Gifts, Oshiomhole’s Mom Tells Obaseki, As APC Scribe
alleges Obaseki threatened to kill Oshiomhole,
gift – Idahagbon
Aishetu Oshiomhole, the aged mother of the National Chairman of the All Progressives
Congress (APC), and immediate past governor of Edo State, Adams Aliyu
Oshiomhole, there was no keeping up appearances about the no love lost
relationship between her son and the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki. So
strained is the relationship between the duo as a result of disagreement over
the governor’s style of governance that political pundits believe the differences
have become irreconcilable. Not many were therefore surprised when the governor’s
spokesman and special adviser on media and communication strategy, Crusoe
Osagie announced Wednesday that gifts sent by the state government to the Iyamho
country home of the former governor in the spirit of the Yuletide season were
rejected by his mother.
Osagie said messengers from the state government had been dispatched to deliver the conventional Christmas presents reserved for former governors of Edo State to Oshiomhole but were turned back. “The messengers said they met the mother of the former governor, who rejected the items, stating that her son would not accept the gifts. The gift items meant for Comrade Oshiomhole include four cows and ten bags of rice”. According to Osagie, “the distribution of Christmas gifts is an annual ritual by the state government, which serves as an expression of love, further strengthening the ties between the government and the people”.
He stated that gifts are distributed to government functionaries, political appointees, heads of security agencies, traditional rulers, religious leaders, heads of institutions of higher learning, among other prominent people in society. While noting that “the State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and Comrade Oshiomhole have been locked in a political tussle over the governor’s policy choices focused on prioritising the peoples’ welfare as against pressures by a handful of politicians to share the state’s resources”, Osagie posited that “the governor had set the political rift aside to perform the ritual of sending the gifts to Comrade Oshiomhole”.
But as far as Henry Idahagbon, immediate past attorney-general and commissioner for justice in the state, and arrow-head of the defunct Edo People’s Movement is concerned, Obaseki was being hypocritical by sending gifts to Oshiomhole given the way he had tried to rubbish him and diminish his political stature. Only a day earlier, (Monday, December 23) Obaseki had in a veiled reference to his estranged political benefactor, accused him of “protecting” members of the EPM whom he had earlier held liable for the fire that engulfed Osa market (Ekiosa) on Sunday in Benin City, and others before it. Reiterating his allegation against EPM on Monday while addressing journalists after inspecting the razed market and the adjoining six-story building housing the Edo Property Development Authority, EDPA, which was also affected by the inferno, the governor said “I’m not surprised because there have been boasts for several weeks that Edo would be made ungovernable for me. So, I am almost certain that these incidents are not unconnected with the plan to destabilize the state. And as you can see from this building, if you thought the incidents in Ogida market and Ekiosa markets were accidents, you cannot tell me that the fire on the sixth floor of this building could have been an accident. These are clear incidents of arson and as a government, we would do all that is necessary and required to make sure we get to the bottom of it and I’m sure we would be able to apprehend the culprits and they will be dealt with no matter who is protecting them”.
It was in the light of this scenario that Idahagbon asserted that no reasonable man Oshiomhole’s shoes would accept such gifts. Asked if the rejection of the gifts would not close the window of possible reconciliation, Idahagbon said “It’s like Greek gift. You abuse the man openly, you denounce him, you are fighting them on the streets then you send him cows. If Oshiomhole had received the cows, then tomorrow, the governor would say that the money meant for the construction of roads in Iyamho, he used it to buy cows and sent to Oshiomhole. He always says he doesn’t want to spend the people’s resources on politicians; he wants to use it for infrastructure. So, Oshiomhole doesn’t need his cows, he doesn’t need his rice. It is the tradition to send them to all political leaders. After all, he didn’t send to any of Oshiomhole’s people; so, why would he send to Oshiomhole and expect Oshiomhole to accept?”
Obaseki’s gifts as “an act of hypocrisy” Idahagbon was glad that “it was very
well rejected by Oshiomhole or his mother who is politically very savvy and
smart” noting that “after all, many years ago she was a ward woman leader. So
she knows the implication. For us, he should keep his gifts, he should keep his
cows; he should eat it alone. By the grace of
And reacting to the incident in a similar manner, the state secretary of the APC, Lawrence Okah hailed the matriarch of the Oshiomhole family for rejecting the gift items “if the story being cooked from the Edo State Government House is true”. Defending the party’s position, Okah said “no responsible mother will want the enemies to kill her son. Obaseki has on several occasions threatened to kill Oshiomhole or remove him as National Chairman. The people he told are there alive and can testify to it. So why will he take a poisonous cow and rice to Oshiomhole’s house? Is that not deceit? Edo State APC commends our mother who also doubles as the mother of APC in Afemai land in rejecting that poisonous gift. Obaseki is like the proverbial rat that will bite you and at the same time fan the wound. Enough of his deceit and rubbish! He should eat his rice and cow with his newfound friends in the PDP until judgment day comes”.