Ahead Edo 2020 APC Guber Primaries: Betrayers at War in Edo! By Ken Edokpayi

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……Why Obaseki failed to proclaim 24/24 APC Assembly

FREEPRESS – As the unfolding events of the Edo 2020 APC gubernatorial primaries continue to generate tension, agitations and outright malevolent outbursts from and among estranged loyalists of the incumbent governor of the state, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and those of his former political godfather, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, a Benin-based political analyst and public affairs commentator, Elder Peter Asemota, has insisted that what “is going on in Edo among the leadership and membership of the APC is a war of attrition between two established political betrayers, Oshiomhole and Obaseki.  They are both Judases, who should be put in their proper places, by virtue of their political antecedents, actions and inactions.”

Though the governor reiterated, last week, for the umpteenth time, that the trumpeted media reports of his alleged fallout with his political benefactor and APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, were untrue, labeling the reports ‘fake news,’ developments on ground, and agitated altercations among his media handlers and loyal party members, continue to prove the governor wrong and ‘insincere’ on his assessment.

Last week, in an exclusive chat withThe Navigator, Elder Asemota offered an assessment of the development and concluded that “Oshiomhole was being voraciously served the dosage of betrayal, by Gov. Obaseki, in reciprocation of what he (Oshiomhole’s) had served his political godfathers who equipped him in all ramifications and propped him up politically in 2007 to become the Edo state governor against all concrete and anticipatory odds.”

While lashing at Governor Obaseki for his “shocking acts of betrayal against Oshiomhole who imposed, financed, campaigned for and delivered the political neophyte, Obaseki, after a grueling and intense election petition tribunal wahalathat went as far as the Supreme Court,” Elder Asemota noted that “Obaseki and Oshiomhole are birds of a feather who are now trying to outsmart themselves in the odious game of betrayal, and who do not deserve the support of upright men of honour and integrity.  In 2007, known godfathers imposed Oshiomhole on the then Action Congress, financed his campaigns, delivered him at the election, and also fought the election petitions tribunal wahala up to the Supreme Court. Up till today, those known godfathers who propped up Oshiomhole are still being haunted by Oshiomhole’s deep-cut betrayal.”

“So, between the two of them, Oshiomhole and Obaseki, I do not have a hero; I do not have a mentor; and I do not have an upright personality of integrity.  Among all those who came across Jesus Christ in his 33-year-sojourn on earth, he forgave all who sinned against him, including those who assisted in nailing him to the cross on Calvary. But it is on record that he did not forgive one person.  And that was Judas; one of his twelve disciples who betrayed him.  Jesus even cursed Judas; that it would have been better if he were not born. These two, Oshiomhole and Obaseki are Judases.”

The political analyst maintained that the two APC gladiators are “typical political blackmailers. While he was governor, Oshiomhole continuously blackmailed his political godfathers who brought him to political limelight and gifted him the governorship position in the state.  Oshiomhole kept on shouting for anyone who wished to listen that the political godfathers wanted him to open the public vault for them to feast on the peoples’ resources.  Today, Obaseki has equally perfected the use of the same blackmail, as he keeps shouting that he cannot give the people’s money to the greedy few, who according to him, want to steal the people blind. Just like Oshiomhole could not give a list of those who wanted him to open public treasury for them at that time, today, Obaseki has not been able to give a list of the so-called greedy few who he alleges want him to give them public money! I do not fancy them one bit.  If they could betray their political godfathers, they could easily, as well, betray the people, the electorate who voted them into office.”

Meanwhile, political attack dogs and grieving foot-soldiers from both the Oshiomhole’s and Obaseki’s camps continue to bare their fangs in the furious battle to gain supremacy in the state, even as the Obaseki’s camp continues to celebrate Oshiomhole’s travails at the national level, where the party’s National Vice Chairman, North, Senator Shauibu, had petitioned Oshiomhole to resign his position as chairman on the heels of the recent court judgment on elections in Zamfara state.

