Again, Obaseki, Oshiomhole Trade Tackles over Assembly Crisis

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• Governor: You’re biased, hear all the sides
• APC Chairman: You violated every process known to law

Olawale Olaleye

The last has not been heard about the feud between Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and his predecessor and National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. Both at the weekend continued to dig their heels in on accusations of wrongdoing, particularly, as it concerns the election of the state House of Assembly’s leadership.

While Obaseki accused Oshiomhole of displaying bias in the crisis rocking the Assembly by not listening to all sides in the feud, the APC national chairman said the facts of the case were staring him in the face.

Oshiomhole had fired the first shot on Friday in Abuja while playing host to the Bauchi State APC House of Assembly members at the party’s national secretariat. The APC lawmakers had gone to complain to their national chairman that only 11 members, comprising eight PDP, two APC and one New Nigeria People’s Party members, out of 31 members, elected a speaker and deputy speaker for the Assembly.

Oshiomhole said: “Unfortunately, the situation in Bauchi is also similar to the one that is happening in Edo State.

“I am ashamed to talk about it, but there is nothing to hide. We have a similar situation in Edo, where in our case we have 24/24, all of them APC. But somebody wants a particular person as Speaker, 19 out of 24 are opposed to this person.”

Responding, Obaseki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said Oshiomhole’s views on Obaseki’s alleged role in the emergence of the leadership of the Edo State House of Assembly exposed the APC chairman’s prejudice.

The statement said, “We read with utter astonishment a statement credited to the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, with respect to Governor Godwin Obaseki’s alleged role in the inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly.

“Apart from the fact that he based his conclusion on a totally false and baseless premise, we believe that he could have shown that he does not have a vested interest by simply inquiring from his friend, the governor, directly, or any official of the State Working Committee of our party as to what actually transpired.”

Continuing, Osagie claimed Oshiomhole’s “failure to satisfy the basic tenets of natural justice, which makes fair hearing from all sides of a matter mandatory, has clearly exposed his bias in this issue.

“For the avoidance of doubt, all the decisions relating to the leadership of the Edo State House of Assembly recently elected by the house were taken by the State Working Committee and leaders of the party from across the state.”

He also said, “In deference to the rule of party supremacy, which the national chairman so eloquently professes, the governor and all party members are obliged to respect the party’s decision, as we expect the national chairman to also do.”

However, in his second response on the matter, Oshiomhole, who spoke last night through APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, said, “There is no dispute about the fact that nine people were involved in it. There is no dispute about the fact that what took place, took place at 9.30pm. So what is there to listen to?

“Furthermore, there is no dispute about the fact that the proclamation was not published. The Constitution says you publish and you inform all members. So this is not something you need to do an investigation on. The facts are staring you in the face. This is not a quarrel between two people. It’s when two people are quarrelling about issues that you say, let’s investigate. The point is, was the law followed or was it not followed.”

Asked what would happen now that the Assembly had been inaugurated, Issa-Onilu said, “The processes are regulated by law. We are not talking of an amorphous society or secret cult. Now, let me ask you, if a similar thing was done in the National Assembly, would you be asking the question that since it has been done what needs to happen next?

“If a foundation is faulty, you can’t roof the building. We must emphasise that processes need to be followed. We are cleaning up our processes. Once processes are clean, outcomes don’t matter. Outcomes should reflect the will of the people. I don’t know how inauguration that violated every aspect of the law, tradition, norms and values can stand. If you fail an exam, you re-seat.

“There is no dispute about the fact that nine people were involved, some against their will to purport to have inaugurated the assembly. How is it that a governor of APC cannot allow people to vote? You carry people by 9.30pm and purport to have elected a speaker? The danger of that is that if you can do it for speakership purpose, you can also do it to make law that is unpopular.

“If as APC we condemned what happened in Bauchi, we cannot embrace what happened in Edo. It is more so, when it is the state the national chairman comes from. We cannot say the Bauchi man is PDP and on the other man in Edo is APC, we use different standards. It is imperative of APC to show leadership and uphold processes at all times. As a matter of fact, it is incumbent on the party that professes change to always uphold the law. We must show a different standard of doing things so we can send the right message by setting the right example,” Issa-Onilu added.