Former Edo State governor and immediate past National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole returned Saturday night to a tumultuous reception by his Auchi kinsmen and supporters with a promise to join hands with them to reclaim the APC house back to the family. Oshiomhole profusely apologized to Edo people for bringing Godwin Obaseki as governor in 2016. “. Addressing the enthusiastic crowd who had followed him to his Iyamho residence after several hours of mounting somewhat of a guard of honour for him along the Benin-Auchi road by the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi gate when information filtered into the town that he was being expected, Oshiomhole said “We want to return to the government of the people by the people and for the people”.
The former governor said of Obaseki who reportedly plotted his removal as national chairman, “I have made a mistake by supporting a man who has no vision for my people. So I want to correct my mistakes by making sure a servant of God, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is elected as governor and kick the snake out of Government House. From now till September 19, I am here in Edo State because a political lion that I am, I am not scared of anything”. Oshiomhole said his mission, with that of the people, was to return Edo to the part of sustainable development, accusing his successor of putting the state on reverse gear since taking over as governor.
Seemingly taking back the negative things he had said about the APC candidate when he ran on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in 2016, Oshiomhole said “The man (Ize-Iyamu) that is coming is not a stranger. He campaigned for me in 2012 and I won all the 18 local government areas of Edo Edo State. He knows the rules unlike the current governor who just became governor and does not know the efforts people made to make him governor. We will kick out this MoU governor and replace him with a pastor who will sweep out the coronavirus party by the grace of God.”
Oshiomhole told the cheering crowd “I am back and ready for Edo, my home state… Now the snake that entered our family home, God has driven the snake out to where he belongs. I have come home to join you to start the process of reclaiming the house back to the family of APC. “And if the people say yes and God says yes, there is no man born of a woman that can say no. So, now I have only one mission and I know it is our common mission, to bring Edo back to the part of sustainable development. I am back and ready for Edo, my home state. We shall bring back the era of red roof; we want to bring back roads with drainage; we want to bring back those lofty days when we engage our youths and we mix-up with the elders.”
Further upbraiding his successor, Oshiomhole said “Because Obaseki lost APC ticket, he joined our opponents. His only mission is the government house; nothing more. I lost the chairmanship but here I am still remaining a core Progressive. That’s the training we have. We don’t go to church to look for miracles; we go to church to worship God. If miracles come, glory be to God. If not, we will keep worshipping God. We won’t decamp to join the devil…”
Addressing again a welcome rally Sunday afternoon at Iyamho, Oshiomhole said those who were bent on destroying the APC in Edo State had been “smoked out.” Oshiomhole noted that in their absence, the party had remained stronger and better and ready for the September 19 governorship election. He once again repeated his apology to the people of the state for bringing the governor even when many advised him against it, admitting that as human, he made a mistake.
He was confident that the campaign would be easy because there are visible projects the APC would use to campaign, unlike the incumbent who had been busy signing MOUs. He said the people should judge the present government with what they see and not what they hear. According to him, “there have been no tangible developments since we left government. All they have to show for almost four years are MOUs and ‘ear mark’ projects while we had ‘eye mark’ projects. This was how they brought the respected Vice President to Benin to do ground- breaking for an industrial park that we will never see. Same also goes for that of Gelegele Port.”
Berating Obaseki for using every obnoxious means, including destruction of properties and unwarranted arrest of members to destroy the party in the state, Oshiomhole recalled how he was demolishing the houses of party members while some were being jailed for trumped-up charges, regretting that these were the people who fought for him to become governor.
“I urge those who were being persecuted to take it easy, that they shouldn’t burn the house we all laboured to build because they want to smoke out the snake. But now, the snake has been smoked out of the house. Few weeks earlier, the snake said APC was his house and that he was not leaving, but less than 72 hours after saying this, he left. If we had burnt the house because the snake was giving us problem, we will all have been homeless by now,” the former governor stated.
Declaring ecstatically that “Oshiomhole is better now”, he said his immediate task now was to ensure victory of the party come September 19. “I have come home for only one project; I am not going back to Abuja until the project is completed. I came back home not to rest, but to work. We are political lion; we must commit ourselves to returning Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to Osadebe Avenue,” he said assuredly.