While throwing his weight behind Governor Obaseki in the ongoing squabble, a former governorship aspirant of the PDC in the state, Adaze Emwanta, Esq. challenged the second-term-seeking governor to be ready to fight without laughter or be ready to fall.  The former aspirant in his comments monitored on Face book, last week, expressed surprise that “a man like the immediate past Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who once spoke against godfatherism in Edo politics, now complains, albeit by proxy, of being sidelined in the revenue disbursement formula of the State.  His newfound attack-dogs, consisting of Henry Idahagbon, Samson Osagie and others, have already started beating the drums of a political war. Their vertically-challenged war-lord, who is yet to throw his hat into the ring, now prefers to speak via his surrogate CPS, John Mayaki, a Media-activist-turned-politician, that lost his interim status with the Governor-in-power.”

He advised Governor Obaseki to ensure that Oshiomhole was cut off from the power of incumbency, explaining that “Adams Oshiomhole has always depended on a government in power or the power of incumbency to win an election, either via the ballot or the Court(s). Take away the incumbency power and the political strength of Adams will be as tall as his height or crumble like a pack of cards!

“Second, the political strength of Adams Oshiomhole is currently restricted to Etsako Federal Constituency, particularly once the incumbency support from the State is withdrawn. Then it will even be a 50/50 situation between him and his boy-in-government Philip Shaibu.

“Third, Adams Oshiomhole has gradually become a political liability to the APC, as a whole or nationwide, especially in the light of the dubious primaries he conducted in some States, which made the party to lose all its elective positions to the PDP in Zamfara recently, (via a confirmatory verdict of the Apex Court).

“Fourth, the silence of Adams Oshiomhole in the current media war in Edo APC is not one that is actuated by political sagacity, but it is simply a conspiracy of silence that is induced by fear of the unknown and the seeming defeat that awaits him, as a self-styled godfather.  Beyond the present sinister laughter of friendly fire, lies a self-evident truth.”

Last week, Gov. Obaseki’s political strength was put to the test against that of ex-Governor Oshiomhole in the business of inaugurating the 7th Assembly of the Edo State House of Assembly. Edo people waited anxiously on Monday 10th June, 2019 to witness the inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly via a proclamation by the State Governor. But the inauguration could not hold because both the governor’s camp and the Oshiomhole’s camp could not allegedly zero in on who to be the Honourable Speaker.

While the Oshiomhole camp reportedly rallied not less than sixteen of the twenty-four members behind his chosen Speaker designate, Hon. Victor Edoror, Gov. Obaseki who had boasted that he engineered and delivered a 24/24 APC House, during the last election, became scared of proclaiming the House inaugurated, with his candidate for the Speakership position, Hon. Frank Okiye, left with not more than eight legislators.  And so, the inauguration has remained stalemated.

In an exclusive interview with The Navigator, last week, pioneering State Publicity Secretary, Comrade Godwin Erhahon, who was State chairman of the legacy CPC that merged with the ACN and ANPP to form the present day All Progressives Congress, APC, expressed his displeasure at the conduct and attitude of Governor Obaseki, who he described as a man so full of himself that he does not think it was necessary and strategically expedient to relate with other party leaders in the state.

Erhahon, who is irked that the legacy CPC former members have since the merger not been considered for government appointments and considerations in the state, expressed disbelief that Mr. Obaseki could, shortly after his settling down as governor of the state, declare that he was no longer a politician but a technocrat, adding that it had since been the governor’s stock in trade to treat political leaders who worked and toiled day and night to ensure that he emerged victorious at the poll, with scorn.

In his words: “Yet, this is a governor who could not win his polling unit, ward, local government area and senatorial district during the February 23, 2019 presidential election.  We hear that the governor says he is not a weakling that he could muster the strength to fight and make things happen politically in the state.  My question then is: why did he not use his supposed strength to proclaim and inaugurate the Edo State House of Assembly as expected of him on the 10th of June 2019?

