As the political battle between Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and Adams Oshiomhole, chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), continues to deepen, some political forces in the ruling APC who are not comfortable with Oshiomhole’s alleged dictatorial leadership style have joined forces with the governor.
The forces, according to credible sources, consist of federal lawmakers and ex-ministers, who have had brush with Oshiomhole in less than one year of his assuming office as national chairman.
One of our sources said the governors elected on the platform of APC may have also decided to align with Obaseki after reports emerged that Oshiomhole is plotting to use his position as national chairman of the party to deny him a second term ticket.
He confirmed that the governors, who were led by Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, met President Muhammadu Buhari last week and sought his interference in the crisis rocking the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, especially between Oshiomhole and Senator Lawan Shuaibu, Deputy National Chairman (North).
He added that aside the governors, some ex-ministers, who have also had altercations with Oshiomhole in the course of his duty are rallying against him. Notable among them is Chris Ngige, former Minister of Labour and Employment, who also had a brush with Oshiomhole on the composition of the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
Federal lawmakers who are also plotting Oshiomhole’s exit are Senators Ibikunle Amosun, former governor of Ogun State, who currently represents Ogun Central and Rochas Okorocha, who represents Imo West.
“The governors and other concerned stakeholders in the party are worried about developments in the party as regards the national chairman who is perceived as having belligerent attitude. They believe there is a need to have a new national chairman who will be firm but will be less combative in his dealings with party members.
“Aside the public spat between the national chairman and his deputy, Shuaibu, and the brickbats between him and his predecessor, Chief John Oyegun, the recent media reports of a rift between Oshiomhole and his successor in Edo, Godwin Obaseki, may have necessitated the meeting of the governors with the President last week”.
He also added that the party may be forced to convene a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting where the issues will be discussed.
“The issue of whether Oshiomhole should continue in office or take a bow will be the primary issue when the NEC meets”, he said.
In a related development, Prince Tony Momoh, a former Minister of Information, said there is no political crisis between Obaseki and Oshiomhole, adding that what is playing out in Edo State is just struggle for power.
Momoh, who is one of the national leaders of APC, also said the political crisis rocking Edo State House of Assembly is an internal affair of the House and should not be attributed either to Oshiomhole or Obaseki.
“Who told you there is a problem between the governor and the national chairman? Is there no separation of powers? There are offices in the House that people who are qualified should strive for. From what we hear, some people were inaugurated while others were not. Are you saying that is a problem between the national chairman and the governor? I take it as internal affairs of the House.
“The fact is, there is a procedure for inaugurating the House. First of all, a proclamation is sent by the governor to the clerk of the House and the clerk now calls a meeting of the House and swears in the lawmakers.
“So, the time of swearing-in whether its 9p.m as people say or daytime; whether it is in the House of Assembly or outside the House, the truth is that we have two forces in Bauchi and Edo states. It is simple struggle for power. There is separation of powers in the constitution for the executive, the judiciary and the legislature”, he said.