The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has blamed the recent violence and assault on guests that occurred in front of his house on the Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu.
Mr Oshiomhole also called on the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, to ‘control’ Mr Shaibu.
The Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, Mr Obaseki and Pro-Chancellor of Edo University, T. Audu, were reportedly attacked by thugs on Saturday in front of Mr Oshiomhole’s country home in Edo State.
Mr Oshiomhole spoke on the incident and the discord between him and his successor, Mr Obaseki, to PREMIUM TIMES and other selected media outfits at his residence in Maitama on Sunday night.
He said the attack on those dignitaries was “calculated to embarrass me and generate negative headlines around my person” by Mr Shaibu.
“It is unthinkable to say I would invite people to my residence for lunch and make arrangement to prevent them from entering into my compound. This was why I apologized yesterday for the embarrassment that must have caused them.
“Their intention was to boo me so that media can say ‘Oshiomole was booed in his village.”
“I would love if you could cross-check my claims with the Governor of CBN, Godwill Emefiele,” he said.
He said the dignitaries were not invited and he had no idea that Mr Obaseki was on the bus with them. He said he learnt that the mob prevented the vehicles from entering his compound immediately they saw two of the alleged people that attacked his home in Benin two weeks ago in the entourage.
“As the governor’s entourage was driving in a bus into my house, these bike riders that the deputy governor arranged were also following them in the entourage. All of these explain the reaction of those youths.
“From what I was told, two of the people that launched an attack on my house in Benin were inside the governor’s bus. The problem with the mob is that they can not distinguish between the invited guests from those two guys I have complained to the police about their role in the attack on my house in Benin. All of these explained the whole unfortunate situation.
“But I was surprised that the media that were there in the morning did not report the police using teargas when the deputy governor was trying to force his way in with the thugs,” he said.
I’ve tried to reconcile with Obaseki
Mr Oshiomhole also advised Mr Obaseki to control his deputy, saying he is trying his best to ensure that APC stays one. He also denied the allegation that he was trying to stop Mr Obaseki from seeking a second term in office.
“I want to suggest to the governor, as I have told him in a text message, we do not need to import thugs, he has to prevail on his deputy who seems to have higher propensity for violence to change his ways, because what will you gain on a convocation day to import thugs to a university environment.
“This was calculated to embarrass me and generate negative headlines around my person but I know that most well-meaning Nigerians will not judge me by the attitude of those who have resorted to tactics that cannot be helpful to anyone.
“I am trying to ensure we have an all-inclusive party.
“I want to use this opportunity to let Nigerians know that I have done everything I can to reconcile Governor Obaseki with his people. When I see Oshiomole’s supporters, I was like which supporters, am I going to contest an election again?
“When people say nobody knows tomorrow, I know that I can’t be a governor again tomorrow, it is not possible. When you say there is nothing God cannot do, it is only in a manner of speaking, God can’t make me a governor of Edo State again. So what supporters do I have, to do what with it?
“How did the governor become governor in the state? Why will I use the pressure of that efforts only for him (Obaseki) to be removed? I have been reluctant to speak on this which is why he is enjoying the benefits of a one-sided story because I didn’t see any merit to go to the market place and say we have issues in Edo. I have tried to manage not to comment on it.”
The former Edo governor then mentioned those who had tried to mediate in his feud with Mr Obaseki.
“If you ask Gov Fayemi, Gov Bagudu, Gov El-Rufai, Aliko Dangote, Honorable Minister of trade and commerce, they have tried to go to Edo to reconcile all the groups because the style of the governor has created a lot of factions within the party in the state. I am not going to be a candidate so I don’t need a faction.
“As a governor, I never had faction and no responsible governor would want to create factions. I have told the governor (Obaseki) that if you keep handling things and talk this way, we may have a problem.
“I have made every effort to reconcile the governor with leaders of the party in the state, not me.”
What happened during Convocation
In his narration of what transpired at the Edo University premises on Thursday which later metamorphosed into the fracas that played out on Saturday at his residence, Mr Oshiomhole said he saw hundreds of people at the school field immediately his helicopter landed, shouting ‘Oshio Baba.’
“And as I walked smartly towards the university gate, they started shouting ‘4+4’. I was surprised because I have attended several rallies and none was held in a school premises.”
