* Don’t drag Benin monarch into politics, party’s faction replies
Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The factional Publicity Secretary of the Edo State Chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Joseph Osagiede, who owes his loyalty to Governor Godwin Obaseki, yesterday, accused the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole of working against the wish of the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, for allegedly habouring members of the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM) in Abuja
Pastor Osagiede made the allegation after taking inventory of items in his office in Benin City, which was vacated by the factional Publicity Secretary of Oshiomhole Group, Mr. Chris Azevbamwan,
Osagiede was optimistic that the crisis rocking the state chapter of the party would soon come to an end as members of the EPM are reaching out to the Obaseki faction for possible comeback to the fold.
He noted that this would serve as a lesson to Oshiomhole never to go against the wishes of the Oba, who led traditional rulers to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on the APC’s crisis in Edo State.
According to him, “the Oba’s wish is a command that there should be peace about this political imbroglio. But Adams Oshiomhole is working against the wish of the Oba by habouring these breakaway elements who led the group that formed EPM. We are all aware that recently the Oba had a meeting with the Edo Traditional Council and announced that we should go into prayers and fasting to avert calamity this year because of this ongoing political crisis in the state.
“Any wise leader, any wise political chairman, that knows that he is directly responsible for all this political crisis should take a cue from such statement of the Oba, come home, and meet the governor and go with him to meet the Oba and say ‘baba, we have reconciled and we do not want crisis in Edo State.’ This is how to know a son that is well brought up.”
Osagiede said the party had no confidence in the reconciliation committee earlier set up by Oshiomhole to wade into the crisis rocking the party because of alleged vested interest.
“We have always said that we are willing and ready for reconciliation but you see you cannot be constituting a reconciliation body when you are an interested party in that issue. We expect a neural body, for instance the Presidency or Benin Traditional Council, can setup a committee for reconciliation. It is not for us to say we want to reconcile when we are the aggrieved party and that is why we rejected the committee that was set up by Adams Oshiomhole because most of the members have vested interest in the issues.
“For instance, it was the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives that presided over the decision to take over Edo State House of Assembly. Now, he is a member of that committee to reconcile aggrieved members. How can we have confidence in him? If you want to reconcile warring factions, you must come with clean hands,” Osagiede said.
THISDAY asked him how the Obaseki’s faction would be dealing with Oshiomhole when party primaries begin. His reply: “Even in submitting names of candidates to INEC, you go through a process and that process is what we call the congresses. And if through the primaries any candidate emerges, it is that candidate name that will be submitted by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.”
Reacting to Osagiede’s accusation, Azebamwan said that it was unfortunate that drowning men are trying to drag the revered name of the Oba of Benin into politics, stressing: “Osagiede is the first person to drag the name of the Oba into politics.”
He explained that following the crisis in the state chapter of APC, the Oba went to see President Muhammadu Buhari to ask him to intervene and restore peace.
“In deference to the Oba, the President directed the party machinery to intervene and the party set up the Governor Abdulahi Ganduje Reconciliation Committee, but Obaseki rejected the committee.
“Again, another reconciliation committee headed by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, was set up to mediate, but it was rejected.
“What do they want to do? Do they want to set up their own committee to reconcile themselves? Osagiede in an attempt to play the script of his paymaster should be warned not to drag the revered name of the Oba of Benin into politics.”