Edo APC At War Over Just Concluded Guber Primaries
The crisis rocking Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has taken a new dimension. This time the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Comrade Godwin Erhahon, at the weekend accused the State Chairman, Mr. Anselm Ojezua, of lying against the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, over the mutilation of the delegates’ register for the just concluded governorship primaries.
Addressing journalists in Benin, Comrade Erhahon said the state chairman lied when he alleged in an interview with a national daily that Chief Odigie-Oyegun mutilated the delegates’ register for the primaries.
According to Erhahon, the national headquarters headed by Odigie-Oyegun only resisted attempt by the state chairman and his agents to smuggle in names of selected members of the campaign organisation of their preferred aspirant into the register as replacement for those who have left the party as delegates, including party officials who were not supporting their preferred aspirant.
Erhahon said the national headquarters only acted after the State Working Committee had resolved that there should be no replacement of delegates till after the primaries and challenged Mr. Ojezua to show evidence of any meeting where the State Working Committee reversed itself on this matter.
“Rather, the state chairman substituted the State Executive Committee with the Campaign Committee of the preferred aspirant. He never discussed with the executive of the party at any level except with the said campaign organisation even after the preferred aspirant has emerged candidate and when effort ought to have been made to bring all hands on deck.
“It is no longer secret to insiders that till this moment, Mr. Ojezua is still instigating most members of the campaign organisation of the preferred aspirant, an organisation that ought to have terminated with the primaries, to refuse reconciliation with the officers whom they mischievously suspended.
“Were Chief Oyegun as petty as Mr. Ojezua, he would have dissolved the State Executive Committee since or suspended Mr. Ojezua. After all, for daring to agitate for the sanction of those who openly worked for PDP for the March 28, 2015 presidential/National Assembly elections in Esan Central Local Government Area where Mr. Ojezua hails from, the chairman of “Esan Central Ward one, Mr. Ikhine, was summarily and unconstitutionally removed by him without reference to the local government area, Senatorial district and State Working Committee of the party through which the disciplinary process of any ward officer is supposed to pass through.
“Mr. Ojezua quickly silenced those seeking sanctions of those who sabotaged voting for President Buhari because he was one of them hence he lost his unit, ward, LGA and Senatorial district at that election. And in spite of his current position, he cannot win his unit come September 10. At the time Mr. Ikhine moved for the sanction of the saboteurs Mr. Ojezua was already hustling for federal appointment from the presidency.
“Is it not ridiculous for Mr. Ojezua to have confessed in that interview that he complained to the deputy national chairman on the way the preliminaries to the Edo State governorship primaries were being handled by the National Working Committee instead of the national chairman himself who is from Edo State? The fact is that he was afraid to meet Chief Oyegun who knew all that he was doing wrong in Edo State.
“Mr. Ojezua was trying to hide the facts of how badly he has belittled the State Executive Committee of the party when he boasted that he set up a reconciliation committee soon after the primaries whereas it was the governor who set up the committee with a member of the Board of Trustees, Prince Malik Afegbua, as chairman and six members drawn mainly from the campaign organisation of their preferred aspirants who were among those who caused the grievances.
“The committee was a still-birth because most members dare not meet the aggrieved aspirants and leaders whom they offended in different ways. If Mr. Ojezua expected them to succeed, he would not have condemned the most aggrieved aspirants who they were supposed to appease as ‘mischievous’ in his interview under reference”, he said.
Erhahon also said that hostilities of the state chairman and his group were so vicious that till date they still keep malice with those who visited the Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Odubu, then the leading governorship aspirant, after some sponsored gunmen attacked his campaign rally at Auchi and shot six persons including one of his police orderly, an inspector, who lost an eye to the gun shots.
He further accused the chairman for refusing to call or visit the deputy governor till date, adding “soon after the preferred aspirant came to campaign to the state executive, the chairman refused access to other aspirants to the state secretariat to campaign. How then would the National Working Committee have allowed nomination form to be sold at the state secretariat that had been declared a no-go- area to other aspirants?
“It is instructive to state here that till now, neither the governor nor the state chairman has discussed their preference of an aspirant with the national chairman who hails from Edo State.
“Nor have they mentioned it to Prince Tony Momoh, another national leader of the party who hails from Edo State. The state chairman never discussed it with the State Executive Committee either. Rather, they wanted everybody to obey the governor’s preference as law without questioning. You can see how they misled Mr. Obaseki and made more enemies for him within his party”, he declared.
Meanwhile, Ojezua while reacting to Erhahon’s allegations said he will be belittling himself and his position by joining issues with him on the affairs of the state exco.
According to him, “I could have only reacted if the accusation had come from the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun or Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi or Kenneth Imansuangbon, definitely not Erhahon’s statement because Erhahon is too inconsequential when we are talking of Edo politics.”