“Interestingly when I got to the VC’s office, I met the CBN governor complaining to the Vice-Chancellor that he was not invited to address a rally but to deliver a convocation lecture. He said he won’t talk to those thugs wearing all sorts of inscriptions. This was what I heard and reported to the IG of police.
“Few minutes later, the governor himself arrived and Mr Emefiele went to him and say ‘what are these people doing here?’ He said he won’t deliver any speech if those people are still there.
“The governor promised to tell the people to go but as you can imagine, it is easier to mobile thugs to a place and difficult to tell them to leave.
“We found our way into the auditorium and of course you can hear all kinds of slogans. This was their plan. The whole idea was to have their camera waiting as I step out so that people will be booing me.
“We managed to get into the place only for the thugs to block the entrance of the administrative block, we were smuggled out through the escape door.
“These thugs are the thugs imported into the community by Phillip Shaibu. The CBN governor is alive, you can ask him,” he said.
The motorcycle riders
The APC chairman then elaborated on why he believes Mr Shaibu led motorcycle riders to embarrass him in his house.
“Yesterday morning (Saturday) I received an information of the deputy governor mobilizing Okada riders offering them N3,000 per person in a primary school called Adanma, in his village, Jetu. It is about 6 kilometres from the location of the university.
“I called the Mopol and the area commanders to brief them and they arranged a mortal guard security. But since the security officer to the governor came in and asked them to allow everybody into the premises. The police did their job by not allowing Okada riders into the community.
“The deputy governor came on motorbike from Jetu community all the way to the university gate and he ordered the security to open the gate and let him in. The police said they will allow him in but not with the thugs but he insisted that the thugs must enter with him. I have the video of him insisting.
“While I was inside the convocation hall, I had no idea that he has been tear-gassed at the gate.
“I tried as much as possible to avoid them so as to avoid headlines that will mean bad publicity for the university.
“Governor Obaseki has slept in my house countless times. Before he became the governor, we are friends. He doesn’t need any appointment to see me,” Mr Oshiomhole said.
Deputy Governor Reacts
In his reaction, the Edo Deputy Governor, Mr Shaibu, speaking through his spokesperson, Ebomhiana Musa, said Mr Oshiomhole’s allegations are unfounded. He insisted that the chairman supported the mob that attacked the dignitaries at the entrance of his home.
He denied that there was an attempt to attack Mr Oshiomhole. He, however, acknowledged that Mr Shaibu came on a motorcycle but only in solidarity with the bike men. He added that the bike men stopped at the university gate which is still far from Mr Oshiomhole’s residence.
“Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is somebody we have high regards for as the National Chairman of our great party and the immediate past governor of Edo State. Everyone here has high regards for him and we will not do anything that will embarrass him or tarnish his image because if we tarnish his image, we have tarnished the image of our party and Edo State at large.
“Having said that, I believe he is a bit economical with the truth. Will somebody organise his own attack and destroy three of his own vehicles? Is it possible? That is one question I should ask the reading public.
“Second is the fact that if I have my own house and see some people (undesirable elements) in front of my house, I will not allow them to embarrass me or my guests, I will tell the security to disperse them, except I am in support of what they are doing in front of my gate.
“I believe you are aware that the attack took place right in front of Oshiomhole’s gate.
“Let us assume he did not invite them (the governor and his deputy) into his house, is it out of place to pay homage to the leader of your party? It shows that they hold him in high esteem which is why they pay homage to him. They cannot be the domain without paying homage to Mr Oshiomhole. That was all they did. This is rather unfortunate.”
The spokesperson then provided more information on why Mr Shaibu was on a bike.
“The bike men came to Jetu which is the deputy governor’s hometown to pay him homage and in solidarity to the bike men who came to receive him, he rode on the bike to show solidarity to them.
“He rode on that bike up to the gate of the university, not to Oshiomhole’s gate as claimed. We have video to show this. The MOPOL were there to deny them entrance and they waited at the gate of the university.
“The attack came in the evening around 5 p.m. Would the bike men have waited from morning till evening? They only led him (the deputy governor) to the university gate and went back to Jetu, if you know the distance between Inyanmu and Jetu. The deputy governor didn’t pay any bike man to ride with him anywhere,” he said.