusal since, according to them, he performed creditably to merit a second term.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that the position of the governors to support their colleague failed when Oshiomhole took the governors through all that have transpired since the crisis started.
A source said: “First, Governor Obaseki missed it when he chose to go to the Villa instead of going with his colleagues to the national secretariat of the party. Oshiomhole told the governors that Obaseki created wedges against peaceful settlement of the crisis . The issue of the controversial inauguration of the state House of Assembly was raised, how the 14 elected members were not inaugurated, beaten up and chased out of Benin. They also said that when the National Assembly tried to intervene, the governor scuttled all the moves.
“When the NWC set up a committee headed by Kano State governor, Obaseki rejected it and even went to court; when the national reconciliation committee was set up initially headed by the Senate President before he excused himself, Obaseki rejected it accusing the Senate President of being an interested party. He also took them through the numerous court cases Obaseki has instituted to ensure the 14 lawmakers never returned to the house and to make reconciliation impossible.
“He told them about the division in the party in the state, how virtually all the stakeholders are against him (Obaseki) and told them that it may be too late to consider the requests they are making and to make matters worse, Obaseki himself was not there to even respond to the issues raised by Comrade Oshiomhole. By the time the meeting ended, some of the governors were shocked at the extent the governor allowed the crisis to linger,” our source said.
Supporters of the governor, using Kenneth Asekohme, Deputy State Chairman of the state working committee of the party and an aspirant Matthew Iduoriyekenmwen approached the Federal High Court in Benin on Tuesday to get an injunction against the APC, its national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Police. Among the reliefs sought were to nullify the decision of the NWC of the party to adopt direct primaries, a perpetual injunction to restrain the party from using direct primaries, a perpetual injunction restraining INEC from observing or issuing any report on the primary election.
Security agencies mostly personnel of the state special anti-crime outfit operation wabaizigan, men of the Edo State Traffic Management Agency (EDSTMA) and members of the Public Works Volunteers (PUWOV) were used to cordon of the federal high court premises while processes were being filed.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that information got to some leaders of the APC who quickly mobilised their lawyers to the court premises some of who had to navigate other routes to the court premises before sitting to stop the move.
An argument however ensued when the defendants Lawyers led by H. O Ogbodu (SAN), appeared in the matter and demanded to be served the motion papers.
The presiding Judge, Justice M.D Umar, declined to grant the exparte motion but instead gave the defendants three days to file their papers to show reason the injunction should not be granted and adjourned the case till next week.
Meanwhile on Monday, an attempt by the APC chairman in Orhiomwon local government area, Benjamin Oghumu at the High Court in Abudu to challenge the membership of Ize-Iyamu was also scuttled as the court became rowdy and the judge, Justice Vestee Eborieme adjourned sitting. The case has been re-assigned by the Chief Judge to High Court Six in Benin City.
Jostle for Shaibu’s seat
While the high wired politics on who gets the upper hand between Obaseki and his allies and Oshiomhole and his supporters continue, it was reliably gathered that people from Edo North senatorial district where the deputy governor, Comrade Philip Shiabu hails from are already positioning themselves to take his place.
With the way things are going it is believed that if the governor gets his second term ticket he would retain his deputy who had stayed with him throughout the crisis but those eying the office are hoping that Obaseki may change.
However, Saturday Vanguard gathered that five persons including a female have been lobbying one of the prominent traditional rulers in Edo North to get his blessings but he is said to have maintained his silence on this, preferring to watch events as they unfold.
It was also gathered that some politicians have also approached him to tell them who they should support between Oshiomhole and Obaseki and he was said to have told them to work for whoever they wish but that they must ensure that the person they support wins.
We have done enough to merit second term says Shaibu
Shaibu has said the Obaseki administration has moved Edo State from a Civil Service State into an economic hub and that the only way to consolidate is to give Obaseki a second term.
Speaking through his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Benjamin Atu, he said Obaseki adopted a hybrid strategy to tackle the hitherto ingrained inefficiency and ineffectiveness in the commerce and industry sector for maximum results.
“The truth is that a lot is happening in Edo State that the World is not aware of. What Governor Godwin Obaseki is doing is mind blowing.
“In the last three and half years dedication, focus, led to the realization that commerce and industry boost economic growth, strength and health of any society.
He maintained that the Government was worried about the crushing poverty in the state and conceived and embarked on the micro credit program as part of efforts to address poverty. “The objective of the Obaseki’s government is to achieve the happiness, economic enhancement and independence of the poorest, the weakest, the most vulnerable and the disadvantaged”
He maintained that it is in furtherance of this goal that the Governor is seeking a second term in office in order to consolidate on his micro credit effort.
“The return of Governor Godwin Obaseki will be for the greater good of Edo People.
“Businesses that started as very small basic micro businesses have started turning into cottage industries and small businesses. Since the Government has this kind of ingenuity and resilience towards ensuring the eradication of poverty why then are we struggling for a change of government?
“It is good ingenuity for the Edo State government. If we can continue with this for the next four years we will promote employment for both the skilled and unskilled and thereby reduce crime in the State and above all the state economy will grow. The Statement further alerted that “Obaseki’s administration has penetrated into the grassroots through meeting financial obligations of businesses. This, he has done because; regular financial institutions owing to their nature cannot put down funds for low income business.
“Is it such a passionate Government that some people are struggling to remove? We may fault actions of the government for not enriching individual elite who are bent on auctioning the State, but the government has impacted upon the lives of those who needed government the most through policies and programmes.
Series of litigation are expected in the next few days, leading to the primary and it is expected they will continue even after the exercise. However, we gathered that those opposed to the return of Obaseki have agreed that they would all relocate to their various wards and communities to begin mobilization of party supporters for the primary election.