Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
The bad blood between the Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, and his predecessor and National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, may not be healing soon as the duo are still locked in bitter confrontation over security in the state.
While the state governor is accusing Oshiomhole of intending to make the state ungovernable, having threatened to do so, the APC National Chairman accused the governor of victimizing and harassing members of the party in the state for choosing not to follow him on his second term bid.
It would be recalled that the handlers of the APC National Chairman last weekend raised the alarm over an alleged attack on the home of the party leader in Benin City, the capital of Edo state, an allegation that continues to be contested by the state government and security agents in the state, saying Oshiomhole was never attacked in Benin.
However, continuing to maintain his claim that Oshiomhole was not attacked in the state, the state governor, Obaseki, on Tuesday alleged that his predecessor was resorting to the ‘attack scheme’ to make the state look like security was breaking down, haven allegedly threatened to make the state ungovernable.
Obaseki, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media, Communication and Public Affairs, Crusoe Osagie, accused his predecessor of breaching protocol when visiting the state, alleging that the APC National Chairman preferred consulting with thugs whenever he is visiting the state instead of the state government and security agencies.
The governor maintained that he has no knowledge of the alleged attack on the residence of the APC National Chairman, stating that the report of the State Commissioner of Police, DanMallam Muhammed should be paramount more than any other report.
“To the best of my knowledge, no one had access to the house of the National Chairman. When he came into the State, we beefed up security around him, from his house to the Oba’s palace, from there to the airport before he left for Abuja.
“Let me use this medium to warn troublemakers that Edo State is very peaceful and calm. The State is the most peaceful in the South-South Region of Nigeria. We will do everything according to the law to ensure that the peace the people of Edo State enjoy is not truncated and any attempt by anyone to cause trouble in the State will be resisted with maximum force.”
“Oshiomhole has intention of escalating security situation in Edo State as he has said in the past that he was going to make the state ungovernable. When he wants to come to the state, he does not inform the governor, the police or the DSS but the thugs. As a former governor, he ought to be informing the governor and security agencies each time he is coming into the state.
Read Also; Obaseki behind siege to my home, says Oshiomhole
“The commissioner of Police has declared the state peaceful but Oshiomhole and his cohorts were bent on making it ungovernable. But this I know the governor and security agencies would not allow. Oshiomhole, as a former governor, should undermine the capacity and integrity of the Police unless otherwise he is looking for anarchy in the state”, the governor said.
However, in a swift response to the allegations against him Comrade Oshiomhole said it was the governor who is now resorting to harassing and intimidating members of the APC, especially the youths across the 18 council areas of the state, adding that the governor had become so unpopular that the people’s rejection of him has become obvious.
Oshiomhole, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Simon Ebegbulem, said contrary to Obaseki’s allegation against him, it is the governor that is doing everything to plunge the state into security crisis, citing last Saturday’s attack on his home in Benin out as an example.
He, however warned the governor to cease exhibiting his jealousy of his (Oshiomhole’s) wide acceptance by the people of Edo State, noting that his enviable relationship with the people of the state did not just start as he had always been a man of the people from his Labour movement days, adding that it go better over the years, especially with his unusual performance as governor of the state.
“Talking about security, it is actually the governor who is making every effort to plunge the state into crisis and bloodshed. The last Saturday siege at the residence of the national chairman by his thugs was a good example. Before that incident, state government-sponsored thugs had been harassing and intimidating APC members across the 18 LGA because the APC leaders refused to adopt his second term aspiration.
“And we have it on good authority that the governor intends to create disaffection in the state APC and probably dump the party for another party. That is why he has embarked on this brigandage, which Edo people will resist. So he should stop blackmailing Oshiomhole and face governance, which is why Edo people voted him into power.
“The governor should stop being jealous of Oshiomhole’s popularity in Edo State. He is a man that is at home with his people, having performed creditably well as governor of Edo State. So each time he is around, both men and women gather round him, particularly APC members and of course the youths. It is sad that the governor in his usual style to blackmail the APC chairman now refer the hardworking youths of Edo State as thugs, forgetting that these same wonderful youths supported him during his election as governor.
“Right from Oshiomhole’s days in the Labour movement, he has always been on the side of the people, therefore cannot abandon that to please a governor who believes he has monopoly of knowledge”, he said.
In a related development, the spokesman to the APC National Chairman, Simon Ebegbulem, has tasked the Edo state Commissioner of Police, Dan-Mallam Muhammed, not to allow himself be used by politicians and those he described as “misguided politicians in Edo State”.
In a statement he released to the media in Abuja on Tuesday, Ebegbulem, noted that the Commissioner of Police claim that there was no attack on the Benin home of Oshiomhole contradicted some actions taken traceable to him the drama that followed the reported attack.
According to him, “I want to believe that CP Muhammed is a super cop, who should not contradict himself on the facts of a matter that was writ-large and about which his men were seized of. Who, for instance, were the people that pursued the thugs who came to attack Oshiomhole, thinking that he was at home when they struck? Of course, they were the policemen and some brave APC youths who got the information that the thugs had laid siege to the residence of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole with a view to attacking him.
“Was it not the CP that sent his men to the place to restore law and order? If the CP had claimed there was nothing like an attack, how come he decided to beef up security around the national chairman’s residence? I even read where the Police claimed the people who went there were protesters.
“Are protests held in the night? The thugs laid siege to the residence of the national chairman of the ruling party at 8 p.m. My thinking is that by now the Police would be telling us about the number of arrests that they have made. After all, the “suspects”, purportedly pampered by the Police, had regrouped at Edo Hotel after they had escaped from the scene. Why were they not arrested by the Police at Edo Hotel?
“I know that the Edo State Government is making frantic effort to use the statement of the Police Commissioner that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was not attacked to cover its evil plot and the shame it has brought to itself, but that effort had already fallen through in the face of a number of notorious facts.
“Some questions are therefore pertinent in the circumstance: Was the Police expecting somebody to be killed in the attack on Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s house before it would confirm that political thugs actually invaded or attacked the house?
“Suppose the Comrade Chairman had run into those thugs on his way back home without knowing about their presence, what could have happened? The answers are not blowing in the wind. They are right here. I leave well-meaning and perceptive members of the public with the answers,” Ebegbulem said