The governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, has handed down a clear instruction to state officials – do not insult or talk back at Adams Oshiomhole, no matter what!
Mr Oshiomhole, the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is locked in a political battle with Mr Obaseki whom he helped to succeed him as Edo governor.
Their allies, the lawmakers in the Edo House of Assembly, have been fighting over the control of the state legislature for some months now.
A statement jointly issued on Monday by the governor’s spokesperson, Crusoe Osagie, and the commissioner for information in the state, Paul Ohonbamu, said Mr Obaseki has barred officials in his administration from making “any comment whatsoever” against Mr Oshiomhole.
The statement said the APC national chairman has been making “hostile comments” of late against the governor.
“Obaseki said he has chosen to pursue the path of peace and reconciliation in dealing with these issues in the interest of the good people of Edo State and our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC),” the statement said.
The instruction from Governor Obaseki is a departure from the past, where the governor appeared comfortable with media attacks against Mr Oshiomhole.
The governor had repeatedly said in the past that he was being fought by “greedy” politicians who wanted him to share public funds to 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 recently to a crowd of supporters at a political rally in Benin City.
Governor Obaseki in July sacked eight commissioners perceived to be loyalists of Mr Oshiomhole.
At least two state lawmakers loyal to Mr Oshiomhole have been suspended by the local chapters of the APC in Edo State, while one politician loyal to the governor has publicly demanded the resignation of the APC national chairman.
Mr Oshiomhole’s loyalist and a lawmaker in the state, Washington Osifo, accused Mr Obaseki of “bringing back gangsterism” into the state politics.
“I have told people, this is not the governor I used to know,” Mr Osifo told PREMIUM TIMES.
“The governor I used to know when he came (into power) was against any form of gangsterism.
“But because he is now gunning for a second term, all those things he came out to condemn, he is now the one welcoming them – arrogance, gangsterism – he has brought them back into the system.”
Mr Osifo was among the 15 lawmakers-elect excluded from the ‘inauguration’ of the state assembly.
All the 24 members of the Edo assembly belong to the APC.
The ‘inauguration’ of the assembly was said to have been hurriedly done at night, at about 9:30 p.m., with only nine members, in order to prevent perceived loyalists of the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, from taking control of the state legislature.
Mr Oshiomhole is insisting Mr Obaseki must issue another proclamation for the state assembly to be inaugurated afresh, a position which the governor and his supporters are seriously opposed to.