Saturday, June 22, 2019 3:52 am
Finally, peace and calm is gradually returning to the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), following the protracted crisis that shook the party to its foundation, over the delayed inauguration and the eventual emergence of the leadership of the 7th State Assembly.
Recall that the atmosphere became charged and tensed, particularly in Benin, the state capital, before and after the inauguration of nine of the 24 members-elect, by the Clerk of the House, Yahaya Omogbai, last Monday.
Yahaya Omogbai, was said to have ushered the nine members-elect into the chamber and read a letter of proclamation transmitted to his office by Governor Godwin Obaseki.
The members-elect present for the nocturnal sitting incleded Nosa Okunbor, Henry Okhuarobo, Uyi Ekhosuehi, Marcus Onobun, Ephraim Anebhosele, Roland Asoro, Eric Okaka, Frank Okiye and Yekini Idiaye.
Following the successful inauguration, Mr. Frank Okiye (Esan North-East I) was elected Speaker, and Yekini Idiaye (Akoko-Edo Constituency I), as Deputy Speaker.
It is pertinent to nite that all 24 members-elect of the House are members of the APC.
Protests and counter protests had followed the nocturnal inauguration of the 7th Assembly, allegedly behind closed doors.
Two of the nine lawmakers who subscribed to relevant oaths of office however later claimed that they were bribed, “kidnapped” and taken against their wish for the inauguration, claims punctured and described by some people as an afterthought.
The social media was also awashed with the alleged abduction and attack on some members-elect loyal to the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole.
Notable among them were Victor Edoroh, who was allegedly abducted and Seid Oshiomhole (younger brother of Adams Oshiomhole), who was alleged to have been given the beaten of his life, by unknown hoodlums, at the Golden Tulip hotel in Benin.
Many prominent leaders of the APC in Edo State are of the opinion that the national chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, is largely responsible for the turmoil in the state chapter of the party. The angry members of the party placed the squarely at the doorstep of Oshiomhole.
A former national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, described the development as “very, very unfortunate situation and it only originates from the breakdown of god-fatherism,” sent a strong message to those he described as “combatants” in the party.
He said: “We saw this happening, we knew it could happen, but, am surprised it could happen with this kind of degree of intensity. But, like I told you, god-fatherism does not work with a thinking people who are so diverse.
“Just to remind the combined combatants; that if they continue in the path they have set themselves, they stand the danger of making the APC the opposition party in the state, because, the division in the party is very deep and if they don’t reconcile quickly, then I can bet them now, that they will lose the state. So, let them not destroy the party and the state because nobody will benefit from it, if that happens, everybody will lose. That’s my only message to them.”
Another chieftain of the party, Charles Idahosa, did not only put the blame at the doorstep of Oshiomhole, but also called for his resignation as national chairman of the party.
Idahosa said the silence of the ex-governor in the face of the crisis orchestrated by those who claimed to be Oshiomhole group (Edo Peoples Movement) means consent.
The former Political Adviser to Oshiomhole, noted that his former biss was desecrating the temple of democracy by sponsoring anti-democratic practices.
He said: “I make bold to say that Adams Oshiomhole is responsible for the problem of the APC in Edo State today by his silence and people like us know that these boys on the streets are his boys. Adams Oshiomhole’s refusal to speak means he is supporting them because I do not see anything wrong for him to come out and say he did or did not send them.”
“In any superior democracy, any civilized society, you came in as a national chairman, you lost five states in your first outing. In a decent society, he should resign. He shouldn’t wait for anybody to tell him.”
Convener of Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), Barr. Henry Idahagbon, had while responding to Idahosa’s allegations, absolved Oshiomhole of any wrong doing.
“Oshiomhole is national chairman of APC and not Edo State. As a result, he cannot condescend to their level to play ethnic politics. Oshiomhole is too big for these people and it is sad that each time Idahosa wants to seek relevance, he sang Oshiomhole’s name so his benefactor will see he is working.
“The crisis in Edo is between Obaseki and the leaders of APC and not Oshiomhole. Many of us are well known for the efforts we made to bring on board this ungrateful Governor. If they like let them call Oshiomhole’s name to high heavens, it will not stop our geniune agitation. And we will continue until we kick the ingrate out of government house.
“Idahosa is free to continue his sychophancy, that is his stuck in trade. We will not be surprised to see him on the other side tomorrow,” Idahagbon said.
In any case, leaders of the APC in the state have continued to throw their weight behind the inauguration of the 7th Assembly and the emergence of its leadership.
In apparent endorsement of Obaseki’s moves, Oyegun, who himself is a former Governor of the State, did not only throw his weight behind the inauguration of the 7th Assembly and the emergence of its leadership, he also paid tribute to Governor Obaseki for overriding the interest of those he describes as “meddlesome godfathers.”
Oyegun wondered why “some former governors are bent on indirect rule which had been abolished when their own tenures in office are clearly over.”
Speaking for the leadership of the APC in the state, the chairman, Anselm Ojezua, who felicitated with the newly inaugurated 7th Assembly, added that “the party is confident that the House would uphold the ideals of the APC while discharging their legislative duties.”
Apparently referring to the members-elect who stayed away at the inauguration, Ojezua said “the action of some members-elect was a betrayal of trust reposed on them by Edo people.”
In the same vein, leaders of the APC in Uhunmwode local government area of the state, disowned spokesman of the disgruntled members-elect, Barr. Washington Osifo, who represents them at the Assembly.
In a statement, spokesman of the party members in Uhunmwode, Osagie Ogieva, said they are very happy with the emergence of Frank Okiye Speaker of the 7th Assembly.
They asked Washington Osifo to thread softly and refrain from his unbridled attacks against the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.
“Few days ago, he (Washington Osifo) led some other house of Assembly members-elect to address a press conference where they cast baseless aspersions against Governor Obaseki.
“We want all Nigerians, particularly the good people of Edo state to know that Barr. Osifo does not have the blessing of Uhunwode people in embarking on the self seeking political activities against the state government.
“We voted for Washington Osifo to go to the state house of Assembly to make laws for the good governance of the state but we are surprised that instead of attending the house of Assembly inauguration on Monday, he decided to engage himself in unprofitable ventures.
“We, hereby call on him to quickly retrace his unproductive steps or face the wrath of the people of Uhunwode who are unhappy with the way he is handling the mandate we freely gave to him,” the statement added.