By Jethro lbileke
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Edo State, Osagbovo Iyoha, has warned the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to stay away from Edo South Senatorial District and forget any idea of holding a political rally there.
He gave the warning on Tuesday in Benin, while reacting to the rally by Oshiomhole’s faction last Saturday in Auchi, Edo North Senatorial district of the state, at which thousands of members of the opposition PDP defected to the APC.
But, in a swift reaction, a loyalist of Oshiomhole’s faction of the party, Abdul Oroh, said Godwin Obaseki could not prevent them from holding a rally.
Iyoha who is the Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Political Matters, accused Oshiomhole of taking Obaseki’s gentleman and law-abiding disposition for granted and perpetrate lawlessness.
He noted that Oshiomhole flouted the law when he organised the rally to unleash terror on the people, because the ban on politics by the state government and the Inspector-General of Police in the state has not been lifted.
He added that Oshiomhole was not in position to resolve the crisis rocking the party in the state, as he was a party to the crisis.
According to him, “Oshiomhole is doing this because he knows that Obaseki is a gentleman and law-abiding. We know what happened when he was the Governor, where those who held political meetings without consulting him were beaten up and their property destroyed.
“We want to let the suspended national chairman know that if he has broken the law and hold rally in Edo North, he can’t do so in Edo South because we will not allow that. We had a national chairman from Edo when he was the state governor and nothing of such happened and he would not have allowed it.
“The crisis in APC continues because the man (Oshiomhole), who should be the arbiter is an interested party in the crisis. It is not hidden, we are all aware that he is the person sponsoring the Edo Peoples Movement that started the crisis. It is unfortunate that the man who supposed to uphold the constitution of the party is the one causing problem in the party.”
Iyoha, who said their faction of the party is opened to reconciliation with Oshiomhole, however, noted that a “situation where the author of the crisis was the one hand-picking his loyalists who wanted to take over the State Assembly, as reconciliation committee was what they were opposed to.
He described allegation that Governor Obaseki was begging party leaders for second term as false, adding that the Governor was in control of the party in the state.
But in a swift reaction, a member of the EPM and former Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Abdul Oroh, said the constitution was clear about freedom of association which include the right to hold rallies.
“Obaseki cannot stop opposition to his re-election through violence. Obaseki should resort to the path of peace and reconciliation. He should make peace with leaders of the party and respect the fact that other party members have the right to express their view.
“They cannot say Oshiomhole has been suspended. We know how to suspend a member of the party. The constitution of the party is clear and Oshiomhole has been presiding over the affairs of the party,” he said.