Oshiomhole-Obaseki rift deepens, as governor sacks eight commissioners

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who succeeded Adams Oshiomhole.[Photo credit: YouTube]
The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who succeeded Adams Oshiomhole.[Photo credit: YouTube]

There is no letting up in the political fight between the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

Mr Obaseki, Wednesday, sacked eight commissioners from the state executive council.

The sacked commissioners are loyalists of Mr Oshiomhole, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

They are Joseph Ugheoke, the commissioner for energy and water resources; Magdalene Ohenhen, women affairs and social development; and Osahon Amiolemen, infrastructure.

Others are David Osifo, the commissioner for health; Mika Amanokha, youth and special duties; Mariam Abubakar, budget; Emmanuel Usoh, wealth creation, cooperatives and employment; and Christopher Adesotu, science and technology.

Governor Obaseki has since nominated replacements for the sacked commissioners.

The Feud

Mr Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo, helped Mr Obaseki to succeed him as the state governor in 2016, against all the odds.

Mr Obaseki is likely going to seek re-election next year, but it appears he does not enjoy the backing of Mr Oshiomhole.

The feud between the two APC leaders became public a few days ago when the Edo State House of Assembly was hurriedly ‘inaugurated’ and a speaker ‘elected’ at night with only nine lawmakers present.

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The assembly has 24 members, and all of them are APC members.

The other lawmakers-elect were excluded ostensibly in order to prevent Mr Oshiomhole’s loyalists from taking control of the legislature, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

Mr Oshiomhole and the national leadership of the APC have since rejected the ‘inauguration’ of the assembly, which they described as being “illegal”.

The assembly and the state government, Wednesday, secured an interim order from a federal high court in Benin City, restraining the APC from “interfering” in the affairs of the state legislature.

Mr Obaseki, as it is, appears to be in firm control of the APC at the state level, while Mr Oshiomhole thrives at the national level of the party.

Undercurrent

A local chapter of the party on June 21 issued a statement, saying it has suspended one of the lawmakers-elect who was excluded from the Edo assembly ‘inauguration’.

The ‘suspended’ lawmaker-elect, Washington Osifo, is from Uhunmwode Local Government Area of the state.

The party did not give reasons for its action, beyond accusing Mr Osifo of “violating” its constitution.

Meanwhile, Mr Osifo, in an interview PREMIUM TIMES, accused a chieftain of APC in the state, Charles Idahosa, of being behind the action.

Mr Osifo said his only offence was that he had called on the people to condemn the “unconstitutional inauguration” of the Edo State House of Assembly by nine out of the 24 members.

“I am not the one who said the right thing must be done, it is the constitution that says so,” he said.

The lawmaker-elect said those whose names appeared on the notice of his suspension “have called him to disassociate themselves from it”.

Traditional rulers and chiefs on Wednesday met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja and pleaded for his intervention in the rift between Governor Obaseki and Mr Oshiomhole.

The Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’ Edo, Ewuare II, who led the delegation to the presidential villa, reportedly told Mr Buhari, “If this crisis is not resolved now with immediate effect, it may jeopardise the progress of the state”.

It could be recalled that Mr Idahosa, a former political adviser to Mr Oshiomhole when the latter was Edo governor, recently demanded the resignation of the APC national chairman.

Mr Idahosa, who apparently enjoys the backing of Governor Obaseki, accused Mr Oshiomhole of instigating crisis within the APC in Edo.

“We are all not very happy with what is happening in Edo State today, especially with the political division and the confusion.

“This is a situation in which we ought to be very happy; it is so strange. It is like a tragi-comedy with what is happening. We have a governor who was brought up by a political party and the people out there are very happy and commending this governor for working so hard. He is very popular and you will attest to that but the problem is with the leadership of the party.

“While the voters are very excited, the people who brought him into power are not happy with him because, according to them, he is not carrying them along,” Mr Idahosa said.

Mr Obaseki himself helped to fuel the speculations about his rift with Mr Oshiomhole when he cried out some weeks ago that some “greedy” politicians were putting pressure on him to share state funds to them.

Mr Obaseki did not say who the “greedy” politicians were, but many thought he may have referred to the APC national chairman and his supporters.

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