A chieftain of All Progressives Party, APC, Charles Idahosa, in this interview, accuses the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of masterminding the crisis in Edo State chapter of APC.
What are elders like you doing to address the crisis in Edo State chapter of APC?
Idahosa: There is a problem in APC and very baffling to most of us is that the governor is a product of the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
He brought Godwin Obaseki. I knew Godwin Obaseki before Oshiomhole brought him because we attended the same school. He was my junior in secondary school. He is new in the political terrain. He was not a politician, I was Political Adviser to Adams Oshiomhole.
I was the first person Oshiomhole called to his Government House residence and told me that Godwin Obaseki would succeed him. I met Godwin Obaseki in the house of Sir Allan Omoregebe, the husband of the present Commissioner for Justice and I asked him if he was interested in politics, he did not give me a direct answer.
When Oshiomhole told me, he gave me reasons he wanted Godwin Obaseki to succeed him and I was very impressed.
Only a blind person will say Oshiomhole did not turn Edo State around because the man worked, we knew where we were coming from. I was a Commissioner in one of the previous administrations.
He gave instances when the state ran into financial problems, how he would call Obaseki and Obaseki would make his contacts and things will happen in Abuja.
In fact, he went on to say that he was the engine room, spark plug and the brain box of his administration.
Since that meeting where he told me he wanted Godwin Obaseki until this very second, he has not called me back to tell me why he does not want Godwin Obaseki again.
I was the one who had a problem with Godwin Obaseki. Immediately he came on board, he was taking on the leaders and the party. He will go to functions and say things that you will not expect him to say.
He said things like “this is not a government of sharing money, Government House is not a bank and so on.’’ They were not good statements. I went to Adams Oshiomhole and I told him I was not comfortable with the way the governor was talking and he should do something.
I told him which was very prophetic that this young man is insulting all of us and he was not saying anything.
I told him that he was encouraging him to disrespect party leaders and added that Obaseki would insult him very soon.
After that, I wrote a letter to the party secretariat that I was taking a break from the APC because I could not understand what was happening.
What they are complaining about now, I was the first person to complain. After doing that, I called a meeting of leaders from the three senatorial districts to my house.
I called two senior leaders of the party from Edo North, I called three from Edo Central and I called two from Edo South. With the exception of Rev Egharevba, the remaining left my house, they recorded all the things I discussed and went straight to Governor Obaseki.
The same people are among the those opposing Obaseki now. Obaseki took on me. He did not confront me directly but he was trying to destroy the structure of my local government area.
Oshiomhole came to Benin with the Vice President and took time off his tight schedule and came to me and said do not leave, I will look into this matter. I issued another release withdrawing the self-imposed suspension from the party.
Oshiomhole sent for me to come and see him, I did not know he was bringing Obaseki.
However, when I saw him, I thought he brought him to really know what happened and then resolve it, but he just came and said we should exchange pleasantries.
He took us to an inner room where I thought we were going to discuss, only for me to discover that it was a dining room and he said we should start eating, we did not discuss, we did not say anything. They call me names, which is what irritates me.
Obaseki did the right thing when he discovered that I was not happy and Oshiomhole failed to do what he was supposed to do, he approached the Enogie in my area where I come from.
The Enogie of Ehor played the reconciliatory role. He (Obaseki) came to my residence, I called all our leaders in Ehor, they were over 100 and he addressed us and said there was really nothing between the two of us, but that in politics, people spread rumours all the time.
As a Political Adviser to Oshiomhole, there was no battle that he fought that he is now taking credit for that I did not plan and execute with him. He would not have survived the eight years without me, especially with political wizards like Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Frank Erewele, who were ready for him.
Those people brought him but he turned them into punching bags. He has not told me what Obaseki has done but being an old politician; I do not need to be told that there is a problem between them.
However, the most annoying thing is that when you talk, the next thing they will say Obaseki has given me money. He said he is not a godfather but he single-handedly brought Obaseki, Philip Shaibu, his deputy, Ogie, the SSG, and Anselm Ojezua as the state chair of the party.
He also brought Lawrence Okah, who is the secretary of the party. Obaseki on several occasions had said I he does not have problems with Oshiomhole.
What stops Oshiomhole from saying If he has a problem with him or me not.
There is a fear that the crisis is assuming an ethnic dimension The Binis (Edo South) is a very nice and accommodating people, what is happening here in Edo cannot happen in another place.
They should not forget that the Binis made Oshiomhole governor. The first time Oshiomhole came, Edo South votes delivered him. He lost Edo North. The Binis made Professor Ambrose Alli, an Esan man the governor of defunct Bendel state when an Urobho man with their massive majority faced an Esan man, whose population was not up to seven per cent. It was the massive Benin votes that countered the Urhobo- Okumagba votes.
With what happened in the House of Assembly, people now think Obaseki has bitten more than he can chew, as he took the battle to Oshiomhole. What is your take?
Idahosa: I do not think Obaseki has bitten more than he can chew, rather I think that Oshiomhole has put his luck too far. Oshiomhole has a problem, not Obaseki and let me quickly add that if by an error of omission or commission, they push Obaseki out of APC, I say it here and now, APC will die in Edo State because the people are in love with him. If we do that, the people will revolt against us because as far as they are concerned, we are fighting Obaseki because he is not sharing money and they are happy with it. What Obaseki did in the House was it legal? yes, it was legal because I have had the opportunity to question lawyers, why are they not going to court? Obaseki’s connection with the House of Assembly is to write a proclamation and what happens after that is not his business. They were at a press conference when their colleagues took oath of office, the same thing that happened to us in 2015 when Saraki emerged as the Senate President.
We were in this state when Oshiomhole passed a budget with nine legislators and impeached the then Speaker, Zakawanu Garuba. He removed the roof of the state House of Assembly and moved the lawmakers to Government House to be sitting. What is the interest of a national chairman supervising 36 states and Abuja in what is happening in Edo? We learnt that somebody is financing them in Abuja, they will impeach Obaseki and then the Speaker will act for three months and bring whoever they want. It cannot happen here.