Deji Elumoye in Abuja
Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday condemned the disqualification of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State from seeking re-election by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) describing the action as condemnable, very unfortunate, irresponsible, reckless, and appalling.
Clark, in a statement personally signed by him entitled “Edo State APC Crisis: No Individual is Bigger than Nigeria,” while advising Obaseki to defect to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) if APC fails to upturn his disqualification also fingered the National Chairman of the party, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, as the mastermind of the exercise.
The former First Republic federal Information Commissioner declared: “I condemn, in the strongest terms, the disqualification of the incumbent Governor of Edo State, by the APC screening committee under the leadership of a Professor, Ayuba Jonathan, over alleged inconsistencies in the governor’s academic credentials.
“What the Professor Ayuba Jonathan-led APC screening committee did is a shame to the academic world, not listening or accepting the statement from the Registrar of the University of Ibadan, the country’s premier University, instead, it resorted to adopting pettiness and irregularities, to achieve a predetermined outcome. The subsequent upholding of that illegitimate decision by the APC Appeal Committee is yet another action that leaves a sour taste in the mouth.”
According to the Niger Delta leader, these developments reminded him of one of the recent warnings by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of likely crisis in Edo and Ondo states if the party primary and general election are not properly conducted, drawing inference from the crisis which took place in both Rivers and Bayelsa states where more than 20 innocent persons lost their lives during elections.
Clark advised the PDP to take advantage of the crisis if President Buhari and other party leaders fail to reverse the disqualification by inviting Obaseki to join the party as well as asking the state governor to defect to PDP.
“If the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), including Mr. President, fail to intervene in this unfortunate crisis in the Edo State, I would appeal to the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), to take advantage of the situation.
I repeat, PDP, should take advantage of this unfortunate crisis in APC, to adopt the incumbent Governor of APC, Governor Godwin Obaseki, as their candidate. It is a golden opportunity for the PDP to take over Edo State because Governor Obaseki has so far, done well. I want to believe that he will continue the good work if given a second chance. I also appeal to the people of Edo all over the world to support him to achieve his second term bid, and to PDP aspirants to also sink their interest for now in the overall interest of their Edo State”.