As loyalists of incumbent governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki and the national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomhole, continue hot exchanges of verbal abuses following the worsening of their political differences, the latter’s political camp has debunked the claim that the governor had been endorsed for a second term by leaders of his ward 10, Etsako West local government area of the state. Reacting to the pronouncement by the factional ward chairman of the party in the area, Stephen Oshawo to the effect that the governor who is fighting the greatest political battle of his life had been endorsed for a second term in office, Abubakar Akokia, a factional chairman of the ward loyal to Oshiiomhole, described it as “fake news”. Oshawo had on Monday led some members of the party to Government House in Benin City to pledge their loyalty and support to the governor.
Oshawo told the governor that “we came to visit our Governor for the new the year, to pray for him so that God will continue to elevate him for his good works in Edo State.” Described the governor’s performance in the past three years as “excellent”, visitors urged Obaseki to continue his good works in developing the state. Oshawo reiterated that the suspension of the APC national chairman from his ward over his alleged role in sponsoring the crisis rocking the party in the state still subsisted. Also speaking during the visit, factional state chairman of the ruling party, Anselm Ojezua described the visit to the governor as “heartwarming” adding that “you know that under the current circumstances, you will expect that people at the ward level would have been put under extreme pressure by now. You can understand their situation. But as you can see, these men and women are determined that justice must prevail in APC in Edo State and to that extent, I am grateful to them”.
Speaking in a similar vein, APC factional youth leader in the local government, ThankGod Okhumavha, said the leaders of the APC from the local government area came to identify with the governor who had continued from where his predecessor stopped. According to Okhumavha, “we want the governor to continue because he is performing well. If there is a third tenure, we are ready to give him. The suspended National Chairman wanted his authority to prevail but we said no. We want the world to know that Oshiomhole has been suspended from the APC at his ward and local government area. It is illegal for Oshiomhole to continue to parade himself as national chairman of the APC. He cannot call for any meeting for us to attend.” He accused Oshiomhole of transforming himself into a god-father after he had promised to fight god-fatherism. He further alleged that Oshiomhole attempted to bribe an executive of APC at his ward so that he would support him to go against the will of the people.
But in their response to the visit to the governor, Oshiomhole’s foot soldiers in the area dismissed as untrue, what it called the purported suspension of Oshiomhole by his ward leaders. Akokia said the so-called endorsement had again exposed how desperate Obaseki is for a second term when he has not merited it. According to Akokia, “Obaseki is a colossal failure and does not deserve our support. APC leaders in Ward 10 stand solidly with the National Chairman of our great party who has done creditably well in office”.
Speaking further, the factional ward chairman said “we have not seen a situation where endorsement is done at Edo State Government House before. You don’t gather your SAs and SSAs at Government House to endorse any candidate. Besides, INEC is yet to come up with its time table for the campaign and it is irresponsible on the part of the governor to force his staff to endorse him for a second term. The endorsement is done at the ward levels and not at Government House. Besides, we are aware that Anslem Ojezua has been constitutionally impeached as state chairman; and of course, Col. David Imuse elected as the new chairman”.
While urging the public to disregard the fake news from Edo Government House, Akokia reiterated the vote of confidence earlier passed on Oshiomhole and Imuse, positing that “we are proud of what they are doing both at the National and state levels”. He submitted that “If Obaseki wants a second term, he must work for it and not bamboozle APC leaders; it will not work”. Disowning the visitors, Akokia stated that “those Obaseki gathered at Government House are not members of the APC but his staff at Government House, and therefore they must not be taken seriously”.