As the Edo and Ondo governorship elections draw closer, Nigerians are being captivated by dramatic events in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
PREMIUM TIMES brings you a round-up of the drama and other political events within the party in the week.
Obaseki’s resignation, defection
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, on Tuesday, resigned from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He took the decision after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja. He had been disqualified by the APC from participating in it’s governorship primary slated for June 22 over alleged irregularities in his academic credentials.
Shortly after Mr Obaseki announced his resignation from the APC, his deputy, Philip Shaibu, also quit the party.
In his resignation letter addressed to the Ward Chairman, APC Ward 11, Etsako West Local Government Area, he said: “I write pursuant to Article 9.5 (i) of the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to formally resign my membership of the All Progressives Congress and to inform you of my formal withdrawal from all or any of its proceedings and processes whatsoever. Please note that this resignation takes immediate effect.”
In addition, the chairpersons of the party in the 18 local government areas of the state reaffirmed their support for the re-election bid of Mr Obaseki, stating that they were “fully committed to the progressive ideals of the governor and his battle against godfatherism, thuggery and impunity.”
On Friday, Mr Obaseki formally joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the party’s secretariat in Benin-City and was screened in Abuja on Saturday for the governorship primary of the party.
He blames the embattled national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, for his travails in his former party.
On Tuesday, the Court of Appeal upheld the suspension of Mr Oshiomhole as the National Chairman of the APC.
He was suspended by the APC in Edo State in what is part of his battle with the state governor, Mr Obaseki.
An Abuja high court, in March, also ruled that his suspension was legal and ordered Mr Oshiomhole to stop parading himself as APC national chairman. The suspension was initially lifted after the appellate court granted a stay of execution of the high court’s order.
The appeal court, on Tuesday, however, ruled that Mr Oshiomhole’s suspension was valid.
Meanwhile, the suspension took a new twist on Saturday after Emuakemeh Sule, the secretary of Ward 10, said 17 members out of 26 signed the resolution lifting Mr Oshiomhole’s suspension. But the ward chairman, Oshawo Stephen, in a swift reaction dismissed the reports that the suspension had been lifted.
Acting chairman tussle:
Filling the vacancy created by Mr Oshiomhole’s suspension drew different controversies.
While NWC members, in line with Section 14.2. (iii) of the APC Constitution, named Deputy National Chairman (South) and former Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, as the interim national chairman, he could not assume the position due to undisclosed illness.
In his absence and in line with the APC Constitution, the party asked its National Vice-Chairman (South-south), Hillary Ettah, to act instead.
However, Victor Giadom, a former deputy national secretary of the party, kicked against the decision of the NWC, saying going by an earlier court pronouncement, he should be the interim national chairman of the party.
Ajimobi’s death rumour
On Thursday, there was a rumour that Mr Ajimobi had died from complications from coronavirus disease. The news was everywhere and was trending on social media.
However, his spokesperson, Bolaji Tunji, debunked the rumour that Mr Ajimobi had died at an undisclosed hospital in Lagos.
“I spoke with his family who are with him as of 9:00 p.m. and they said he is still alive,” Mr Tunji told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone at 9:07 p.m.
Nothing new has since been heard about Mr Ajimobi’s condition.
The report came two days after APC named him its acting national chairman.
Akeredolu vs Deputy
As the state’s governorship election approaches, the crisis between Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, worsened on Saturday evening as the state’s Commissioner of Police, Bolaji Salami, prevented Mr Ajayi from leaving the government house in a vehicle attached to his office.
He was delayed for several hours from leaving the government house for his personal residence within Akure, the state capital.
Mr Ajayi had perfected plans to travel to Kiribo, in Eseodo Local Government Area of the state, for his formal defection to the PDP.
He later left in his personal vehicle.
Mr Ajayi on Sunday formally left the APC and joined the PDP.