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Obaseki in Conciliatory Mode, Orders Aides to Ignore Oshiomhole’s Comments on Rift

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, appears war-weary. Rather than his usually confrontational response to uncomplimentary comments from his political traducers within his party, the All Progressive Congress, APC, the governor on Monday disappointed not a few when he ordered his aides not to join issues with his predecessor and the national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, over what he described as “hostile comments” credited to the former governor in the media last weekend.

Oshiomhole had in an interview with Channels Television monitored by other news media, chided the governor for abandoning some of his projects particularly the new Central Hospital commissioned by the president, Mohammadu Buhari few days before he left office in November 2016. He said even if it was the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP that took over from him, it would have made the hospital functional.

Oshiomhole said he would not recognise Frank Okiye as speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly as he would not close his eyes to illegal decisions and actions capable of derailing the nation’s democracy. He said though he had no personal quarrel with the governor, he would not, however, support illegality in a bid to please him. 

 The former governor said what Obaseki would have done was to lobby the entire 24 members of the House who are all APC members so as to produce the Speaker.  Oshiomhole described as a rape on the nation’s democracy the inauguration of the Parliament at 9.30 pm with nine members. He said Okiye lacked the grounds to suggest that there were plans by him to impeach the governor as he was not the Speaker. 

In the words of the APC national chairman, “If there is one man that wants Governor Obaseki to succeed so that everything I said on his behalf comes to pass, I think it will be me. I have absolutely nothing to gain if someone I told the people will do well ends up not doing well, or I make statements that contradict my earlier position because all I have that I brought to this job called politics is integrity.  And integrity is all about being consistent and sometimes predictable”. 

But in a statement jointly signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Paul Ohonbamu,  and the Special Adviser to the governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, the governor said he had chosen to pursue the path of peace and reconciliation “in dealing with these issues in the interest of the good people of Edo State and our great party,  the All Progressives Congress, APC .”

In a terse statement, the governor’s spokespersons said “the Edo State Government observed over the weekend, leading to this week, very hostile statements credited to our revered National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, across the various media platforms, including radio, television, newspapers and the social media.

“This onslaught against the governor and government of Edo State, widely publicised, has also been trailed by enquiries about the state government’s response to these attacks, from various stakeholders, both within and outside the country. Consequently, the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, has instructed that no state actor, within Edo State Government, should make any comment whatsoever or join issues on the ensuing hostile comments and discussions”.

Reacting to the government’s statement, the Edo People’s Movement, EPM described it as laughable. Co-convener of the anti-Obaseki movement within the Edo APC,  Henry Idahagbon, posited that the governor and the secretary to his government, Osarodion Ogie, had responded already at the latter’s residence last weekend when his principal paid him a solidarity visit following his sack as leader in his Ikpoba-Okha local government area. 

According to the former attorney-general and commissioner for justice in the state, the governor had said “we will shock them in the next election”  while Osarodion Ogie said, “our political future is in the hands of God and not any man”. EPM  insisted “these were their response few hours after our national chairman’s interview on how Obaseki betrayed the Edo political class hit the airwaves. So, for them to issue such a statement is to further tell the world how empty the administration is in terms of tactics”.  

As far as the EPM was concerned, the governor had no defence over what Oshiomole said because “the facts are very clear”. The body also described as deceit on the part of the governor his peace posturing. “What peace is he pursuing when he is yet to issue fresh proclamation for the inauguration of the state House of Assembly? What peace is he pursuing when he is still sacking all government officials, LGA council chairmen perceived to be loyal to Oshiomole?”, the EPM queried. 

 Idahagbon concluded that  Obaseki could only fool the people once; “he cannot fool us again. We are wiser now”. He, therefore, urged the governor to go and “do the right thing rather than think they could deceive the people that he is a peacemaker when in actual fact he is at the root of the crisis”.

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