Says, I served him 8 years for free
He has betrayed our cause
Denies obtaining PDP Nomination Form
Explains reasons for visiting Tinubu
By Omeiza Ajayi
Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has asked the National Chairman of his ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to steer clear of all the processes leading up to the June 22 governorship primary election of the APC in the state “because he is an interested party”.
This came as he denied secretly obtaining the nomination and expression of interest forms of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP following his face-off with Comrade Oshiomhole.
Speaking on Wednesday when he returned his forms to the APC National Organising Secretary, Emma Ibediro, the governor also dismissed claims that he betrayed his benefactor, saying apart from making sacrifices for his sake, the party’s national chairman was the one who betrayed the cause.
The governor asked the National Chairman to recuse himself from the activities leading up to the primary election in Edo state, saying he is an interested party and cannot sit in judgment over his own case.
“However, I am using this opportunity to call on Comrade Oshiomhole to recuse himself from the Edo nomination process because he is an interested party. It is against natural justice for a man to be a judge in his own case. So I think the honourable thing to do is to recuse himself and let us have a free process and let us reconcile and build our party”.
4 years not enough for me
Obaseki also spoke on why he is desirous of ruling the state for a second term, saying four years is not enough for him to crystallize his reforms.
He said; “Three years is not enough, four years is not enough to crystalize all these reforms. So, another four years will give me that opportunity to consolidate on what we have done and that is the promise of APC. We are a reformist party, we are a progressive party. That is why I am here today to indicate my interest and my desire to run for another term as governor of Edo so that I can continue in the service of my people”.
I will win whether direct or indirect primary
On the mode of primary, the governor said he would pick the party’s ticket irrespective of the method adopted in electing its candidate, but added that the party’s constitution must be obeyed with respect to the voting method.
“The basis of any democracy are rules; that is why the most important document in our party is our constitution. Our constitution is very detailed and it spells out clearly how we should undertake our affairs as a party.
“The Constitution stipulates what mode of primaries are allowed in our party and how decisions to the type of primaries you want to run should be arrived that. It is clearly stated in our constitution and so for me, I believe that ours is a lawful party and we will do things according to the Constitution of our party. So, direct or indirect, I am certain I will win the primaries but we have to respect our constitution and follow our constitution”, he stated.
Obaseki also described as absurd, speculations that he might have obtained the nomination and expression of interest forms of the PDP as an alternative should he fail to clinch the ticket of the APC.
He said; “It is very absurd. I am someone that is very exposed. How can I collect from two parties when we have had rulings in the past disqualifying people on that basis. I am a party man to the core. APC is my party because I come from a progressive political family. I believe in the ideals of APC, I believe in our President, I believe in what he stands for, so I am a party man to the core. I am not an old-style politician. I represent a new direction of politics that is based on facts and truth, not lies”.
The governor explained how he sacrificed eight years of his life serving the administration of Comrade Oshiomhole when he was governor of the State.
He faulted claims by the Oshiomhole camp that he betrayed them, saying on the, it is the party’s National Chairman who has betrayed the cause he instituted.
Why noting that his group made a lot of sacrifices to ensure Oshiomhole’s emergence as National Chairman of the APC, Obaseki also said he had visited a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to see how the party can be saved from its self-destruct mechanism.
Obaseki said; “In life, everybody gets helped, everybody gets assisted. The person you talked about, he had no money when he left labour to contest. We knew what we did to make him Governor. I sacrificed eight years of my life pro bono, I collected to no Kobo to serve him in Edo.
“Today, we know what we have built because of where we started from. So, when you talk of betrayal, the biggest betrayal can be when people betray a cause when they betray an idea. That is the greatest betrayal of all. It is like betraying God. When you said to God, this is what I stand for and then God gives you power then you turn around and do the exact opposite, there is no greater betrayal than that.
“So, when you talk about betrayal, let us be very clear. I want to put it on record that I am grateful, he assisted me just as I assisted him. I know the sacrifices we made to make him National Chairman. So what are we talking about?
Why I visited Asiwaju
“The reason why I went to see our National Leader is that I do not want the party torn apart. I am a man of peace.
For me and my colleague governors, we cannot see a party we built, destroyed. We cannot see a ruling party be so weakened and whatever it will take to secure peace, to secure harmony in the party, we are prepared to, I am prepared to make.
“That is why I joined my colleagues to go and see the leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to assure him that we are all working for the same cause, we are all working to build our party. From 26 States, we are now 20. We don’t want to lose any more state, there is really no reason to. We should all drop our ego and work for our party and the unity of our country.
“On a final note, I am actively pursuing peace, actively pursuing harmony in our party, particularly at home and I believe that we will secure peace.
“Our response in Edo has been very robust, our goal from day one is that whatever decision we want to take has to be informed by data and research and that is what we have done. And in order to arrive at the set of decisions we make, what we decided was that we were going to screen 500, 000 citizens of Edo state, about 10 per cent of our population and test up to a minimum of 5, 000 to understand the prevalence of this virus in the state.
“As of this morning, we have already screened 312, 000 and we have tested 2018 samples and we have almost 300 cases. From the Epidemiological surveys, they tell us that the pandemic will spike in the third week of June in Edo. We have seen cases rising rapidly. We want to know who is infected and how to stop the spread. For me, the safety of Edo people is my primary concern because if the people are not alive you won’t be there to lead them”, he stated.
Also speaking, another aspirant, Engr Chris Ogiemwonyi, said if he becomes governor, he would tackle insecurity, unemployment, poor healthcare and poverty, saying “Edo state needs a governor who has empathy, love and care for the people.”
On his part, Matthew Iduoriyekemwe also an aspirant, said he is in the race because the incumbent governor has been denied the right of first refusal but that he would prefer the indirect mode of primary to elect the party’s candidate.