The setting up of a National Reconciliation Committee by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Edo State has further widened the divide within the state chapter of the party as the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, announced his rejection of the newly constituted committee. The governor described the committee as a creation of the national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, arguing that since he (Oshiomhole) is a key factor in the crisis, he should recuse himself from any effort to address the problems bedeviling the party in some states, particularly Edo.
However, in a statement made available to journalists yesterday, factional chairman and secretary of the party in the state, Col. David Imuse and Lawrence Okah, faulted Governor Obaseki’s stance, saying, “APC in Edo State dissociates itself from the decision of the governor and his cohorts.” They contended that the governor and his supporters no longer see anything good in our great party.
According to Imuse, “The attention of the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State has been drawn to newspaper advertorials and reports by the Edo State Government, wherein Governor Godwin Obaseki rejected the newly-constituted National Reconciliation Committee set up to address the problems bedeviling our party in some states.
“For quite some time now, we have cried to the world that Governor Obaseki is the problem APC has in Edo State but some persons whom he, unfortunately, brainwashed listen to his lies. However, Edo people, who are the voters, know the truth about Obaseki.
“It will interest President Muhammadu Buhari and other leaders of our party that this is the fourth time Governor Obaseki would reject trouble-shooting committees on Edo State and decisions made by respected institutions in this country.
“First was the decision of the House of Representatives, calling on the governor to issue a fresh proclamation letter after he inaugurated nine out of 24 members of the State House of Assembly at 9:30 pm. Governor Obaseki bluntly rejected that decision and accused the respected members of the Green Chambers of carrying out the bidding of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.”
The Imuse faction also recalled the senate’s resolution, which also advised the governor to do the right things as earlier directed by the House of Representatives, noting that governor Obaseki flouted the resolution and went further to get a court injunction restraining NASS from interfering in the crisis in the state’s House of Assembly.
They added: “Rather than embrace peace like the Governor of Bauchi did, which led to the peace being enjoyed today in Bauchi Assembly, Governor Obaseki ‘s ego did not allow him do that. Today, he and his cohorts have dragged the NWC, NASS and the state’s APC through the courts.
“He had further gone ahead to declare vacant the seats of our 14 House of Assembly members who went to court in total disregard to the pendency of these issues before the court.”
Listing other acts of intransigence by the governor, the Imuse faction, which enjoys the support of Oshiomhole, declared: “The NWC decided to set up a peace committee headed by the governor of Kano State. Again, Governor Obaseki and his clique went to court to restrain that committee from carrying out its functions. That matter is still before the law court.
“Just a few days ago, our teeming supporters across the nation celebrated the setting up of a National Reconciliation Committee, which was the idea of our party leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari, at the last NEC meeting. Governor Obaseki has, again, condemned the constitution of the committee, which is ably led by our respected Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan.
“We are, indeed, aware that this committee was not only set up to look into the crisis in Edo APC but also in other states where we have issues such as Rivers, Ondo, Zamfara, etc. Remarkably, none of the leaders in these states have condemned the committee but Obaseki, who is always speaking from both sides of the mouth about the search for peace in Edo APC.”
The APC factional leaders alleged that Edo State Government House now serves as a meeting venue for PDP’s leaders in the state, stating, “We are not worried about that because Governor Obaseki, who failed to win his ward and unit during the presidential election, has no electoral prowess to upset the APC in the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
“APC in Edo State expresses its gratitude to President Buhari for setting up the National Reconciliation Committee. Edo APC looks forward to the committee’s deliberation in Edo State. As a party, we want peace in our state. Therefore, we urge the committee to disregard the position of the governor on this matter because Obaseki is not the owner of APC in Edo State.”
However, while announcing its rejection of the Lawan committee, Edo State Government maintained that the committee was filled up with persons with vested interests in the crisis rocking the ruling party.
In the statement conveying the government’s position, which was signed by Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Paul Ohonbamu, and Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, Obaseki said some of the members of the committee such as Senator Ahmad Lawan and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ahmed Wase, meddled in the altercation between Edo State Government and the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and could not now be adjudicators on the matter.
“We believe the committee does not only fall short of the most basic of integrity tests but is also a disservice to genuine efforts to bring a lasting solution to the crisis rocking different chapters of the APC across the country.
“To the specifics: Senators Lawan and Ahmed Wase in the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, presided over the plenary sessions where the motions to take over the Edo State House of Assembly were deliberated. They are also parties in the court case, in which the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt ruled that the National Assembly couldn’t take over the functions of the Edo State Assembly.
“The NWC, which constituted the reconciliation committee, is presided over by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who is a key actor in the crisis in Edo State. With this move, it amounts to him also being the judge in his own case.”
Obaseki posited further that the governors of APC-controlled states were not consulted in the composition of the committee, citing that as an indication that the national chairman still “acts like an emperor, a trait that is exacerbating the crisis in the party.”
While calling on President Buhari and the National Executive Committee of the party to intervene in the festering crisis, Obaseki added: “State governors in APC-controlled states, who are critical stakeholders in the organs of the party, were not carried along in the composition of the reconciliation committee, contrary to insinuations that there was wide consultation before the setting up of the committee. Any genuine attempt to reconcile aggrieved parties cannot excise such important stakeholders in the party.”
They reiterated the fact that Comrade Oshiomhole has been suspended by the party organs in Edo State and doesn’t have powers to act as the national chairman of the APC, noting, “We would like to remind the discerning members of the public that Comrade Oshiomhole, who is involved in composition of the committee, has been suspended by the APC in his ward and local government area levels. The Edo State APC chapter has ratified his suspension and as such Oshiomhole should excuse himself from the functions of APC.”