National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has advised members of the APC in Edo State to continue to support the Governor, Godwin Obaseki to enable him to focus on providing and delivering dividends of democracy to Edo people in the interest of the party and Edo State.
Oshiomhole, a foremost leader of the APC in Edo, made the call at a meeting of party leaders at his Iyamho residence over the weekend.
Our source who was in attendance said the former governor spoke to about 300 party leaders drawn from the three senatorial districts of Edo State.
The leaders who consist of past political office holders, past and present House of Assembly members, House of Representatives, past and present Senators, were in Iyamho to pay a courtesy visit to the National Chairman.
While addressing the leaders, Oshiomhole told them not to allow the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) “which has been cut to size in Edo state for their incompetence and bad governance during their time in government, to benefit from any form of crisis within the APC.”
The former Labour leader advised them to remain united and supportive of the administration of Obaseki, who he said is doing well “even if there is space for improvement.”
He, however, did not disclose whether the governor would be given a return ticket or not, even when party leaders pressurized him to speak.
In the past few weeks tension has heightened in Edo state with different groups for and against Governor Obaseki meeting and granting press conferences.
The social media platforms have also been flooded with opinions, write-ups, and news from those in support and against Obaseki.
The division is over the second term bid of the incumbent governor in light of moves to ensure a new occupant in Osadebey’s avenue, the seat of power in the state.
This comes amid a rumored rift between the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Governor Obaseki.
Even though Obaseki and his predecessor have kept mute over the rumored cold war between them, their supporters ahead of the 2020 battle for the governorship ticket continue to sound the political battle cry, fueling strong speculation that Oshiomhole may have severed ties with his successor.
Checks by our correspondent also show that the party is divided as some EXCO members are now dumping Oshiomhole to queue behind Obaseki, and vice versa.
But Obaseki had upon his return from a foreign trip denied any rift between him and his godfather while imploring the people to focus on his achievements.
The governor who rode on the back of Oshiomole against the initial stance of many APC leaders has been accused of sidelining APC members and leaders in governance.
Though Obaseki has always denied this stating that he was under pressure to release state funds for sharing, the other group has stated otherwise.
They accused the governor of bringing corrupt people from Lagos, Delta, and other states to dictate who gets what, when and how in Edo.
A former Chief Press Secretary to the governor has also challenged Obaseki to publish a list of contracts awarded in his 31 months in power. John Mayaki through his page has accused the governor of incompetence and corruption “thereby increasing the unemployment and under-employment rate in Edo since he came into power.”
He accused the governor of plunging the state into debt with Edo now the second most indebted state in Nigeria, “while there was nothing on ground to justify such huge and borrowing.”
He also accused the governor of nepotism, stifling the House of Assembly members and importing appointees from outside Edo mixed with elitist circle who had no feeling for the people of the state.
Also not left out is the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, whom he accused of awarding all contracts for renovations of schools in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area to himself using his twin brother as a front.
As at press time, Edo State Government or their aides are yet to reply several allegations of corruptions, nepotism and favoritism leveled against them by the foremost journalist and former Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mayaki.
Efforts to reach Mr. Crusoe Osagie, Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy to the governor, were unsuccessful. He had neither returned the calls nor replied text messages sent to his phone, as at press time.
Contacted, however, Simeon Ebegbulem, Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Oshiomhole, denied any prior knowledge of the meeting. Asked if his principal would likely support Obaseki for a second term, the CPS simply said, “I can’t answer that at the moment.”