The wrangling within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo state has degenerated further, with the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, accusing the national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole and his supporters of plotting to “invade” the state.
Mr Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo, helped Mr Obaseki to succeed him as the state governor in 2016.
Both leaders have fallen apart, ahead of a crucial governorship election next year.
The feud between Mr Oshiomhole and Mr Obaseki is playing out loud in the Edo State House of Assembly, where the assembly is yet to commence legislative business because of crisis over its ‘inauguration’ and ‘election’ of the speaker.
The House of Representatives, Tuesday, set up a committee to investigate the Edo assembly crisis.
“For those of you who have gone outside to Abuja to say that people from outside should come and invade Edo, to come and seize our House of Assembly, we are waiting for you,” Mr Obaseki said Thursday, while addressing a rally in Benin City organised to shore up political support.
“We are waiting for you,” the governor repeated.
The Edo state deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, and other top government officials, including some state lawmakers, were present at the rally.
Mr Obaseki, throughout his speech, did not mention Mr Oshiomhole by name but it was clear his attacks were targeted at the APC national chairman and his supporters.
The governor repeated a line that appears to have become his signature tune lately, about “greedy” politicians wanting him to share state funds with them.
“Our focus is to use the money of Edo State to develop you and to develop Edo state, not any individual.
“What I will not do as a governor, what I will not do as an Edo man, is to allow anybody chop (steal) the little money we have today; that money is to be invested, so we can have a future for our children,” the governor said from the podium, with the crowd shouting, and cheering him on.
The governor painted a picture that the political fight in Edo was his refusal to allow the stealing of public funds.
“That is the fight! That is the struggle.
“This struggle started 12 years ago in this town. The struggle has not ended. The struggle has just entered gear two.
“For those of you who are old enough, what we are going through today, we went through 10 years ago. The same thing, nothing has changed.
“It is just unfortunate that some people who were with us when we started that struggle, today we do not know what has happened to them.
“But it is a struggle we will win. Because it is a struggle that says that the people must lead. Democracy is about people, and so whatever we are doing as a government is for you.”
Mr Obaseki said he refused to drive a new car as a governor in the first 18 months of his administration because there was only a “little” money in the public treasury and he chose to deploy it for the good of the people, instead of personal comfort.
He said his administration has done well in education and infrastructure and has also cleared a backlog of pensions.
“We have tried in the last two and a half years to do so much, so quickly,” he said.
“We have no fear, at all. We have resolved that we will continue to do what is best for our state and for our country.
“We have no doubt that we are on the right course.
“We know that God is with us. We know that the people are with us. If all the people are with us, who can stop us?
“We dare you! Nobody can stop the progress of Edo state. Abuja politicians want to disrupt the peace in Edo. We will not let them,” the governor said.