Edo 2020: Obaseki opts for another party
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State.

…As APC disqualifies him, Ogiemwonyi, Iduoriyekemwen

…Cites discrepancies in Gov’s certificates, names

…Obaseki shuns appeal, says his disqualification, a mockery of democratic process

…As Ize-Iyamu, Odubu, Obazee scale hurdle

…Oyegun blows hot, says party would be punished in Edo

…Go on appeal, Oshiomhole tasks Obaseki, others

…Obaseki will win the guber election – Ojezue

By Dapo Akinrefon; Omeiza Ajayi; Gabriel Enogholase & Ozioruva Aliu

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State was last night weighing different options and considering the party he would bear their flag in the September governorship election  after the Prof. Jonathan Ayuba-led Screening Committee of the All Progressives Congress APC for the Edo state Governorship primary election  disqualified him, as well as Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi and Hon. Matthew Iduoriyekemwen.

Sources close to the governor said a final decision would be taken today even as some politicians in the state  had eyes on the Peoples Democratic Party. But even as that option appeared shaky, close friends of the governor boasted that they had a joker, vowing that the governor would be re-elected in September. The governor, his aides, said, would not appeal the disqualification.

Presenting the report of the committee to the National Working Committee NWC of the party on Friday in Abuja, Prof. Ayuba cited discrepancies in the names and certificates of the governor. For Ogiemwonyi, the committee also cited discrepancies in his names while it disqualified Iduoriyekemwen on the grounds that he instituted a suit against the party without exhausting all mechanisms of settlement in line with the APC Constitution.

Speaking on the activities of his committee, Prof. Ayuba said; “We are staking our integrity. The integrity of the process in this country in order to arrive at what we have done. Mr Chairman, our report is conclusive. Every member signed and has agreed with what we have decided at the committee level. This is essential because we want to be judged by what we have done and what we are presenting.

“We were thorough in the manner in which we conducted the exercise. We recorded live the interaction with each of the aspirants. The unedited clip is what we are giving as part of our report. We want to be judged by what we have done and not by what a third party says or by rumour.

“The methodology we used is clear. It was evidence-based. All we did was an interaction.

The Report

“We screened six aspirants. Three were eligible to contest and three were deemed ineligible to participate.

Mr Osaro Obaze: The first candidate was Mr Osaro Obaze. The committee after screening and the verification of the candidate’s documents, found him eligible to contest the primary. Based on the committee’s observation above, the candidate is cleared.

“Engr Chris Osa: The name on all the certificates presented by the aspirant are in contradiction with one another. Also the sworn declaration of age deposed to by one Capt. Stephen on 3rd June 2016 bore two conflicting names of the aspirant. Considering the discrepancy in all the certificates presented and also the difference in the names contained in the sworn affidavit of June 2016, and having regards to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Electoral Act, APC Constitution and the party’s guidelines for the nomination of candidates and the reliance on the cases that have been settled by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, it is the considered view of the committee that this aspirant does not meet the requirements to participate in the primary election of the APC.  “In view of the findings of the committee above, Engr Chris is not cleared.

“Dr Pius Odubu: The observations are that the name Pius  Egberanmwen Precious Odubu appeared on  different documents. However anomaly was cured in the affidavit deposed to by his father and our recommendation is the Pius Odubu is eligible to participate in the election.

“Mr Godwin Obaseki: Though, His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki in his nomination form claimed to have obtained a Higher School Leaving Certificate from an Institute of Continuing Education, Benin. It was observed however that no educational certificate such as HSC is known in Nigerian educational system. Even then, the same HSC was never presented in the course of the screening exercise. The aspirant admitted that he has never collected it.

“The attestation from the Institute of Continuing Education, Benin from where the alleged HSC which was indicated in the field of attendance as obtained is of no consequence, as it only attests that Obaseki was a student of the Institute. So what we had was like an attendance. It was just an attendance, it was not a result.

“Although, the Committee received a petition on his University of Ibadan Bachelor of Arts Classics certificate which he submitted to INEC in 2016, when he first contested as governor, the committee on further probing was presented with original certificate issued by the University and the original was sighted.

“On the NYSC certificate dated 6th August 1980, the committee observed that he bears the name ‘Obasek’ Godwin. While this may be an error on the part of the issuing authority, we observed however that the aspirant has not taken any step ever to have the anomaly corrected by the issuing authority. In our interaction with issues raised, we concluded that HSC was defective. The NYSC certificate and the fact that the aspirant took the party to court, the above aspirant, His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki therefore is not eligible to participate in the election.

“During our interaction which was done live, he informed us that he has instituted a suit against the party and the National Chairman. Yesterday (Friday) we received all the documents of those processes and we had to rely on the party constitution because it is stated clearly that remedies should be carried through party processes. We gave opportunity for them to give us evidences to show that this was done and nothing happened.