While remarking that the so-called 24/24 equation in the membership of the House of Assembly was never the singular achievement of the “boastful” Governor Obaseki, but a culmination of, especially, the bandwagon effect of the victory of President Buhari in the presidential election and the efforts of the totality of the party candidates themselves, leaders and members from across the state, Comrade Erhahon surmised that Obaseki’s problem with the proclamation of the State House of Assembly, as a result of the embarrassing membership support equation he envisaged, was a reflection of the impending governorship party primaries.

He condemned the governor’s strategy of blackmailing party leaders in the state of asking him to bring out government money for them to share, in his desperation to corner support for himself, adding that the so demonized party leaders, knowing that this was not the true situation, were not happy with the governor’s malicious tactics.  He accused the governor of trying to proclaim himself as the only saint in the pack when a hefty dossier already allegedly exists of his infractions and administrative indiscretions.

While cautioning the camp members and loyalists to be wary of “The hidden head of a political serpent which remains the more you look, the less you see,” Comrade Stanley Osazee Osakhuenorkhodin, in a write-up, last week, encouraged the estranged political godfather and godson to tread softly and always remain desirous of finding a common ground for compromise and agreement.

He remarked that “Politics is more than a dirty game; its only guiding principle is to always remain vigilant at all time. Taking eyes off political activities, orchestrated by politicians, can create a very strong impact on the strategic destiny of a selected group of people with the same political ideology and agreements.

“In the game of politics, it is not always over until it is over. The overwhelming support one enjoys from politicians can change within a twinkle of an eye without prior notification because, what is permanent in politics is interest and not enemies. A classical example of interest in politics is the recent political dramatic turnaround that we saw during the disagreement between the Edo State Government and Osamede Adun (BOB IZUA), over a property that Edo State Government claim had encroach into public right of way in the king square area of Edo State.

“We overheard threats of demolition and many more from Edo State Government; but after the reunion between the Governor of Edo State and BOB IZUA, did you still hear of the demolition threat again? Have you taken time to ask if the property in dispute has been shifted from the said encroached location to a more organized location? Or is the property no more in public right of way as claimed by the government? The threat of demolition of the said property died a natural death because of the political reunion between the government and Bob Izua!

“With the example depicted above, you will agree to the fact that what is permanent in politics is interest. If the governor has a right to secure his own strategic interest in the game, believe it that every party faithful equally has the same undeniable right to fight to defend his/her own interest too, most especially when it is perceived that the interest is being trampled upon. The crises in the Edo State Chapter of the All Progressive Congress demand a diplomatic approach to resolve and the governor is in the best position to resolve it.

Those who are benefiting from the crises will always want it to remain for a long time; but strategically, they had already created a plan B for themselves in case of a turnaround in the political pendulum of the State. The governor should be aware of the fact that every adviser must put his/her interest into consideration before they can put something on the table for the governor to implement. These same politicians, after taking some actions in support of the governor, would not close their channels of communication with the opposing group; they always give a back up explanation to the other divide as to why they embark on such venture in support of the governor.

“The governor, on his part, should not be carried away by the show or display of loyalty by those around him; this is because, those around him are actually his political enemies and those fighting him publicly could be the real men who are bold enough to express their dissatisfaction to him without sentiments. One of the veritable tools adopted by some politicians to excel in the game is lying and you cannot remove that from politics; most politicians lie against others to gain favour. If the governor truly wants to know how bad those around him are, let him create a collision between political camps and watch the aftermath, as lies would be exposed.

While still upbeat that the lingering crises could yet be laid to rest very soon, Comrade Osakhuenorkhodin maintained that a situation where the ruling APC in the state was equally its strongest opposition would not augur well for the party’s election fortunes.  He warned those playing the ethnic card to desist from such tricky path because, according to him, “politicians remember ethnicity only when their interest is not being protected.”

While playing the ethnic card high, last week, a pro-Benin group, Benin Indigenous Movement derided those they called “disgruntled members of the ruling APC in the state,” who would not support the reelection bid of the governor and described such antagonistic move “as unfortunate, malicious and unnecessary as these persons are only students in the school of stomach infrastructure who do not mean well for the state and the Binis in particular.”

