Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who chaired the seven-member committee that supervised the controversial governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress in Bayelsa State, has said he harbours no personal grouse against one of the candidates, Timipre Sylva.
Mr Oshiomhole said he believed Mr. Sylva is under tension, and needs to be helped.
The governor also restated that dangerous weapons were freely used by some of the participants during the exercise last week.
Mr. Oshiomhole spoke on Monday after submitting the report of the committee to the National Working Committee of the party in Abuja.
He had last week dismissed the election, saying the exercise was marred by violence hence it was suspended by his committee.
However, Mr. Sylva, a former governor of Bayelsa State, debunked Mr. Oshiomhole’s, describing him as a “liar.”
Amid the controversy, the National chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, announced the cancellation of the election.
He said the exercise would be rescheduled, a position Mr. Sylva contested.
The former Bayelsa State governor, in response to Mr. Odigie-Oyegun ‘s action, said the chairman had no power to take unilateral decision to nullify the exercise.
Mr. Oshiomhole told journalists on Monday that he had an excellent relationship with Mr. Sylva and that he would not resort to fighting the former governor.
He said if the former governor was under tension the party would help him.
“You know, Sylva is my brother and I can show you my phone. I’m not just calling him my brother and I have sent him a text saying my brother before the election and he will remain my brother,” Mr. Oshiomhole said.
“So, if there is an argument or somebody is under tension what you need is our help. I know what it takes contesting an election and I have passed through all of that and happily I’m doing my second term.
“So, I will not create burden for anyone except that because of the tradition I’m coming from democracy has only one meaning “one man one vote.” It is a covenant between me and my God. I have fought electoral fraud in Edo and God mercifully aided me and we defeated some of the progressive forces. If there is nothing else I can do the principle of one man one vote is something I’m committed to.
“So, if he (Sylva) is offended by that it is a pity. Even now for emphasis, Sylva is my brother and I’m not going to fight him on the street.”
The Edo State governor said dangerous weapons were used by some of the participants at the venue of the disputed primary.
According to him, weapons such as AK 47, Pump action and live ammunition characterised the exercise.
He said, “Concerning what happened in the stadium I have seen independent reports. Gunshots were being fired. AK 47 guns were recovered, pump action, live ammunition.
“These are not secrets that transpired, I am not the issue and I don’t want to be the issue. There are issues that are important to me. This one, I didn’t go there as a governor. I went there as a party member on a national assignment by the party and it is a great honour.”
Mr. Oshiomhole denied that he was bribed in any way by one of the aspirants, Timi Alaibe, a former managing director of Niger Delta Development Commission, who came second in the purported election.
He explained, “Part of the challenge of leadership is that you have to have some capacity to accommodate all kinds of things. I will leave that to you if you think that I am so helpless that I needed the help of someone.
“And again, talking about the media you know there are things that a vigorous media can deal with. If they were to say that Comrade Adams is he goat and you come to ask me they say you are a he goat, I think it is incidentally that we have gone through some tension over the past few years.
“You also know that there was a time I was going to Ekiti state and my chopper was stopped at Benin Airport and I was denied the right to fly because the power that be at the time did not want me to go to Ekiti.
“If you find from your own research that the first time I have had to use a chopper you can draw your conclusion. But I like this Igbo man’s proverb, which says that ‘if you are bathing in a local battle, a mad just collects your clothes and you come out of the bathroom naked and start running after him, people will say – look at these two mad men.
“If they say that I need an applicant, somebody who wants to be governor is the one who has to support a sitting governor, I leave that to their judgement. But I’m not going to condescend to that level. I think there are more other national issues to engage at this point in time but don’t forget even at this hour.”
Meanwhile, there was palpable tension at the national secretariat of the APC on Monday following the alleged threat by a group of militants to stage a protest over the party’s rescheduled primary election in Bayelsa State.
There was heavy presence of an anti-riot squad of the Nigerian Police Force and other security men armed with various weapons in and around the party secretariat located at Blantyre Street, Wuse 11 District of Abuja.
However, Mr. Alaibe, in a statement denied being behind the planned protest.
The statement said, “It has come to the notice of the Timi Alaibe Campaign Organisation that certain groups have printed T-shirts and vests in the name of Alaibe and are planning to stage violent protests in Yenagoa and at the national secretariat of the APC in Abuja.
“We dissociate ourselves from such protests and call on the public, security agencies and the national leadership of the APC to please take note.”
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