Adibe Emenyonu in Benin
The crisis of confidence between Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor and National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole continues on abated. With allegations and counter allegations raging on a daily basis.
The latest being Obaseki, yesterday, accusing Oshiomhole of wanting to use Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), funds as cash cow to prosecute the governorship election in Edo State.
To realise this, the governor further accused Oshiomhole of conniving with top officials in the presidency during the period President Muhammadu Buhari was away to foist the sacked board of the NDDC, largely made up of his cronies and in violation of extant laws, on the nation.
He however, lamented the fact that the state still ranked the highest in the list of abandoned projects by the NDDC, saying this was due largely to the inherent corruption in the commission.
But the Secretary of the APC in Edo State, Mr. Lawrence Okah, has dismissed all the allegations against the former governor, saying Obaseki and his media aides were too inconsequential to lie against Oshiomhole.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communications Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, Obaseki said, “A case in point is the recent incident, when the President was away from the country and Comrade Oshiomhole got top officials at the presidency to approve the composition of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), made up of his cronies apparently in violation of the existing rules.
“Uppermost on Comrade Oshiomhole’s mind was his desire to annex the NDDC and make it a slush fund from where he expected to finance the political tension in Edo State towards possibly seizing control of the Edo State Government from Governor Obaseki.
“He did not care whether the rules were followed or the integrity of the people being appointed. All he wanted was to achieve his aim and keep Edo State under his stranglehold as the new godfather.
“Fortunately for Nigerians and Niger Delta people, our calm and methodical President, Muhammadu Buhari, has since seen through Comrade Oshiomhole’s mischief and ordered the forensic audit of the NDDC and the re-composition of the illegal board, which Comrade Oshiomhole was trying to emplace.”
Obaseki also said it had become clear that it was second nature for Comrade Oshiomhole to be dishonest, not to play by the rules and respect the authorities, making him dangerous to the survival of the APC.
Also speaking on alleged claims by Oshiomhole that he merely begged Obaseki to have just one commissioner in his cabinet as against the allegations that he was playing the role of a godfather in the state, Obaseki said the APC chair did not only pick the governor, the deputy governor and the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), he compiled the list of commissioners in his living room in 2016.
“We are once again forced to call the attention of members of the public to Comrade Oshiomhole’s ability to compulsively falsify the facts. The ease with which he lies especially, on issues that are public knowledge, underscores the content of his character and portends an existential threat to the survival of the APC and the impeccable integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is forced to continuously engage with Comrade Oshiomhole being the national chairman of his party.
“If indeed Oshiomhole appointed only Mika Amanokha to Governor Obaseki’s cabinet, why then did the former governor scream to the high heavens and embark on vitriolic media attacks against Obaseki, when the governor reshuffled his cabinet, taking out some persons, who were sabotaging the administration at the behest of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole?
“In fact, Comrade Oshiomhole compiled the list of those to be appointed commissioners in Edo in his sitting room in 2016, asides picking the governor, his deputy and the SSG.
“Comrade Oshiomhole, indeed, has not kept his dishonesty and inability to abide by due process and the provisions of the constitution to his destructive activities in Edo’s political space, he has exported it to the federal level of government, placing the presidency under undue pressure, leading them to take decisions that run foul of due process and the constitution.”
Obaseki therefore called on the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the APC to do the needful and rescue the party from imminent implosion, by setting Oshiomhole aside as the national chairman.
“Oshiomhole no longer has the support of his people, having been suspended from the party at the ward, local council and state levels. Comrade Oshiomhole also lacks the moral rectitude to continue to function in the office of the National Chairman of the APC. The earlier this is done, the better for the party and Nigerians.”
But Okah, while responding to some of the allegations, noted that it had become clear that in his desperation for a second term, Obaseki and his media aides had gone berserk, calling “Oshiomhole to the extent that even when they quarrel with their wives at home, the blame it the APC National Chairman.”
He said this was not the first time Oshiomhole would explain openly how the nomination of Commissioner came about and how he nominated just one Commissioner.
The Edo APC scribe said the Commissioner list was first compiled in 2017 and not 2016 as claimed by Crusoe, adding that Obaseki took office on November 12, 2016 and Commissioners were appointed in the first quarters of 2017, because he, Okah, was privy to all that transpired.
“I don’t know why they enjoy calling the name of the National Chairman. Even when some of them quarrel with their wives, they blame it on Oshiomhole. Oshiomhole explained openly how he nominated just one Commissioner and this is not the first time he is making this explanation.
“Crusoe Osagie who was imported from Lagos after his failed journalism career was not there, when those things were fixed, so why come in defence of Obaseki, when he was not privy to the issues. Telling lies against Oshiomhole cannot help him and his principal, rather, it will compound their problems.
“If Obaseki is bold enough, we challenge him to speak out on these issues and not through fake proxies. He should not be a coward. The position of the National Chairman of a ruling party is not a tea party and those refugees imported from outside cannot change it.
On the suspended NDDC, Okah noted that Obaseki has been squandering the resources of the state in a bid to remove Oshiomhole as National Chairman and would continued to fail just as he sponsored the war against Odubu, a fellow Bini man, because he was appointed Chairman of NDDC.
“He should be ashamed of himself, today, shamelessly celebrating the decision to overhaul the newly constituted board. That is the decision of Mr. President and not the business of Obaseki.
“Obaseki will still be there when Odubu will be re-appointed. Those who wish others evil will inherit evil on their way. Oshiomhole will remain stronger and stronger while Obaseki will become weaker and weaker. These people are too little to get the attention of the National Chairman,” Okah aid.
Meanwhile Obaseki has insisted that Edo ranked the highest on the list of abandoned NDDC projects, insisting that the commission’s defaulting contractors must be jailed.
The governor, who maintained that his administration was strongly in support of the directive by President Buhari for a forensic audit of the NDDC, said this when he received the acting Managing Director of the commission, Dr. Gbene Joi Nunieh, with other members of the Interim Management Committee (IMC), who were on a courtesy visit at the Government House in Benin City, the Edo State Capital.
Not only that, the governor also frowned at the top-to-bottom governance arrangement of the NDDC, adding that it could not develop the region and that the commission’s defaulting contractors must be jailed.
“To resolve the issue of corruption in NDDC, people must go to jail. Those who supervised and managed these contracts and every other person found culpable must be made to face the law,” he said.
Governor Obaseki, who congratulated the commission’s boss on her appointment, assured her that his administration would work with the new management to ensure it meets its goals.
“The NDDC has not been fair to Edo State as we have more abandoned projects in the state than other states. We are disappointed with the old management and board of NDDC. We insist on the forensic audit to ensure such doesn’t happen again. I hope that with the new acting MD, we would begin to do the right thing and move the region forward.
“The truth is that the governance arrangement of NDDC from top to bottom can’t develop the region. Its DNA is corruption. We see how NDDC contracts are traded and how much premium is paid on the contracts.”
Nunieh, while speaking, said the commission was in the state to inspect some of the roads and projects the NDDC listed as completed, abandoned, failed and ongoing.
“President Muhammad Buhari has ordered for a forensic audit to commence and we have gotten documents ready and the process will start in January 2020”.