The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has said Governor Godwin Obaseki has no right of first refusal to pick up the party’s ticket for the September governorship poll in the state.
Obaseki is battling for a second term, but a faction of the APC loyal to his immediate predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole, with whom he his locked in a fierce fight for the control of the state, is stridently opposing his bid.
Addressing journalists on the FCT High Court order suspending Oshiomhole as the APC National Chairman and its vacation by the Federal High Court, Kano, on Friday, the chairman of the faction of the party in the state loyal to the ex-governor, David Imuse, said the ticket would go to a deserving person.
“There will be no right of first refusal, no sacred cows, and no reserved slots,” Imuse said at the Benin home of Major General Charles Airhiavbere (retd.).
“Our party ticket will go to the person who is able to persuade members that he deserves their trust and confidence. We will not be harassed, bombed, intimidated or arm-twisted to give our support to any person. Enough is enough.”
He said all aspirants, “including Godwin Obaseki if he chooses to remain in the APC, will have to submit themselves to the party’s primary”.
He said there were indications that Obaseki was shopping for a party that would accept him.
Imuse said, “We wish to sound a note of warning to Godwin Obaseki and his co-travellers who are determined to destabilise our party’s cohesiveness that they will not succeed in their dastardly plans. Any person who aspires to contest the forthcoming Edo governorship election should conduct themselves appropriately as outlined in the constitution of APC.”
On Oshiomhole’s suspension, he said, “That was what Godwin Obaseki and his co-travellers set out to achieve.
“All they wanted was to denigrate the person of Oshiomhole and bring his towering political status to ridicule and contempt.
“At no time did we in the state executive get notification from ward 10 or Etsako West Local Government Area executive to the effect that Adams Oshiomhole was subjected to any disciplinary procedure. Any document claiming to have done so is a nullity.
“Nine members of the ward executive committee of ward 10 who had earlier been suspended, maliciously concocted a document from Government House at the instigation of Godwin Obaseki purporting to suspend the National Chairman of our party, an action they do not have a constitutional authority to so do.”
However, the Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie has said that Imuse is not an executive member of the Edo State chapter of the APC and has no right to make statements on behalf of the party in the state.
Osagie, in a statement, said Imuse is a product of the misadventure of Oshiomhole and his co-dissidents in the Edo Peoples Movement, a rogue body which he tried to use to factionalise the Edo APC.
In another development, Osagie berated ex-Minister of State for Works, Chris Ogiemwonyi, for his media onslaught against Obaseki.
He said Ogiemwonyi’s alleged inability to manage his private family affairs had disqualified him from his bid to govern the state.
Ogiemwonyi is a leader of the APC in the state loyal to Oshiomhole.
In a statement on Friday, Osagie claimed Ogiemwonyi’s political career was initiated by his estranged wife, Senator Stella Oduah, and was also terminated by her when she got fed up with him. He claimed such a character could not be “trusted with the mandate of a local council let alone a state like Edo with a rich and sophisticated history.”
Osagie added, “Ogiemwonyi’s political career was initiated by Stella Oduah who was then his wife. She also ended his political career by withdrawing the ministerial appointment she once nominated him to hold.
“Stella Oduah has since dumped him, bringing his brief venture into politics to an end. So, you can see that this man who cannot manage a woman and his home certainly cannot run even a local government let alone a state like Edo with all our historical and contemporary sophistication.
“Ogiemwonyi’s travail was advertised to the public during his screening at the Senate. Oduah boldly told the hollowed chamber that her name was Stella Oduah with no reference to her husband. Since he is unable to get a hold of his household, it is only evident that he won’t be able to manage the affairs of Edo State.”
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