The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has mentioned what he considers as “the bottom line” of his quarrel with Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The protracted quarrel between the two has the potential to thwart the governor’s second term ambition and even prevent the APC from winning the forthcoming governorship election in Edo state.
“I do not have a rift with him (Oshiomhole) as a person. I just do not agree with how some decision is taken, as it relates to the party. It is not in the interest of our party,” Mr Obaseki said in an interview with Channels TV, on Sunday
Mr Obaseki said Mr Oshiomhole has been a disruption to the decision-making process of the APC in Edo state.
“Our quarrel has been that we are doing things that are outside the constitution of our party. The logic of democracy is that it’s the people that should drive democracy. Democracy should be built bottom-up, and not top-down. Democracy should start from the base,” the governor said.
“So in the last four years, we in Edo have restructured our party, we have built from the unit, through the wards, through the local government (areas), and to the state.
“And the executive at every level are in harmony. Our party is very strong in the state and the quarrel is that the party is not allowed to make its decisions from the base, decisions are imposed from the top, and that’s not auguring well; it’s creating disharmony within the system.”
Mr Obaseki said in the Channels TV interview that he has not met nor spoken with the APC national chairman “recently”.
Mr Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo State, helped Mr Obaseki to succeed him as governor in 2016, against all the odds. The two fell apart politically shortly after Mr Obaseki assumed office.
With his position as the APC national chairman, Mr Oshiomhole is the biggest obstacle to Mr Obaseki’s second term ambition.
The Oshiomhole-Obaseki political fight has crippled the Edo State House of Assembly (14 lawmakers elected on the APC platform are yet to be inaugurated since June 2019). It has also factionalised the APC in the state.
The APC governorship primary holds on June 22, while the general election is in September.
Mr Oshiomhole and the National Working Committee of the APC have settled for direct method for the primary, while Governor Obaseki and the faction of the APC in Edo State that is loyal to him want an indirect primary.
“The June 22 primary will settle all issues,” the APC deputy national vice chairman, South-South, Hillard Etta was quoted to have said in a report published by The Guardian newspaper.
“Direct or indirect method is in our party’s constitution. Direct or indirect was chosen by every state when we started the process of primary elections in 2019. The governorship election is a culmination of that process; we don’t have two different elections.
“The reasons we are adopting direct primary for Edo are two: the number one is that the state’s primaries for House of Assembly, House of Representatives and the Senate were through direct primaries and the governorship is just a culmination of those primaries.
“The second is that in any jurisdiction, where we have our members in court for one reason or another, we try not to imperil the candidature of our party by taking the decision to the people.
“If you look at our constitution, indirect primary presupposes that only officers of the party will vote. Now, what if we have a pronouncement of the court that says that a set of officers who voted at a particular point are not the right officers to have voted, what happens to the party?” Mr Etta said.
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