Edo APC crisis: Why I won’t allow Obaseki create new political structures ― Oshiomhole
• Says Edo governor, deputy are political neophytes
National chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has given the reason for the ongoing power tussle between him and the Edo state governor, Adams Oshiomhole.
A rally organised to welcome an erstwhile chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Pastor Ize Iyamu into the APC in Edo state was almost aborted at the weekend in Benin city.
Speaking in a television programme, the APC chairman said Governor Obaseki’s move to create an alternative power bloc in Edo state by deliberately stripping existing party leaders of their enormous influence in the APC Edo state chapter was the genesis of the cold war between him and the Edo state governor.
Comrade Oshiomhole claimed that efforts to convince Governor Obaseki to continue to manage all shades of characters in the party has since been rebuffed by the latter.
He said: ”A political party is like a forest, in that forest you have many animals. The politician is the guy who goes into this forest, knowing fully well that all the dangerous animals are there but he is going for the antelope or the grass cutter which he wants to use to feed his family. He goes there get his antelope or grass cutter home and feast without being crashed.
“So the minimum requirement of political leadership is to be able to deal with all kinds of characters, use them to get what you want. And I said to him, you have to manage these people because for me as long as they deliver their units on the day of the election you have to manage them. In my first term election when I don’t know the politicians too well, I won Oredo, Egor, Ikpoba Okhai, we were only rigged out in Ovia and Orhiomwon in 2007.
“It is those Benin votes and the small we got from Edo North that we used to defend my mandate in court. Look at the way they humiliated Ogbemudia’s daughter for refusing to abuse me, the woman only said I cannot abuse Comrade rather as a mother I will join hands to settle the dispute between you people. But they said they don’t want settlement they want to crush. Three days later they crushed the woman by suspending her as chairman of Egor Local Government.
“ So it is a pity that they don’t know the difference between internal contestation and internal mechanism for resolving them and fighting the opposition. Killing is out of the kind of politics we practise, maiming is out of it. Now I told him Mr governor, with all the reservation people, were raising, talking about history, we convinced them to support you and it worked for you and you got elected, even if the margin of defeat was not as much as my own, but they worked for you.
“Then why do you now want to distort the system by creating a so-called new political structure, is there a structural defect? He said he will retire all the politicians but I said to him will you retire somebody you did not hire. Most of these politicians I met them in the business.
I have to go to their houses to convince them I want their support and when they give me that support I work hard to appreciate them. So if this is being foolish I want to remain foolish. As long as they work for me and Edo remain the only state in the South-South that we have APC.
“The only thing I invested in defeating PDP in Edo state is my integrity and my capacity to persuade and mobilize. Politics is a leveller, people who are detained by their ego can’t make it in politics. And I do not know any political party where you don’t have disagreement but as leaders, all you need to do is to call them and explain yourself. If it happens they are right and you are wrong, you apologize.
For me, this remains the way to go calling everybody together. Not the clapping society where you selected those who praise you to high heaven.”
The APC national chairman who dismissed the claim that he taught Governor Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shuaibu how to frustrate political godfathers further argued that the duo of Governor Obaseki and his deputy, Honourable Shuaibu have no political base having lost their polling booths in last general elections.
“I have read them on several occasions saying that I taught them all they are doing today. This is laughable because I never thought them how to lose elections. As we speak today, the governor (Obaseki) lost his ward, Local Government and senatorial district in the last Presidential election. As we speak, the governor is being represented by the PDP in his Federal constituency and senatorial district. These in my view were early morning signals about the need to change tactics., stop threatening people, saying you will crush, who are you crushing?
“But I won my entire senatorial district for Mr President and I am being represented by an APC senator and House of Representatives. Then his Deputy Philip, in Jattu where he comes from, in his polling booth where he and his family voted, Philip Shaibu lost. He lost his booth during his own governorship election in which he was standing as Deputy governorship candidate. So if he learnt from me, he should have learnt well because I never lost an election in my village.
“There is nobody in my village who can work against me because when I go home I relate to them, I am an ordinary man. You see when you have power and you don’t use it you are even more powerful. And you must know when to talk tough and when to talk softly. When I am in my village I am just like an ordinary man. I argue and play with my people. The only man that was doing PDP in my village, the youths said how can he be doing PDP but I said no, you have to persuade him to join us.
“And today that young man is one of my PAs. So he (Philip) is one of my very poor students, Kakhi is not a lesson and fighters must be tactful and strategic. No sensible man will fight people who vote for them. Those they are fighting now, some of them delivered 95 per cent of the votes in their units while they lost their own areas.”