As the crisis rocking Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) continues unabated after weeks of little or no confrontation between those loyal and opposed to Governor Godwin Obaseki’s second term ambition, current developments indicate a possible explosive encounter in the days ahead.
It is now obvious that the political squabbles have divided the party’s supporters and leaders with no apparent end in sight. This is because some frontline members of Edo Peoples Movement (EMP) recently declared war on Governor Obaseki and his cabinet, including the state APC Chairman, Anslem Ojezua, insisting that they must go. This followed threat of explosion from the party handed down Thursday by Ojezua who said the party was ready to “take decisive and concrete actions against EPM and its members.”
In the unending political squabbles rocking the first tenure of Edo State governor, Obaseki, he has restated that his works would pave way for him for his re-election, insisting that his second term in office is not negotiable.While Governor Obaseki declared that he deserves a second term in office because he has fulfilled most of his promises to Edo people and also needs to consolidate on his developmental strides in the state, members of EPM who have been at loggerheads with Governor Obaseki, insist that “he has lost touch with the state’s politics.”
Obaseki, having passed a vote of confidence on himself despite the infighting between members of the APC, said, “no individual can determine who will become governor. Only God and the people can make the decision. I have said it clearly and I told my cabinet members that second term for me is non-negotiable. I am demanding it because I deserve it and I think I have earned it. We need to have it so we can continue what we are doing today.”
“I want to assure you that this is a fight in which we will prevail. We will fight and succeed. If anybody thinks I will back out, he must be daydreaming because it is not my fight; it is a fight for the right purpose. I am not going to back off because I know victory is sure.”
Backing Governor Obaseki’s determination to resist any opposing group or individuals on a mission to Obaseki’s re-election bid, state Chairman of APC, Ojezua, in a statement, noted that the existence of the “alien group is not supported by the party’s constitution,” adding that they would not allow the “reckless antics of shameless and selfish individuals to dictate the fortunes of the party. ”
According to Ojezua, the decision was aimed at preserving and protecting the party’s integrity, “since the group has refused to desist from associating their nefarious activities with the state’s APC.”The statement reads: “On the 28th May, 2019, pursuant to a meeting of the State Working Committee of All Progressive Congress, Edo State Chapter, we caused a disclaimer to be published regarding the formation of a group going by the name Edo Peoples Movement, being organised by certain individuals, purporting same to be an offshoot of the APC.
“In the publication, we took the pains to clarify that the constitution of our party, the APC, does not have provision for groups such as the one in question and to that extent, such a group or movement was antithetical to the unity and stability our party. “We therefore directed that those behind the said movement should desist from associating their nefarious activities with the APC.
“Information reaching us indicates that rather than heed the legitimate directives of the party leadership, these elements have heightened their activities by holding meetings in some local government areas (LGAs) within the state, purporting same to be meeting of the APC. Ojezua said the party has decided that it was time to take concrete and decisive steps to preserve and protect the integrity of the party, adding, “they cannot allow the reckless antics of shameless and selfish individuals to dictate the fortunes of our party. We have a duty to instill party discipline within our ranks in Edo State and we shall do that.”
Edo Peoples Movement (EPM) is a pressure group within the party in the state, co-convened by a former Commissioner of Justice in the State, Mr. Henry Idahagbon, and a former Minority Whip of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Samson Osagie.
But, reacting to Ojezua’s threat of expulsion, Osagie said Ojezua is irrelevant to APC, adding that if anybody deserves to be suspended or expelled from the party, it is Ojezua. Osagie, in a telephone chat with our correspondent, described Ojezua as a serial failure who has neither won any election for the party nor add any value to it.
“Anslem Ojezua has no moral right to contemplate the things he wrote in the paper, because if anybody deserves to be suspended and expelled from the party, it is Anslem Ojezua. “Since he became a member of this party till now, Anslem has been a serial failure for the party. He has never added any value by way of ability to win his area in terms of election. He has never been able to win election for this party. Do you compare him to those of us who are exercising our constitutional right of association within the party?
“To be honest, Anslem is grossly incompetent to lead this party and ensure cohesion and unity. How do you explain a party chairman who went on a national television to say that since the crisis started in APC in Edo, he has not had the opportunity to sit down with the national chairman of the party to discuss the issues?
“How do you explain the chairman who takes side in conflict among his party members? He has never been able to bring together people in the party who have disagreements.“When I had issues with my local government, I reported to him and the other side reported to him also, but he took sides with the other side and authorised my suspension, until Comrade Adams Oshiomhole set up a committee to look into it and they found out that there was no basis for the suspension.”
The former federal lawmaker described Ojezua as a “danger to the continued survival and the winning spirit of APC.” Also responding to Ojezua’s threat, another member of the EPM, Chief Chalton Magaji described Ojezua’s threats as a huge joke that amounts to nothing. Magaji, who put Obaseki and his cabinet on notice to start packing their belongings from Government House, noted that EPM has the majority of members of APC in it’s fold.
“As far as we in EPM are concerned, Ojezua cannot do anything,” he said. “What can he do? Suspend us? Expel us? Members of EPM in APC are more than 70 per cent. Suspend or expel more than 70 per cent members of a party? That is a huge joke.“Ojezua is staring at disaster. Being careless and tactless will not solve Edo APC’s crisis. In the same vain, threats and innuendos will only fuel the crises.
“The fact is that majority of us in APC in Edo State have decided that we can no longer watch our party drift. We have no other party than APC. We cannot allow the party to die because of people like Obaseki, Phillip, Ogie and Ojezua must go. This is a task that must be done.”