- Obaseki’s faction declares event illegal
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Efforts to resolve the crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC) have suffered a setback as a faction of the Edo State chapter of the party believed to be loyal to the National Chairman of the party, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, has opened a new secretariat.
The secretariat, which is less than two kilometres from the old secretariat of the party was opened with fanfare and attended by party leaders and members.
They were led by two governorship aspirants and former deputy governor of the state, Hon Pius Odubu and Saturday Uwalekhue.
However, the leadership of the faction loyal to Governor Godwin Obaseki, led by Mr. Anselm Ojezua, yesterday dismissed the event, saying it remains the legally recognised leadership of the party and its secretariat is the only recognised APC state secretariat in Edo.
Spokesperson of the faction loyal to Oshiomhole, Mr. Chris Azebanmwan, told journalists yesterday that Col. David Imuse (rtd.) is the acting chairman of the party as Ojezua had been removed.
This, he said, was confirmed when it was Imuse that attended the last NEC meeting of the party as Edo State chairman and that he was also there when the state chairmen visited President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said: “After we removed Anselm Ojezua in November last year, armed thugs took over the secretariat in their thinking that we want to eject Ojezua from the office, but we know that no Edo citizen’s blood is worth the political ambition of anybody because we were aware that all of those things they were doing was in furtherance of Mr. Governor’s second term ambition.
“So we decided that at the end of the day the building does not make the secretariat. If the national secretariat of our party wants to get in touch with our party in Edo State, they will get in touch with us wherever we are located. It was fortunate that the campaign office of Mr. President for his second term was available so we decided to adopt that place as our operational base.”
When contacted, the Publicity Secretary of the faction loyal to Obaseki, Pastor Joseph Osagiede, said: “I am not aware of any other state secretariat. That is not allowed by law. Our party does not allow for two secretariats so that is illegal.”
Meanwhile, the Deputy National Chairman of the party, Mr. Lawal Shuaibu, has lamented that the structure of the party has become weak and urged the leadership of the party to reposition it.
The National Chairman of the party, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, had on Tuesday announced that in the spirit of reconciliation that the National Working Committee (NWC) had lifted the ban placed on Shuaibu and the Vice National Chairman, North-west, Mr. Inuwa Abdulkadir.
But Shuaibu while addressing journalists yesterday at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, which he had stayed off for almost a year, said he was never suspended, but rather stayed away from the party to avoid picking up unnecessary fights.
According to him, the structures of the party as a result of the inability of the leadership to reposition the party have become very weak from wards to the national.
He said: “Nobody suspended me; it was just a fight that I wanted to avoid. I don’t want to continue the fight and that was why I kept quiet. All I wanted to do was to raise my hand before the market burns because by the time the market goes aflame everybody may be consumed.
“All I have said in that letter have all come to pass. It is wrong to say that the war is over because, to me, there was no war in the first place. My letter to Oshiomhole was very personal to either save the party or allow it to collapse. I told him to come back to the track and if he cannot do it, let him leave because some of us have suffered to build this party.”
According to him, in the spirit of reconciliation, whatever happened in the past should be left in the past because there was nothing anybody can do when Oshiomhole said he has extended the olive branch.