The faction of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Edo State loyal to the immediate past governor of the state and national chairman of the ruling party, Adams Oshiomhole has warned the political camp of the governor, Godwin Obaseki not to drag the Benin monarch, Oba Ewuare 11 into the political crisis rocking the party. The factional publicity secretary of the party, Chris Azebamwan, issued the warning while reacting to a statement by the newly appointed publicity secretary of the governor’s political camp, Joseph Osagiede who on Monday accused Oshiomhole of working against the wish of the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II by allegedly habouring members of the defunct Edo People’s Movement (EPM) in Abuja.
Speaking while taking inventory of his office as he formally took over, Osagiede said “the national chairman will also learn some lessons from what is going on because for the Oba of Benin, His Majesty, Oba Ewuare II to have led the Benin Traditional Council to meet with the president on this matter, once the Oba has expressed a wish about anything, it becomes a command to us that are Edo people. So, the Oba’s wish is a command that there should be peace about this political imbroglio. And for Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to still be habouring these dissidents who left the party and they are forming EPM, and he is supporting them, he is working against the wish of the Oba. And we are all aware that recently, the Oba also had a meeting with the Edo Traditional Council and announced that we should go into prayers and fasting to avert calamity this year; all because of the political crisis that is going on”.
Upbraiding the former governor, Osagiede posited that “any wise leader, any wise political chairman that knows that he is directly responsible for all this political crisis should take a cue from such statement of the Oba and come home; go and meet the governor, take him and meet the Oba, and say baba, we have reconciled and we do not want crisis in Edo State. And that is how to know a son that is well brought up”.
Restating the position of their principal on the Ahmed Lawan reconciliation committee set up by the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party, which he rejected, the factional publicity secretary said the party lacked confidence in it because of alleged vested interest. He, however, insisted that it would rather prefer the presidency or the Benin Traditional Council (BTC) to wade-in to end the crisis. According to Osagiede, “we are willing and ready for reconciliation; but you see, you cannot constitute a reconciliation body when you are an interested party in that issue. We expect that a neutral body, for instance, the presidency or Benin Traditional Council, can set up a committee for reconciliation. It is not for us to say we want to reconcile when we are the aggrieved party, and that is why we rejected the committee set up by Adams Oshiomhole because most of the members have vested interest in the issues”.
Reinforcing his position, Osagiede noted that “it was the deputy speaker of the House that presided over that decision that they should come and take over Edo house of assembly. Now, he is a member of that committee to reconcile aggrieved members and the National chairman; how can we have confidence in him? If you want to reconcile warring factions, you must come with clean hands. The chairman does not have any constitutional power to submit names. You go through a process and that process is what we call the congresses. And if through the primaries any candidate emerges, it is that candidate’s name that will be submitted by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party”.
Giving the impression that the EPM was already war-weary, Osagiede stated that “the APC crisis is already ending because we know that EPM is already folding up. We know that members of EPM are already reaching out to us to say that they want to come back home”.
But berating Osagiede, Azebamwan said it was unfortunate that drowning men were trying to drag the revered name of the Oba of Benin into politics, stressing “Osagiede is the first person to drag the name of the Oba into politics”. Chronicling the peace initiatives that had been taken in the past but rebuffed by the governor and his loyalists, Azebamwan explained that following the crisis in the state chapter of APC, the Oba went to see President Muhammadu Buhari to ask him to intervene and restore peace, noting that “in deference to the Oba, the President directed the party machinery to intervene and the party set up the Governor Abdullahi Ganduje Reconciliation Committee, but Obaseki rejected the Committee. Again, another reconciliation committee headed by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan was set up to mediate, but it was rejected. What do they want to do? Do they want to set up their own committee to reconcile themselves? The factional publicity scribe stated that “Osagiede, in an attempt to play the script of his paymaster, should be warned not drag the revered name of the Oba of Benin into politics”.