Iduoriyekemwen: The last aspirant we screened was Iduoriyekemwen and our recommendation is that because he has also instituted a case before the court and which he admitted and since the Constitution is clear about such actions, it is the view of the committee that he is not eligible to participate in the exercise”, he explained.

Go on appeal

Receiving the report, National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole restated his earlier position that the verdict of the committee was not final, urging those who are aggrieved to file their complaints to the Appeal Committee.

He said; “Like I mentioned at the inauguration of this committee, your report is still subject to the Appeal Committee and the appeal committee will give opportunity to all those who have participated in this exercise to appeal if they have reasons to disagree with the findings of this committee. As of yesterday, those aspirants have been advised to take full advantage of the appeal mechanism if they wish and the appeal Committee has been out on notice to be ready to hear any appeal arising from these aspirants”.

We’ll not appeal outcome of unjust screening exercise—Obaseki

Reacting to his disqualification, Obaseki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie said that he would not appeal “his unjust disqualification by the Governorship Primary Screening Committee” noting that the action was ‘a mockery of the democratic process.’

READ ALSO: Edo 2020: Parties must obey govt gazette in conduct of primaries ― Shaibu

He said, “We have watched the mockery of democratic process, which Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, is administering and superintending over in our great party the All Progressives Congress (APC). It has been an unfortunate, disheartening and dreadful spectacle.

“We had initially asserted that going by the open display and enthronement of illegality by one man in the party that comprises several organs and eminent personalities, there is no way that Governor Godwin Obaseki would get a fair assessment in the run-up to the nomination of candidates to fly the flag of the party in the forthcoming Edo gubernatorial election.

“It is unfortunate that this open show of shame, illegality and travesty of justice is the brand of democracy which Comrade Oshiomhole has reduced the APC into. The situation is quite saddening because this is a party supposedly reputed for change, equity and social justice.

“We have therefore decided that it would be effort in futility to appeal whatever the unjust outcome of the evaluation and screening process of the APC will be, especially when Comrade Oshiomhole has declared that he is the Supreme Court and ultimate determiner of the fate and future of our great party. We wish Oshiomhole luck in his maladministration of the party and trust that the Almighty will help our country to find the path to true liberty, freedom and justice. We call on all party members and the teeming supporters of Governor Obaseki to remain calm and await further directives”.

APC will be punished—Oyegun

Erstwhile National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun has reacted angrily on the disqualification of Gov. Obaseki, saying except the verdict was immediately reversed, the party risked punishment in the state. Odigie-Oyegun’s position was contained in a statement by his Public Afford Adviser, Ray Morphy titled, “All Options are on the Table”.

According to him, “the disqualification of Obaseki by the APC Screening Panel is a hatchet job aimed at installing a stooge that will allow some people unfettered access to Edo Treasury.

“While not a surprise, that disqualification is a clear indication that internal democracy has been murdered in APC, a party which we   founded on the principles of fair play and good conscience!

“I dare say that APC will suffer dire consequences in Edo state if this disqualification is not speedily reversed.   As a matter of fact, Oshiomole is indeed the one who is guilty of anti party, not Obaseki. Oshiomole is the one who is acting unconstitutionally not Obaseki. I hope that Oshiomole will not go down in history as the undertaker of APC”, he stated.

Let’s close ranks—Ize-Iyamu

Reacting to the outcome of the committee’s work, Pastor Ize-Iyamu hailed them for doing a thorough job and urged stakeholders of the party to close ranks to ensure its electoral victory.

The Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu Campaign Organisation in a statement endorsed by its Director of Communication and Media, Mr. John Mayaki said; “I wish to send my deepest gratitude to all the members of our great party, the All Progressives Congress, for a joyful cooperation that led to a seamless but thorough screening exercise.  The progress made today by completing this exercise reveals the true spirit and character of our party premised on a bold insistence on fairness, accountability, and transparency.

“On my own part, having passed the screening tests, I want to state my consistent readiness to take the will of the party as the ultimate, regarding its laws and principles as the supreme guide for the execution of our affairs and assignments.”

“I urge all the members of our party whose indefatigable commitment, loyalty, and cooperation has led to the success we experienced in recent times, to remain focused and committed to our general ambition as a party, and in the same vein pursuant of our personal political dreams in light of our progressive philosophy.

“As we prepare for the primaries and the election itself, it is time we bind together and close ranks, remembering that the greatest goal is the progress of Edo State, the moving forward of our great homeland, and the betterment of life for all of its people”.

Oshiomhole violated party’s constitution—Iyoha

A former member of the state House of Assembly and Special Adviser to Obaseki on Political Matters (Edo South), Osaigbovo Iyoha has warned that alleged arbitrariness and persistent disregard for the rule of law by Oshiomhole, would cost the party’s fortunes at the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Edo State.