The group, in a statement by its President, Mr. Enaruna Osawe, while enjoining Benins both at home and in the Diaspora to support the reelection of Governor Obaseki, pointed out that it was “rather unfortunate that some Benins who we consider as betrayals or saboteurs of good governance could team up with a certain godfather from another ethnic group in the state to attempt to truncate the popular will of the people due to their parochial greed and their disappointment that the governor is not sharing state resources to them, which is not only shameful but negates the principle of letting the people lead, and if we let this needless agitation by these purveyors of wickedness subsist, we would have succeeded in enthroning a new era of godfatherism and eventually mortgaging the unity of the Benins.”

The group urged Benins to support their own so that they can complete their 8 years before power can be rotated to another part of the state, and warned that any attempt to stop Governor Obaseki from reelection or throw up another Benin man to contest against Obaseki would only incur chaos within the APC and ultimately alter the unwritten zoning  arrangement currently in place in the state and might give the chance to Opposition Party to take over power which might not be in the best interest of the state.

It would be recalled that the Edo North senatorial district caucus of the All Progressives Congress, APC, penultimate week, in a communiqué signed by High Chief Aloye, (Alhaji) Usman Mogaji Charlton and Ahmed Musa Momoh,‎ had urged the state governor, Godwin Obaseki to call his media team to order for allegedly embarking on a deliberate campaign of calumny against Comrade Oshiomhole with a view to joining his political opponents across the nation in scandalizing his name.

According to the communiqué, “the meeting passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of the national chairman of the APC, Comrade Oshiomhole. We gathered to basically react to the publication in theNation Newspapers, which tends to portray in bad light the party primaries conducted by the Oshiomhole-led NWC.

“We have no doubt that the advert was orchestrated by those in Osadebey Avenue who rose to power and suddenly forgot how they got there. We condemn that publication and urge the state government to stop playing hide-and-seek game in its attempt to rubbish the legacies of Oshiomhole which we will surely resist.

“The leaders also reaffirmed that the National Chairman remains the undisputed leader of APC in Edo North and Edo State, respectively. They resolved to always stand by him and stand for him at all-times.

“The leaders warned those attempting to destroy the hard-earned, amiable character and reputation of the APC National Chairman to desist from such unwholesome practice.”

While calling for a truce that could engender an opportunity for the party to regain its consciousness and sanity, former Edo State Publicity Secretary, Comrade Godwin Erhahon, last week, in a press statement titled APC Internal Crises: How not to fight a family battle, cautioned some leaders of the party whom had attempted to blame the raging crisis in the National Executive Committee, NEC, on the former National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, to beware lest they complicate matters for the current National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole whom they were trying to defend.  He maintained that this should be so because the attempt to drag Chief Oyegun “out of his post-service quietude into strange controversy” could further provoke hatred and anger against the NEC and its leadership.

Read other paragraphs from the press statement: “Coming at a time that Comrade Oshiomole from Edo North and Governor Godwin Obaseki his estranged godson from Edo South are at dagger-drawn, pitching the Comrade against Chief Oyegun who is foremost leader from Edo South, is counterproductive and therefore unwise.

“Similarly, recent call by supporters of Governor Obaseki on Comrade Oshiomhole to resign as National Chairman has only succeeded in demarketing the Governor who has continued to assert that there is no quarrel between him and Comrade Oshiomhole.

“The co-incidence of this call for Comrade Oshiomhole’s resignation with that by the Deputy National Chairman of APC, Senator Lawan Shuaibu an otherwise easy-going gentleman from Karaunamoda, Zamfara State tends to lend credence to speculations that Governor Obaseki may have hired Senator Shuaibu against Comrade Oshiomhole.

“Supporters of both parties should therefore control their temper and utterances lest they harm the leader they are desperate to help.  Whether there are responsible and competent leaders in Edo APC will be ascertained by the end of this crisis

“Let us bear in mind that however the raging battle is fought, APC will outlive the tension and acrimony of the moment.”

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