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2019: Edo APC battling with defection

Published by The Nation on Thu, 23 Aug 2018


Edo State All Progressives Congress (APC) has been hit by a gale of defections. Correspondent OSAGIE OTABOR examines the challenge of reconciliation in the chapter.There is an uneasy calm in the ruling All Progressives Congress in Edo State. The party leadership has been rattled by the gale of defections that has hit the party in the last two weeks. Many party leaders who have grudges with Governor Godwin Obasekis style of governance and lack of political patronage are gradually leaving the APC. There are fears that the defection may cause implosion in Edo APC.Besides, aggrieved APC chieftains and some political appointees, especially commissioners, are also not happy with Obaseki. To many of them, they are just overseeing ministries while Special Advisers are given more privileges and recognition.During last years celebration of Obasekis one year anniversary, APC members openly demanded for stomach infrastructure. In fact, many of them walked away when Obaseki mounted the podium to speak.Obaseki had made a bold statement when he came to power that he would separate politics from governance. He told APC leaders that the Government House was not a bank and a place to discuss or settle party matters. He also barred politicians from entering Government House without invitation. One of the reasons the former Deputy Woman of the APC, Mrs. Tina Agbarha, gave for defecting to the PDP was that she cannot see the Governor.Those that have defected included Chief Osamede Adun, popularly known as Bob Izua, a former member of the House of Representatives, Harrison Omagbon and his wife, Lucy and immediate past Chairman of Ovia Northeast Local Government Area.The defectors who are members of the Edo Kwankwasiyan Movement did not wait for the reconciliation proposed by former Governor Adams Oshiomhole. Omagbon however, said Oshiomhole tried to reconcile aggrieved members, but that things became worst as hard as Oshiomhole tried.The former council boss said some persons were bent on destroying the APC, which was why she returned to her former party.She said: I dont have anything against the person of Adams Oshiomhole. It has happened. He has so many issues to concern himself with. He has tried to do his best in reconciling every one in Edo. The more he tries, but the moment he leaves, the worst it becomes.Self respect matters a lot in politics. We got to the APC but we discovered that what we were subjected to was unimaginable.We were marginalised and did not know what was happening in the scheme of things. We did not know what was happening in various wards and local government. I didnt have answers to my people on what was happening.In June, a chieftain of the APC in Uhunmwode and former Political Adviser to Oshiomhole, Mr. Charles Idahosa, made the first move by announcing his suspension of further participation in APC activities. Idahosa in a statement he said, he was not dumping the APC, but take a break in order to carry out a deeper surgical analysis from a detached point of view.Idahosa noted that the facts that informed the actions of the Edo APC in recent times were strange to him and that he had struggled to come to terms with those facts and the consequential actions of the party.He said: Given the present state of affairs, I have decided to suspend active political partisan participation in the state. I believe the period will afford me the opportunity to seek an enlightened perspective of the issues, consult widely for clarifications where need be and take more informed position on the politics of Edo state.For every decision, there are consequences and possibilities. Yet, when a dog begins to bark at its owner, the dog owner should strut around in caution. That is the sobering epiphany of the present time.Idahosa later rescinded his decision after intervention by Oshiomhole. In a chat with reporters in Bnin City, the state capital, last week Idahosa, who begged aggrieved APC members not to defect, said the APC needed to work towards winning next years election now that Oshiomhole is the national chairman of the party.Idahosa said it was a shame that people are defecting from the APC when President Mohammadu Buhari is performing, adding that the solution to political problems is not defection, but reconciliation for future victory.He said: Nobody should start threatening that we want to leave because we have a lot of work to do, considering the fact that the President of this country, Muhammadu Buhari, is doing very well.Whether kings are dying or queens are mourning, Buhari is coming back as president of this country come 2019. Our son, Adams Oshiomhole, is the national chairman. What shame will it be, if he succeeds in doing all the job in 36 states of the federation and Edo State is in disarray'You cannot leave this party for anybody because it is not their property when we voted. Did you see anybodys name in the ballot paper' There is no Independent candidature here. All these things we are seeing is temporary and not enough to destroy the party.Idahosa added: I have heard all kinds of rumours that Charles Idahosa wants to leave the party. Who am I going to leave the party for