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Obaseki would not win councillorship election without Oshiomhole – Ex-Edo ACN chair Okosun

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How do you think the crisis in the Edo State House of Assembly can be resolved?

The ball is in the court of the governor. You cannot put something on anything. There is no proclamation yet. The governor has not issued a proclamation. A proclamation will tell you the time, venue and date. It needs publication for the public to know. There was no publication. It was issued on the 17th, the House was inaugurated on the 17th and publication was done on the 19th whereas publication ought to be done before the inauguration. This is the problem.

Godwin Obaseki
Godwin Obaseki

I do not know what Obaseki is scared of. All the 24 members-elect are all APC members. There is no PDP. The solution lies in the hands of the Governor.

But why is Oshiomhole interested in who becomes the Speaker?

Oshiomhole has never told anybody this is the Speaker. I can tell you authoritatively that Oshiomhole never picked any Speaker. He has said let the right thing be done. Whoever emerges in a proper process is accepted. Democracy is guided by the rule of law. As long as they are APC members, any of them can become the Speaker. That is his position. Follow the due process of electing who will lead the Assembly. It is not the responsibility of the Governor to dictate. He can influence but not to force a Speaker on the people.

It is said that during your time as Speaker in 1999, only a few party leaders decided in the bedroom who you people should elect as Speaker…

Charles Idahosa is behaving like a political neophyte. He should find out how I emerged as Speaker. The party’s decision was that Matthew Egbadon should be the Speaker, and our members resisted them. They said it should be zoned to a senatorial district and the members would decide. That was what happened in my case. I emerged with the support of members. The day I emerged as Speaker, the PDP then had suspended me and 10 others as members of the party. The PDP, then guided by the late (Tony) Anenih, the late Ogbemudia and Chief Igbinedion, insisted that it must be somebody else. But we said no because they didn’t have the voting right on the floor of the House. Charles Idahosa does not have the facts.

The silence of Oshiomhole is said to be the reason why you people are causing the crisis in Edo APC…

Who is causing the crisis? If a governor elected on the platform of a party and members of the House of Assembly are all APC and he cannot put his house in order, who is to blame? Why transfer blame to someone else? Why is he blaming Oshiomhole? What has Oshiomhole said in this crisis? Let’s assume Oshiomhole said something, who brought Obaseki? When Oshiomhole insisted that he wanted Obaseki to become the governor, why did he not complain at that time? We are dissatisfied. We have told Oshiomhole clearly that he can see what we foresaw which he didn’t see. What we saw is what is playing out.

Obaseki has come to destroy our party. We need to rescue our party from the hands of Obaseki. He has been hobnobbing with the PDP. If he is a true APC member, will he be hobnobbing with the PDP? Does that not tell you clearly that the man’s sole intention is to destroy the APC? We will not allow him to destroy the APC. If he wants to go, let him go, then we start to rebuild our party.

Idahosa said that if Obaseki is forced to leave, the APC will collapse in Edo…

Does he have the capacity? I dare the governor to defect and see if the party will not be restored.

Has the EPM got a governorship candidate?

That is not our intention yet. Our intention is to rescue the APC. To do that, we have said we will not allow Obaseki and others to destroy the APC in Edo. We have to rescue our party, rebuild it and ensure that a person who is a politician that understands the needs and aspiration of our people becomes the next governor of Edo State. I challenge Obaseki to name the people that asked him for money. Let him tell the world who demanded money.

Idahosa has called for Oshiomhole’s resignation for embarrassing Edo people and losing five states…

Is he the one that put him there? Who is he to ask Oshiomhole to resign?

Do you people give any consideration to Obaseki’s achievements in the state?

A governor is supposed to build on the legacies of his predecessor in office. What has he done to improve on the legacies of Oshiomhole? I give you instances: the water storm project has been abandoned. There is a water fountain at King Square. What happened to the street lights in Benin? He was forced to open the new hospital. Did he buy any equipment in the hospital that is functioning now? All these things were done with taxpayers’ money. What has happened to the Tayo Akpata University of Education? What happened to the College of Agriculture? Do you think we will stand by and be happy?

Many of you have become Abuja-based politicians since Oshiomhole became the National Chairman of the Party…

Wherever we are, we have our influences in our domain. Do they really know who are the people supporting the EPM? The ones they call Abuja people are less than one per cent of the membership of the EPM.

Are you aware that the NURTW, NULGE, NLC, TUC, CAN all pledged support for Obaseki?

Are you not aware it was a paid support? It was arranged by Obaseki and his people.

Was there any move to settle this crisis before now?

From day one, Obaseki shut the government against the party and the people. He believed that he cannot negotiate with us. He believes he cannot be told what to do. He thinks he knows it all. He forgot that you cannot be a governor without a political platform. This is the problem.

Why is it that every aggrieved Edo politician now runs to Abuja to start insulting Obaseki?

Is Oshiomhole doling out appointments? I am in Abuja and I don’t work for anybody. I work for myself. I am not working in Oshiomhole’s office. He is my leader. I am a professional lawyer. Once the governor does the right thing, we don’t have any problem with him. We don’t know what he is afraid of.

What is the right thing you are talking about?

It is for him to issue a proper proclamation and have the House inaugurated. We don’t care who becomes what. He cannot allow the minority to rule over the majority. If we allows that, it means the APC is not a democratic party.

But before the House of Assembly crisis, the EPM had listed its grievances against Obaseki…

We have made that clear that he has destroyed the party. A fresh proclamation will satisfy a large number of persons. All the 24 APC members will be satisfied. It will mean that he is beginning to listen to the voice of the people.

If the proclamation is issued, will you still be agitating for Obaseki’s replacement?

The issue of Obaseki’s replacement had been on before the Assembly crisis. You know a remorseful man when you see one. If we see a change in him, no problem. All we want is to make sure he delivers on our promises. If he fails today, it is the party that will take the brunt.

But the Edo APC is happy with Governor Obaseki…

It is not the state executive that constitutes the party. The real owners are the people. Obaseki should put the Assembly in place and we begin to talk from than point.

There are talks in Obaseki’s camp that Oshiomhole is the one who should be grateful to the governor. What is your take on this?

That is laughable. Oshiomhole employed Obaseki for eight years. It is Obaseki that owes Oshiomhole gratitude. Obaseki could not have won the councillorship election. During the primaries, Obaseki could not have voted for himself, because he was not a member of the APC. There was no how Obaseki could have defeated Odubu and other aspirants if not for Oshiomhole’s support. He had never voted in Edo State before 2016. He did not know the number of wards in the state. Obaseki should be grateful to Oshiomhole and not the other way round.

Source The Nation Newspaper
Via Naija Center
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