Iyoha said the National Chairman at the last count has violated 15 articles of the party’s constitution, noting “Oshiomhole has turned the APC to a one-man show. Nothing makes sense to him now except the removal of Godwin Obaseki from office.

“At the last count, Oshiomhole has violated 15 articles of our constitution. The worst thing you can do is to assault the motto of our party. There is no justice in what Oshiomhole is doing. He has become a judge in his own case. Oshiomhole actually created the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), all in a bid to push Obaseki out of the party.”

Obaseki, architect of his misfortune— Azebanmwan

Meanwhile the Publicity Secretary of the faction of the APC loyal to Oshiomhole, Chris Azebanmwan said Obaseki was the architect of his political misfortune since he did not take necessary steps to regularise the discrepancies in his credentials.

On the allegation that Oshiomhole was responsible for the disqualification of the governor, Azebanwan said “It is very easy to ascribe one’s failures in life to a phantom individual. I believe it has become the norm with Obaseki and people in his group that even when they miss their flight at the airport, they say Oshiomhole caused it. I have said it that Obbaseki’s problem in Edo state has nothing to do with Oshiomhole, it has to do with Obaseki and the political class. He should leave Oshiomhole out of it

Obaseki’ll be re-elected—Ojezua

In his own reaction, Chairman of the Edo State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Anselm Ojezua, called for calm among party members and supporters following the  disqualification of Mr Godwin Obaseki saying  that the governor has performed credibly well and would be re-elected for a second term.

Ojezua, who spoke to journalists in Benin City after the announcement by the committee, said the result didn’t come as a surprise as the governor had alluded to the fact that he would not get justice from the screening exercise. He, however, appealed to the supporters of the party in the State to remain calm as the leadership of the party would meet today

On the governor’s chances of re-election following his decision not to appeal the screening result, the party chairman noted, “They didn’t say he will not contest the election but that he will not contest under the platform of the APC. By tomorrow, we will meet and be in a position to make a proper statement on what the future holds for the party in Edo State”

Timeline of the Obaseki, Oshiomhole war

The face-off between Gov. Obaseki and his erstwhile godfather, Comrade Oshiomhole took a turn for the worse when on June 17, 2019 the governor inaugurated 10 members of the State House of Assembly, leaving out 14 who were considered pro-Oshiomhole.

Before then, both men had been having a cold war but they never failed to use every opportunity available to them to blame the media for insinuating a crisis where none existed. There had been allegations that the governor was mostly dealing with Lagos contractors to the detriment of local contractors some of who are members of the ruling party.

In fact, at a ceremony in May 2019, he was blunt in saying he would not share the state resources to politicians. At the time, many analysts considered his definition of “politicians” to be members of the Oshiomhole camp.

The governor had said; “I want to assure you that my party is solidly behind me. I am not standing on my own. So, ignore what you are reading in a section of the media. Those are people who want me to give them the money I should be using to train our teachers, provide for our children and develop the state. I will never give our people’s money to them”.

At another event with Islamic clerics in June 2019, he maintained his stance, accusing some politicians of wanting to profit off the people.

In November 2019, Oshiomhole was reportedly attacked during the maiden convocation of Edo University, Iyamho. While the national chairman accused Gov. Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shuaibu of plotting to harm him, the duo blamed Oshiomhole for sponsoring the attack to embarrass the state government.

Thereafter, the governor reportedly issued an order that Oshiomhole must not come into the state without informing the state’s security apparatus and himself as the Chief Security Officer of the state.

In February, this year, Oshiomhole was said to have been attacked at the Benin airport. He laid the blame on the governor who in turn denied any direct or remote involvement in the attack.

In March this year, the party structure in the state became factionalized. While Obaseki aligned with Anselm Ojezua leadership which claimed to have suspended Oshiomhole from the party, the national chairman inaugurated Col. David Imuse (retd) as the new chairman of the party in the state. He later wrote to the electoral umpire stating that the office of the party in the state has been relocated.

Within the period, the battle to remove Oshiomhole from office thickened as the governor was said to have joined the camp of those seeking his ouster by reportedly enlisting the support of some governors in his bid.

The battle which shifted to the court was so intense that at a point Comrade Oshiomhole was sent packing until he was later returned by the appellate court.

Since then, both parties have been working to outdo each other. Hence, it was not surprising when few days ago, Comrade Oshiomhole wrote the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to say that the party has adopted the indirect method for its June 22 primary election in Edo state. Gov. Obaseki on his part has consistently kicked against the position of the Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee NWC, disclosing of his preference for Indirect Primary. He has consequently issued a gazette banning all form of gatherings in the state with persons more than 20. Many analysts have interpreted this to mean an attempt to stop the direct primary.



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