Rally ban: Obaseki vows to deal with Oshiomhole

The crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress in Edo State took a new dimension on Wednesday when the state Governor Godwin Obaseki threatened to deal with his predecessor and the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, if he (Oshiomhole) continued to violate his order banning political rallies in the state.

Obaseki, who spoke at a meeting he had with the 18 APC local government chairmen in the state, said he would show Oshiomhole that he (Obaseki) is the governor of the state.

He said, “I am the governor of Edo State. If anyone comes to your ward or local government to do things outside what the party has agreed, I hereby authorise you to deal with that person seriously.

“We are warning the suspended national chairman. If he continues his activities in Edo State, I will show him that I am the governor of the state.

“When he was the governor, he will never tolerate a fraction of the misdemeanour and misbehaviour he is undertaking today. I have declared that if Oshiomhole comes to Edo State to say he wants to disrupt the activities of the state and the party, we will deal with him the way we know how best to do it.

“Oshiomhole stands suspended from the party. In due course, we will expel him if he does not behave. The party does not belong to him; it belongs to all of us. We are following the wish of our people.

“Our next step is to make sure we convince more people to join our party so that all of us can move this state to the next level.”

The governor regretted that the state chapter of the APC elevated Oshiomhole without knowing the kind of a person he was.

He claimed that Oshiomhole did not build the APC as there was no party structure in place when he became the governor.

He added, “This is not a party man. Look at the dump he kept the party as a secretariat. With all the resources we had, he could not support the party until the landlord evicted us.

“You are governor or chairman based on the platform that elevated you. That is why I looked for one of the most beautiful buildings along Airport Road and said this is the secretariat of the party.”

However, a former member of the House of Representatives, Pally Iriase, described Obaseki’s comments as unfortunate.

Iriase said the APC ought to be built and run on democratic principles, adding that “there is no provision for jackboot tactics” in the APC constitution.

The former lawmaker stated that receiving defectors did not amount to anti-party activities.

He said, “Ever since we left the military, we have not seen this kind of repressive administration that gags political opinion. By now, Obaseki should be pointing out to projects in my local government and several others and not this jackboot tactics.

“Obaseki has not performed; that is what he should know. In the first nine months, Obaseki earned N57bn, what he would have achieved with that amount will be obvious to the eyes and loud to the ears.

“How does growing the party and swelling its ranks become anti-party activities? We should be getting kudos. Obaseki is trying to scare people away. This jackboot democracy in Edo will not work.”

When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to Oshiomhole, Mr Simon Ebegbulem, refused to comment on the threat by the governor.

He simply told one of our correspondents that, “I have no comment.”

Written by Kamarudeen Ogundele and Sola Shittu, published on Punch Newspapers