It’s a contempt of Court -Ojezua
.Thugs have taken over our old secretariat -Imuse
.There is nothing strange about the situation in Edo – Issa-Onilu
.Says, party in conflict, not in crisis
.Takes steps to “officially” authenticate aspirants’ credentials
By Omeiza Ajayi
The crisis of confidence between the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki assumed a fresh twist on Monday following the reported relocation of the state party secretariat.
The secretariat, originally located on Number 49, Airport Road, Oka, Benin was purportedly relocated to No. 18 Ighiwiyisi Street, off Airport Road, Benin City by Comrade Oshiomhole.
In a letter addressed to the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Comrade Oshiomhole asked the commission to take note that all correspondences will now be directed to the new address.
He said; “I wish to respectfully inform you that the All Progressives Congress has changed its address in Edo State to a new secretariat building at No. 18 Ighiwiyisi Street, off Airport Road, Benin City.
“To this end, we have duly notified the following; The Commissioner of Police, Edo State command, Benin-City; The Director, Directorate of State Security (DSS), Edo State Command, Benin City; The Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Benin-City.
“Consequently, all correspondences, contacts, and official dealings in Edo State will now be directed to the aforementioned location and we accordingly invite you to take note”.
The copy of the letter which was dated 29th May 2020 had not been officially ” received” by INEC but party sources said another copy had already been despatched to the electoral umpire.
Oshiomhole’s faction confirms devt
Chief Press Secretary CPS to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, and the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu did not immediately respond to Vanguard inquiries, but a factional Chairman of the party in Edo State, Col. David Imuse (retd) confirmed the development.
According to Imuse, some political thugs had taken over the old party Secretariat hence the need to open a new one.
He said; “We have a party, we have a structure, we have a Constitution and we follow our constitution. So, Ojezua has been removed as the Chairman of the party and the secretariat has been relocated. It is where you have the chairman that you have the secretariat. It (letter) is true. Since the other secretariat has been taken over by thugs, let them do whatever they like there. The secretariat has been relocated. You saw the address. It is not a secret. There is a procedure for changing the secretariat and we have changed the secretariat. The APC has moved to a new secretariat”.
Obaseki’s faction kicks
The factional Chairman of the party loyal to Gov. Obaseki, Mr. Anselm Ojezua on his part described the action of the national chairman as a contempt of court, vowing to legal redress.
In a text message to our correspondent, he said; “That letter is clearly in contempt of the Edo State High Court and I am going to take steps to arraign the (*** expletives) before the Court.
“Adams Oshiomhole does not have the constitutional powers to change or determine party locations, it is strictly the responsibility of party Executive and NEC as clearly spelled out below in Article 8 of the APC Constitution. It states that;“ ‘The Registered office of the Party shall be located in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria while other offices in the State Capitals, Local Government Areas Headquarters, Wards, and other places shall be determined by the appropriate Executive Committee and approved by the National Executive Committee NEC’.
“The NEC is the only organ of the party that can approve and not the NWC led by Oshiomhole”.
Happenings in Edo normal
Earlier before he went in for a closed-door meeting of the National Working Committee NWC of the party, Mallam Issa-Onilu said the situation in the state was normal.
According to him, conflicts are an integral part of political contestation, saying while the APC has its fair share of conflicts, it is not in crisis.
He said; “I do not know about any crisis. Go from state to state, when you have politics you have conflicts and conflict to those of us who are practising politics is not a crisis, it is the contestation of interests. And if you go to any other state, you have things that are similar. The only difference this time is that you have the national chairman who happens to be from Edo. Otherwise, there is nothing strange about what is going on in Edo. What is important is that at the end of the day, whether the national chairman, whether governor, everybody is subjected to the same rule”.
He also spoke on the decision of the party to screen the particulars of its six governorship aspirants in Edo, saying the party would take steps to authenticate the claims made by the aspirants in their credentials.
Taking official steps to verify credentials
He said; “You know that it has been said that experience is the best teacher. We have had experiences that are not so palatable. We have had experiences that are so shocking and we won’t be doing the right thing if we don’t learn from those experiences.
“You would recall what happened in Bayelsa. We thought we did the best we should, but it turned out that we did not do enough. So, the best thing we have to do now is to go beyond ourselves to the things that may not be known to us.
“Besides the fact that we have put it out here for anybody who has information to help the screening committee, we are also taking official steps to verify some of these documents to be sure that we do the right thing and we come out clean”.
Asked if the party would contact the institutions attended by the aspirants, the party spokesman said; “By merely putting it on the board here, making it transparent, putting it before the public, it does mean that people who know them very well – school mates, aquaintances, friends and even enemies could come up with whatever they have. We are expecting help from whatever angle it could come from.
“All we are interested in is that we ensure transparency; it is to ensure that we comply with our own constitution, the Electoral Act and the Constitution of this country, give everybody a fair chance and to be seen to have done our best”.
On calls by some interests for an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee NEC of the party, he said; “Why should there be an emergency meeting? What is the emergency on? On Covid-19? We are to run the party. That is what our constitution says. We, NWC, are involved in the day-to-day running of the party and this is part of the routine that we carry out. This is not the first time and whoever said that also is expressing his personal views, which is also allowed in a democracy”.