National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole says he is usually embarrassed when accused of trying to play the godfather in Edo State politics.
Oshiomhole, who stated this in a television interview friday, said he would have been able to influence the appointment of several people if he was a godfather, but that he was only able to persuade Governor Godwin Obaseki to accept a founding member of his campaign organisation in 2006 as commissioner.
He said, “My own embarrassment is when they say, Oshiomhole wants to be like a godfather. If I wanted to be, then I will be nominating Commissioners. I only persuaded him (Obaseki) to accept one Commissioner from me; only one and I gave my reasons- because he was a founding member of my campaign organisation in 2006, Mika. Other than Mika, I did not nominate any Commissioner, I did not nominate any Special Adviser, Special Assistance because for me these are governance issues. So where is the godfather role coming from?”
The APC national chair, who disclosed his numerous efforts to restore peace in Edo State APC, recalled how he reconciled Obaseki with an APC chieftain, Charles Idahosa, with whom he had issues.According to Oshiomhole, “There was a time the governor told me that he would not have anything to do with Charles Idahosa because he lost his booth during his own governorship election and so has no electoral value. I invited both of them to my house and he did not know the other party was coming.
“When the governor entered the room, Idahosa sat and said he was not going to have a handshake with him and used a language for me that was derogatory. I said no, Charles you cannot talk like that. This is the governor and you must respect him. And I said, governor please whatever Charles has done that you are not happy about, we have won, put them behind you. I said in this business, if you don’t work with people because of their electoral value, sometimes you work with them because of their nuisance value. So you will not gain by saying you won’t work with this one or that one.
“If you ask Rev. Egharevba, I got to know that he was not participating in APC activities because of the way the governor was treating them. I drove to his house and I said ‘Rev, I met you in this party, so why are you leaving the party now.’ They were in ACN then before I came to form an alliance with them. He said ‘you introduced this man to us and look at the way he is treating everybody now.’ I said okay, with time he will change.
“I now asked him, who are you living the house for? Those in government are the tenants in power, the landlords are the members in the party and the leaders are the owners of the party. “It is the party that produced the governor, so if you are not happy with the governor; and are running away because of the governor, you will be leaving your own house for a tenant. This tenant’s maximum tenancy is eight years, but your party membership can be for life.”
He continued: “Prince Eweka came here and said I should beg the governor that they are cousins, but that he is not treating him well. I told the governor please he is an elder, Prince Eweka I have known for long, he was at a point Vice Chairman. So I can mention names of people who I stopped from leaving the party by making peace and resolving their problem with the governor. So when people say my group; everybody in Edo I have no problem. Who is not my group, is Obaseki not my group, who is in the party that is with him that is opposed to me, none.
“The only problem is that he says there are people he cannot stand but I said to him, it is difficult in this business to pick and choose. Learn from our President. Our President was candidate on ANPP platform, at a point he had his reasons for living ANPP and formed CPC. But we all came to realise that at the end of the day, for anyone to be President of Nigeria, you must have a party with a spread and the more spread the party has, the more you have characters that on a good day you may not even want to talk to. But the logic of numbers means that you must embrace all. But somehow he just refused.”
The APC Chair further stated: “I think as a brother and to be honest, I regard the governor as my brother and a very close friend, what I owe him is to assist where he wants me to. To help him make peace with anyone whom he has issues with. You people forgot when the governor went to Uhumwonde, at the peak of his crisis with Idahosa, saying that he as the governor was going to take the leadership in Uhumwonde since the place is his ancestral home.
“And now he is going to do special development in Uhumwonde but he is not going to do it with politicians and that the politicians Uhumwonde has produced never worked for the development of Uhumwonde. And so he was going to set up special development Committee not made up of politicians but community leaders so he will relate with the community leaders and not politicians. But I advised him to, by all means, relate with community leaders but don’t exclude party leaders because their roles are not the same.
“So, I know that in my heart of hearts, the difficulties I have is that when people have told me as they did, that we don’t know this man, he does not know us, he does not attend meetings and I said to them, ‘don’t worry he will get to know you and mingle with you, vote for him.’ I told him whatever you want to do in governance do, but when it comes to party leaders, my brother be careful. For us, we are helping to make sure the party is strong, when people talk about godfather, I said no way. I have no interest in running government.”
Worry Not About Political Disturbances, Deputy Gov. Tells Journalists
Meanwhile, Edo State deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, friday, assured members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council not to be disturbed by the happenings within the APC in the state, saying all will all fizzle out within the shortest time.
Shaibu, who gave the assurance during a get-to-gether breakfast with newsmen at his Aideyen residence in Benin City, said the 2020 Edo State governorship election will be very peaceful and Governor Obaseki will be re-elected into office for the second time while those currently flexing their muscles would join them to celebrate his victory at the poll.
“By the grace of God, 2020 will be the most peaceful election and the victory of Obaseki shall be seamless. Do not worry about all the disturbances you are hearing, it will calm soon.
And those characters that are flexing muscles, we know them, they will join. We are family members, they underated the governor and did not know he is man of strong will”, he said.
While commending the Journalists for their unflinching support for this present administration, he said their inputs were still needed to move the state forward.