By Jethro Ibileke
Four factional aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State, have throw their weight behind the newly constituted Senator Ahmad Lawan’s reconciliation committee set up by the National Working Committee of the party.
They made this known on Thursday while addressing journalists in Benin, Edo State.
The four aspirants, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd) and Mr. Pius Odubu, are in the camp loyal to the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole.
They lamented that the party has been “embroiled in needless crisis arising from the deliberate alienation of party leaders and members from the government the party worked hard to install.”
This is even as they commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Working Committee “for the various peace initiatives they have instituted but which have surprisingly been rejected by the governor of Edo State who has even gone ahead to institute court actions to stop these peace initiatives.”
Former Deputy Governor of the State, Dr. Pius Odubu, who read a speech on behalf of other aspirants, said they had made efforts at restoring sanity to the polity, but that “it appears that as we inch closer to the elections, the apprehension in the land is on the increase.”
He said: “We the APC aspirants for Edo State 2020 gubernatorial election in consultation with other critical stakeholders state unequivocally that we wholeheartedly welcome the urgent intervention of the newly constituted Senator Ahmad Lawan’s reconciliation committee for the party.
“We are prepared with our memoranda for presentation to the committee and we urge every genuine stakeholder of the party to cooperate with the committee.
“We collectively desire a party that is stable, virile and viable for us to realise our individual and collective aspirations so as to provide effective, efficient and productive leadership for our dear state.
“We believe and quite rightly too, that the attempt to close the political space and shut the doors against potential contestants for the office of the governor of Edo State by the incumbent Governor, is antithetical to the established norms of democracy. We must all be allowed to subject ourselves to the democratic process without let or hindrance.”
The APC aspirants reiterated their unalloyed support for and confidence in Oshiomhole and President Muhammadu Buhari, for their insistence on party supremacy.
They also gave assurance of full compliance with party directives, even as they reminded “our brother, Governor Obaseki that in democracy, everyone, no matter how highly placed, must be subject to party laws and rules.”
Anselm Ojezua-led faction of the party had in a statement on Tuesday, did not only blamed Oshiomhole, for the crisis rocking the party in the state, but also rejected the reconciliation committee set up by the national leadership of the party.
The statement declared that Oshiomhole has no legal authority to function in office as National Chairman of the party, adding that he “has been suspended as a member of the party by his people in Ward 10 of Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State.”
The statement reads: “It cannot be overemphasized that having been validly suspended as a member of the party by his ward, all actions and steps taken by him as National Chairman are in jeopardy with the likelihood of grave consequences for the party.
“Rather than heed the advice of his people, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has persisted in his arrogance and impunity. He has continued to make pronouncements and take actions which have further aggravated divisions within the Party, thereby moving it towards the precipice.
“The problems which now threatens the very existence of the APC in Edo State started with the conduct of primaries to elective offices in 2018.
In accordance with the resolution passed by the National Executive Committee of the Party, the leadership of the party in the State adopted the indirect mode of primaries but Oshiomhole decreed that it must be done by direct primaries. However, to avoid rancour and acrimony which have the capacity to heat up the polity and being sensitive to the fact that Comrade Oshiomhole is from Edo State, we complied.
“Having failed to discredit the Governor at the polls the same individuals resorted to a campaign of calumny and infamy against him, his Deputy and top government functionaries, deploying very raw and uncouth language in a sustained media blitz while showering praises on the National Chairman on each of those occasions leaving no one in doubt as to whose interest they were serving. They also held very well publicized meetings, using the APC logo in their publications.
“The Edo APC further called on President Muhammadu Buhari, National Executive Committee of the APC and other leaders of the party to rise up to the occasion to avert a looming danger in the state.
“Our understanding of the decision of the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress on the issue of setting up the Reconciliation Committee is that it ought to be set up directly by President Muhammadu Buhari in his capacity as leader of the Party, as Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the National Working Committee are currently embroiled in most of the disputes across the country and their actions and inactions resulted in most of such disputes,” he said.