when I am a founding member of this party' That we disagree does not necessary decamping and all the rest of them. This party is not owned by anybody. Nobody is bigger than the party, the party is owned by the members and the leadership.Those in government, those running the party from the secretariat are not the owners of this party and I want our people to know that the party belong to us. Those of us who started this party way back in 2004 as AD, AC, ACN, we knew what we went through to get here so we are not going to fold our arms and allow the behaviour of a few individuals to bring down the party and rubbish all the successes we have achieved over the years.The lawmaker representing Ikpoba-Okha/Egor in the House of Representatives, Hon Ehiozuwa Agbonnayima who also appealed to the aggrieved leaders not to defect, said the time of harvest is already near.Agbonnayima said the Edo APC has been infiltrated by some members of PDP who are causing trouble.His words: There are also some genuine APC members who are aggrieved. It is a matter of time.We have to let our members know that they have to be patience. The governor is working and a lot of opportunities will come. They should not leave now that harvest time is here. They have worked and sweated for the party and the food has matured.There are many job opportunities available; a lot of contracts to be awarded. The Governor has said they should wait. Oshiomhole as the National Chairman will create opportunity for Edo people.There are a lot of opportunities, especially the space filled by PDP members. APC is in government, but PDP is the one ruling. That is why they are derailing the will of progress of Mr. President. They are still doing the PDP agenda. That agenda is to pocket the money to the detriment of all Nigerians. I am appealing to them to be patient.The grouse of the aggrieved APC leaders, according to sources, include alleged abandonment by Obaseki, hijacking of the party structures in their locality, non-constitution board members in ministries and MDAs, non-payment for jobs done for previous administrations and giving jobs to people who do not pay taxes in the state.Last month, a former revenue agent to the government, Mr. Tony Kabaka, led hundreds of APC youths to speak out against Obaseki and warned him not to allow the APC loose future elections in the state because of his style of governance and policies.Kabaka said that no neglected party members would want to work for the APC.He added: Everything that the Oba of Bnin told Obaseki to do by creating jobs through good agricultural policies and neighborhood watch.Oshiomhole will only threaten to jail you but, under Obaseki, many APC leaders have been sent to prison before questions are asked.What happened in Ekiti should be an example to Obaseki. All the jobs in the state have no local contents. They are given to foreigners. If Odubu were governor, we would not have received these insults.A chieftain of the APC, who pleaded anonymity, described the gang up against Obaseki as a terrible situation. He said it is difficult to access the governor or demand for payment for the jobs they have done.According to him, Our politics is leadership driven. These leaders Obaseki is ignoring have followers. They depend on politics to survive. How do they go to their communities to ask people to vote for the APC. A lot of them are regretting not voting in Odubu or Ogiemwonyi.Obasekis supporters however, said those aggrieved are change. They said the old order of Adams Oshiomhole era cannot work in present day realities.A top government official, who asked not to be named, said Obaseki is unperturbed by the rantings of the aggrieved APC members. He explained that Oshiomhole adopted a style now being used to measure Obaseki because of the need to dismantle the opposition.The official noted that, if Oshiomhole had not succeeded in dismantling the opposition, Obaseki would not have been enjoying the present political environment.State Secretary of the APC secretary, Lawrence Okah, said the party machinery would sort the issues out, but warned that it would not be business as usual.He said: To correct things is not easy. Some people are not used to change. We will sort it out. We are working on reconciliation and harmonisation.It is difficult for people to embrace change. When there is a change in the system, people will find it a problem to enbrace that. We cannot continue with the way things were done in the past because it cannot take us anywhere. A situation where somebody will sit down somewhere and be expecting largesse without working. Enabling environment has been created and is still being created.The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Jimoh Ijegbai, said a situation where somebody thinks himself a grand commander of some youths and therefore will get free money is gone and gone forever.Look at the industrial park and the estate we are building, people are going to work there. Last year, we decided to use technology to drive collection of revenue. We have crossed the N200m mark monthly from N30m. These are monies some persons think it was their right to collect.The post 2019: Edo APC battling with defection appeared first on The Nation Nigeria.
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