By Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Leaders and critical stakeholders of a faction of the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Wednesday, announced the suspension of the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, from the party over alleged anti-party activities.
Also suspended along with the governor were his deputy, Philip Shaibu, and Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, Esq.
Addressing a large crowd of party faithful at a World Press conference in Benin City, a former member of the House of Representatives, Patrick Ikhariale, who spoke on behalf of party leaders and members across the state, reeled out litany of wrongdoings against the Obaseki administration, saying that the governor has deviated from the APC manefesto.
Among the many sins of Obaseki, Ikhariale stated, were allegations the governor was hobnobbing with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), divisive tendencies, operating an illegally constituted house of assembly among others.
The faction leaders, therefore, apologised to Edo people for Obaseki’s alleged maladministration.
“Governor Obaseki, his Deputy Phillip Shuaibu, Anslem Ojezua and Osarodion Ogie (SSG) from available information from top leaders of the PDP, have concluded plans to defect from the APC and seek re-election on that platform.
“As part of the negotiations the Governor has agreed to pay to the opposition party the sum of Six Billion Naira out of which some leaders of the party (PDP) have received from him the sum of Three Billion Naira. The balance is to be paid as soon as the Governor secures the party’s ticket or formally defect as he is likely to do in few weeks.
“In fact , this is why the rumblings in the PDP leading to the suspension of those leaders involved by a group known as the integrity group in the PDP. It is therefore not surprising that the Governor is working tirelessly to destroy the APC in the state.
“Consequently, we hereby suspend Governor Godwin Obaseki, Hon Phillip Shuaibu and Barr. Osarodion Ogie from the party for anti-party activities and urge the National Working Committee to set the machinery in motion for further disciplinary action against them.
“We wish to inform all our party members in Edo State not to give in to the antics of Obaseki and his handlers as their intention is to railroad them out of the ruling party into opposition. Given the numerous anti-party activities that the Governor, his Deputy and his appointees have been involved in, it is certain that their agenda is to use government resources to decimate the party and move to other platform. We shall remain vigilant in order to protect our party”, the leaders said.
They denounced and dissociated themselves from recent endorsement of the governor by a few party leaders for a second of office, saying that from his antecedents, does not deserve such endorsement.
“We wish to state that at the appropriate time the APC National Working Committee will initiate the process of party primaries for the selection of the party’s gubernatorial candidate. We will abide by the guidelines for such primaries as the constitution of the party vests the responsibility of conducting primaries on the NWC. Governor Obaseki should note that no amount of intimidation or harassment will stop all those who are interested in the governorship of the state from contesting and we are prepared to give every aspirant equal opportunity to test their popularity. We will resist any attempt by the Governor to close the political space”, the leaders stressed.
They explained that their concerns and agitations in the last few months were not and were never about stomach infrastructure or a quest for compensation from state resources nor was it about a godfather and a godson struggle for the control of government or resources of the state.
“It has been about ensuring good governance with a human face and our resolve is to check the destructive path approach to governance in Edo state and put our party on the path of moral rectitude, transparency, inclusion and the progressive agenda of the APC in Edo State.
“This struggle has been about a Governor who lacks interpersonal relationship skill, who is vindictive and repelled by the presence of his party members and without provocation, resorts to anger and pugnacious display of raw power. This is about a governor who has not shown any iota of appreciation for all efforts and sacrifices of his party members across the state. This is about a governor who has failed to fulfil his electoral promises to the people of Edo State and who has refused to listen to the voice of reasoning irrespective of where those voices are coming from.
“This is a Governor who has neglected to employ the tool of dialogue, consultation, negotiation and compromise which are necessary ingredients for proper administration. This is a Governor who believes in all ramifications that he is above the people. This is about a Governor who has suddenly become tyrant! “
The mammoth crowd of party faithful gathered at the meeting include governorship aspirant, Major General Charles Airhiavbere (rtd) which also had another governorship aspirant and former Minister of state for works, Dr Chris Ogiemwonyi.
Others included former council chairmen led by Osaro Obaze, former members of the house of assembly led by Anselm Agbabi, former deputy governors; Rev Peter Obadan and Hon Lucky Imasuen, Hon Abdul Oroh, Lukman Muhammed, former Chief Whip of Edo Assembly; Former member of the House of Representatives, Patrick Obahiagbon, Ken Ihienseken, two-time state assembly member; former Attorney General of the state Henry Idahagbon, former Minority Whip of the House of Representatives, Samson Osagie, Prince Malik Afegbua, member, APC Board of Trustees; Chief Francis Inegbeneki, Suleiman Gbagudu, Solomon Edebiri, National Chairman of the Roads Transport Employers Association of Nigeria(RETEAN) Osakpanmwan Eriyo, former APC youth leader in Oredo, Tony Adun (Kabaka), former member of the House of Representatives, Hon Rasaq Bello-Osagie, Mrs Mabel Adams, Barrister Bisi Daomi and their teeming supporters.
Reacting to the development however, Special Adviser to governor Obaseki on Media and Communiction Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, said the governor remained focused in governing the state, saying that those who took the decision have right to do so.
“What they did is not known to the party. Firstly, some members in that meeting which was held in house of an individual is not a party meeting, they should have held the meeting in the party secretariat if it was real.
“Some of them have been suspended from the party so they do not have the right to do what they did”.
“Today, a leadership meeting of the party was held where the suspension of the national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, was ratified. But Governor Obaseki remains focused in governing the state”, Osagie said.
Meanwhile, the PDP at a briefing in Benin City, has lashed out on Governor Obaseki, saying the three years of his administration has brought hardship instead of dividends of democracy to the people.
Briefing journalists Wednesday, the Edo State Chairman of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, advised that rather than the yearly jamboree of bringing people to discuss issues which have not yielded any profit to the people, the resources should be channeled to better their lives.
Chief Orbih noted that even the 200,000 jobs promised by Obaseki in his campaign, the governor was able to only employ drivers and domestic staff, instead of the promised number of jobs.