With the tension generated by the political differences between the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole and the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki nearly subsided, Adibe Emenyonu, asks if both leaders would be willing to give peace a chance now
“If Obaseki was a good politician, what is expected of him is to go from leader to leader, and beg. Obaseki should not be too big to beg. Without our votes, Obaseki cannot be governor. That is the truth. That Obaseki is the governor today is because all of us came together to say we were going to vote for him.
“For your information, to tell you how hard it is to win elections in Edo State, during the last presidential election, Obaseki lost his unit, ward, local council area, his House of Representatives constituency seat and lost his Edo South Senatorial District seat even as a sitting governor.
“For me, there can only be reconciliation if the governor is humble enough to go to the critical stakeholders and beg them. It is only then we would see if we could find a place in our heart to forgive him of all his transgressions.”
Those were the words of Henry Idahagbon, a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and member, Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), a pressure group in the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress APC), working to ensure Governor Obaseki does not secure second term ticket at the party primaries coming up in June this year.
But one of the governor’s men, Charles Idahosa was still beating his chest that Obaseki’s second term ticket was not negotiable, saying there is nothing like reconciliation. He said though they (the governor and his supporters) had accepted the reconciliation committee, there is nothing to reconcile, because Oshiomhole is the problem of APC in the 36 states.
“We are waiting for the National Reconciliation Committee and ready to listen to the team. I will advise that the easiest way to solve the job of the committee is for Oshiomhole to resign or let them fire him. That will bring peace in the 36 states of the federation in the interest of the party.
“We should not expect anything good from an Oshiomhole-led national chairmanship of APC. You can see the trouble Oshiomhole has caused APC nationwide. People are protesting in APC secretariat in Abuja, and the next thing they say it is Obaseki. Everything that is not in their favour is Obaseki.”
But unknown to Idahosa, there are far-reaching moves by both Oshiomhole and Obaseki to mend fences in order to ensure peace reigns supreme in the state.
For instance, it has been gathered from reliable source that apart from the Bisi Akande-led reconciliation committee, some friends of both leaders had initiated moves to ensure Obaseki and Oshiomhole bury the hatchets
Although the terms of reconciliation is yet to be made public, it was gathered both leaders are working assiduously to end the rift in the state. And part of the ways to end the rift, an APC chieftain who refused to be mentioned, claimed some interests might be sacrificed in the reconciliation.
He said one of those that might be used as political guinea pig is the deputy governor, who might be replaced, because he was perceived as one of those who misled the governor to begin what he described as “unnecessary political battle.”
The chieftain noted that one of the reasons Oshiomhole decided to pull Shaibu, who was then in the House of Representatives was for him to guide Obaseki politically, ensure harmony in the party so that APC’s policies and programmes would continue uninterrupted for rapid development of the state.
But this was not to be as he alleged that the deputy governor and other party chieftains in the state took advantage of Obaseki’s political naivety to lure him into building a self-styled political structure and crush the existing one.
The consequences of this, the APC chieftain declared, resulted in the deriding of a few individuals and well-meaning persons, who had the courage and altruistic motives to make peace, using their political allies to insult them for having the audacity to even proffer peace.
Besides, he noted that with his personal investigation, he observed that the governor was not an ungrateful person and that most of the crises were not his original ideas but those who have personal political grievances in the past with other with opposing views, hence they took advantage of the governor’s miserly nature to push him into the crisis to make money for themselves
“That was why there is a new twist now on the intervention by President Muhammadu to mean that part of the peace deal to give Oshiomhole a soft-landing was that Obaseki should be given second term and those outside the state are now making a choice for Edo people while the erstwhile combatants are now advocates of peace and reconciliation,” he noted.
Consequently, there are feelers that Obaseki, in the name of reconciliation, might be asked to sacrifice his deputy, who has waged war for him when it mattered most?
This is because at several times, Oshiomhole had accused Shaibu as the one behind all the assaults and attacks on his person, which the deputy governor had denied, saying it was the national chairman of APC that taught them all they were doing and remained his godson.
But with the popular saying that in Nigerian politics anything goes based on permanent interest and no permanent friend, a chieftain of the party loyal to Obaseki said, “ If that is the only condition for Obaseki to get second term, I don’t see anything wrong with that.”
He alleged that the deputy governor was the one behind war the drums, which metamorphosed into a full blown theatre of a political crisis while some other government’s appointees were behind the emergence of political camps and the multiple litigations in court just to make money for themselves. According to him, if that is the price they get for misleading the governor, so be it.
He said with their actions, “Democracy began to have its stride on development with litigation taking the place of political administration and thuggery becoming the order of the day,” adding that, “and where such exists, threats, tyrannical acts, intimidation and cultism became the instruments of influencing political discourse as those, who were supposed to douse the tension and rein in the combatants became ethnic champions and political patrons/matrons.
Another ally of the governor, who also pleaded anonymity countered that Obaseki will not acquiesce to such arrangement after all Shaibu did to ensure he was not disgraced out of office. He said the governor will be doomed if he agreed to drop his deputy, because of his own ambition, adding that together they came and together they would leave.
Be that as it may, some political actors have advocated the need for peace and reconciliation, advising Oshiomhole not to foist a candidate on the state, because after all, he has just one vote.
They called on the Oshiomhole to heed the advise of Major-General Cecil Esekhaigbe, (rtd) an indigene of Edo State, who said, “Since godfatherism has been ‘destroyed’ in Edo going by Oshiomhole’s slogan, there should be no undercover help but to continue to maintain peace.
Quoting the retired General, he said, “Governor Obaseki should ignore the political jobbers around him and continue to win the hearts and minds of the people of Edo State with developments as that is the surest path to continuity in office”, adding that, “This is the time for both leaders to shed the weight of political jobbers around them, who do not wish the state well developmentally.”