Barely 48 hours to the New Year, more troubles seem to be coming the way of the embattled former Edo state Governor and National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; who has come under fire for rejecting Christmas gifts from Edo State Government.
The conventional Christmas presents reserved for former governors that were sent to Oshiomhole, included four cows and 10 bags of rice; but were rejected and returned to sender; prompting an Edo APC chieftain, Kabiru Adjoto, vowing to stage “a massive Oshiomhole Must Go Protest nationwide” early next year.
“I’m championing a massive Oshiomhole Must Go protest which will kick off early next year with thousands of corroborators across the 36 states of the federation,” Adjoto, told party members at his country home at Ikakumo in Igarraland in Edo. “The protest will be unabated until Oshiomhole honourably resigns before he buries the APC,” said Adjoto, the immediate past speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly.
The APC chieftain, who is currently the special adviser to Gov. Godwin Obaseki, said he would soon open “a can of worms that would seal the political fate of Oshiomhole.” According to him, the can of worms when opened, will make Edo people to stone the former Edo governor, who is currently battling his political survival in the ruling APC in Edo. “As I promised a few months ago, I’m vigorously set to open horrible can of worms that will make Edo people to stone Oshiomhole on the street as we enter the New Year.” Adjoto, however, did not disclose the `sins’ of Oshiomhole that would make the masses to rise against their former two-term governor.
The rejection of the Christmas gifts was beyond comprehension, according to a statement by Crusoe Osagie, Special Adviser to Gov. Obaseki on Media and Communications. Osagie explained that the distribution of Christmas gifts was an annual ritual by the state government which serves as an expression of love, further strengthening the ties between the government and the people. Osagie said although Obaseki and Oshiomhole were locked in a political tussle over the governor’s policy choices focused on prioritizing the peoples’ welfare as against pressures by a handful of Edo politicians to share the state’s resources; the governor had set aside the political feud to perform the ritual of sending the gifts to Oshiomhole; and expressed bitter disappointment that Oshiomhole failed the ultimate test of statesmanship by rejecting the gifts in flagrant violation of the spirit of Christmas.
Osagie also disclosed that the gifts were distributed to other government functionaries, political appointees, heads of security agencies, traditional rulers, religious leaders and heads of institutions of higher learning, among other prominent people in the society. He revealed that messengers from the state government were dispatched to deliver the gifts on Christmas Eve. “The messengers said they met the mother of the former governor who rejected the items, stating that her son would not accept the gifts. The gift items meant for Comrade Oshiomhole include four cows and ten bags of rice.”
The latest rumpus between Obaseki and Oshiomhole came after the FCT Federal High Court in Apo, granted an order restraining the reconciliation committee constituted by Oshiomhole, from acting on the activities of the Edo State chapter of the APC. Justice Sylvanus Chinedu Orji, in the ruling, also stressed that Oshiomhole has no authority to constitute the committee, as relevant organs of the party in his ward and council levels have suspended him.
The court granted: “An order of injunction restraining the 2nd Defendant, its agents, members and/or privies from purporting to act as a reconciliation committee as the 1st Defendant, who is the constituting authority has no vires to so do since he has been suspended by the Ward 10 Executive Committee of the 3rd Defendant on the 2nd day of November 2019 and ratified by the Etsako West Local Government Executive Committee on the 9th day of November, 2019 without an appeal and the seven days period for appeal having elapsed pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory injunction.”
Recall that Oshiomhole was suspended by Ward 10 executives of the APC, after which the Etsako West Council Executive Committee ratified the suspension. Subsequently, the State Executive Committee of the party in Edo State upheld his suspension from the party. Edo State is scheduled for governorships polls in August next year, in an election expected to be characterized by back-stabbing, betrayals and violence. Oshiomhole has been pitched in a tense political battle with Obaseki as the countdown to the governorship election in the state draws near; and has vowed that Obaseki will fly the flag of the APC over his dead body; hinting Obaseki might decamp to the PDP.
But Adjoto, the former Edo House speaker under Oshiomhole dismissed the speculation that Obaseki was planning to defect to the PDP, describing the speculation as baseless. “The governor will enjoy the ‘privilege of first refusal’ during the forthcoming APC governorship primaries as enjoyed by Oshiomhole in 2012,” he stated. The former speaker noted that the APC national chairman was driving himself into “irredeemable political oblivion because of sheer greed and hypocrisy.”
He stressed that Oshiomhole had played god severally by hypocritically reversing himself on principles that fetched him enormous political fortunes. “Oshiomhole became governor on the heels of fighting godfatherism and the tenets of one man, one vote. He has now turned himself into not just a godfather but an untamed emperor, who is fully out to ruin the gains of democracy. He has also at different fora ridiculed the nation’s judiciary which gave him the ladder to climb to power,” Adjoto stated.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Edo APC chapter, Anselm Ojezua, has assured party members that there is no cause for worries, despite the altercation between Obaseki and the suspended Oshiomhole, noting that no man can play God. Ojezua spoke after a meeting with party leaders in Edo North held at Jattu-Uzaire, Etsako West Local Council of Edo State. He reaffirmed that there was no division in the state’s chapter of the party.
“Whatever is happening in Edo today is not new. This is the third time. The first was between Chief Anenih, who claimed to be the leader of the party and Lucky Igbenedion, who the Constitution empowered to be the leader… The same Oshiomhole, who is claiming leadership of the party, has forgotten how he fought in the past. He said Obaseki is in charge of administration, while he controls the state’s politics since Obaseki isn’t a politician but a technocrat. But we say no. It is unfortunate that the national chairman allowed some persons to deceive him, despite knowing that the governor is the leader of the state.”