A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Major General Charles Airhiavbere (rtd), has faulted the endorsement of ex-Governor Adams Oshiomhole by the South-south caucus of the party for the national chairmanship position.
He said Oshiomhole is not an alternative to Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
Airhiavbere, who spoke on the division in the South-south chapter of the APC over the choice of Odigie-Oyegun and Oshiomhole for the APC chairmanship position, said the latter remains the best candidate given how he has been able to keep the ruling party together despite all the challenges it has faced after winning the 2015 presidential election.
He maintained that Oshiomhole as a former governor does not mean that he is going to make a good party chairman because he has not been tested.
According to him, Odigie-Oyegun is not only a former governor as well, but a retired permanent secretary and has proven his worth given the way he brought his experience to bear in running the ruling party.
He added that what is playing out ahead of the APC national convention is an awful way to reward Odigie-Oyegun after all he has done to stabilise the party and called on APC stakeholders in Edo State to rally round and support him for a second term, so that he can consolidate on his achievements.
His words: â€œThe division in South-South is normal and I believe that if there is healthy competition, it means APC is still very vibrant and it is a party to beat. But, Oshiomhole is not an alternative to Odigie-Oyegun. That is the truth and that is my stand.
â€œIf there is anything, I want my voice to be heard on this issue. Oshiomhole is not an alternative to Odigie-Oyegun if the APC national chairman is going to come from Edo State. He is not an alternative because we know the contribution of everybody to the party. So, my take is let Odigie-Oyegun remain.
â€œWhy I said so is that Odigie-Oyegun has put the APC together despite all the challenges the party had faced after winning the 2015 elections. And overtime, because of the security situation and challenges of emergency of terrorism, there has been the need to stabilise the polity and so far so good, Odigie-Oyegun has delivered.â€
On the tribal politics he alluded to, Airhiavbere said: â€œNow, there is a convention coming up; this is the first time an Edo South person is there and it is tribal politics they are playing in Edo State. And tribal politics will definitely destroy the polity in the state.
â€œWith all the records of Odigie-Oyegun, we found out that he retired as a permanent secretary almost 30 years ago and he has brought his weight to the APC. That is not the way to reward him for all that he has done, especially from his own enclave, from his own state.
â€œHow can they say all of us endorsed somebody? Not all of us. Some of us are leaders and we were not consulted.Â And I will not succumb to the fact that Edo State APC has endorsed Oshiomhole? I am not one of them.â€