UPDATE: Obaseki quits APC, says Oshiomhole scared of educated persons
Governor Godwin Obaseki has announced his decision to dump the All Progressive Congress (APC) and is now poised to join the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Tribune Online reports that Obaseki disclosed this on Tuesday to State House correspondents who approached him on his way from the president’s office in Abuja.
Obaseki recalled that after his disqualification to contest the primaries he had already stated his intention to consult with “the leadership,” his supporters and then, inform the president of any decision.
“I’m just here today to inform you that I have now decided formally to resign my membership of the All Progressives Congres. And having done that, I will now announce in the next few days my specific line of action and what platform I will be contesting the gubernatorial election on,” he said.
He said his decision was informed by his well-publicised rift with the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, which he said culminated in his subsequent disqualification.
On why he resigned from the ruling party, he said: “I’m sure the whole country knows and is aware of what has gone on with me and the party chairman, the party leadership, which culminated in my disqualification as a gubernatorial aspirant. And upon that unfortunate decision by the chairman All Progressive Congress I have decided to go and seek my gubernatorial aspiration on another platform,” added.
Obaseki denied that there were inconsistencies in his certificate, which led to his disqualification from the APC primaries, explained that he only misplaced his original documents at the time he contested the gubernatorial election in 2016.
He said he, therefore, deposed to an affidavit over the misplacement but subsequently found the documents.
Asked about the alleged incident, Governor Obaseki explained: “Someone who hasn’t gone to school, who doesn’t have certificate himself, will not know and understand what inconsistencies in certificates are. That’s the starting point.
“What is the inconsistency? There’s no inconsistency in my certificates. The issue was in 2016 when I contested for the gubernatorial election, I could not find the originals of my certificates because I hadn’t required them for more than two decades.
“So, I deposed to an affidavit that I couldn’t find the originals. Subsequently, I found all the original copies of all my certificates and they are with me. So, I don’t understand what’s inconsistent about that?
“Maybe the inconsistency in the Youths Corps certificate where he (Oshiomhole) said my surname was missing an ‘i’ at the end. But if you look at that, it was like a cursive, it was written in a cursive manner. So, if that’s inconsistency for him, then it’s really sad that people of that quality are leading the Nigeria’s ruling party.
“For him, it was just to look for an excuse to take whatever decision he wants to take and it’s really sad that the party structure today gives him that sort of authority without checks. That is dangerous for any system or any institution. When you give authority and responsibility to people who don’t have character, people who do not have finesse, a sense of justice, then that institution is imperilled.”
Obaseki was confident that he would win the Edo State gubernatorial election on whatever party he joined, thus dismissing the claim by Comrade Oshiomhole that there was no guarantee that he could win the poll as an incumbent, “Time will tell. Let us go to the polls and Nigerians will see.”
The governor also explained that he met with governors of the PDP to share the experience with them, saying: “First, these are my brother governors who are from my subregion. Some of them have gone through a similar experience I’m going through. It’s only proper that when you have challenges of this nature you’ll go and talk to people who have gone through a similar experience for advice. That’s basically what I went to do with them.”
He expressed confidence that he has the support of the people of Edo State to return to office under any platform, adding: “I’m sure if you’ve scanned the environment, you’ve scanned the media, you’ve scanned social media, the reaction from people across the world, particularly Edos at home and in the diaspora, has for me has been unbelievable. They’ve said to me, ‘wherever you go, we go’.”
He explained that the rationale behind his decision to announce his resignation from the ruling party in the presidential villa, saying: “I’ve said that before I make a decision, I have to show respect to my President, who I adore, who for me is an epitome of incorruptibility, an epitome of order, an epitome of lawfulness.
“This is the man whom for him is what Nigeria should be all about. I think I owe him that respect to come and tell him what I have done and why I have decided to take the decision I took.”
The governor blasted the APC National Chairman for not practising what he preached as he questioned the character of the party boss when asked whether he would provide a level playing field for parties in Edo State.
He stated: “He, Adams Oshiomhole, has he? As governor Wike said, he should practise what he preaches, he has never done so. He has not provided a level playing ground even in the selection process, the disqualification process. What is the basis for disqualifying someone like Chris Ogiemwonyi?
“You are afraid of people who are educated because you didn’t go to school. You are afraid of people who have something to offer because all he knows how to offer is brigandage, crisis.
“So, for us, Nigeria has to move forward beyond some of the characters who are currently overseeing our political polity and they are scared. They are scared that when people of substance, when people who are proven when people who have succeeded in other aspects of life come into politics, they will be history.
“For me, this fight is not about grabbing political power, it’s not about me, it’s not about trying to prove a sense of importance, no. It’s for us, 21 years into this Republic, democracy must mature, but as democracy is maturing, we now need to begin to show that politics cannot and should not be the preserve of a certain character of people.
“People of accomplishment, people of knowledge, people of character must also be accommodated in the political space. You don’t have to be a ruffian to be a politician, you don’t have to be a brigand to be a politician, you don’t have to be a thief to be a politician.”