Worried by the crisis rocking the ruling All Peopls Congress, APC in Edo state in the last three weeks, the National Working Committee of the party recently sent a fact-finding mission to see the stakeholders and the state Governor Adams Oshiomhole, on the way forward.
The mission led by a former PDP National secretary and former Governor o Osun state Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola came, saw and concluded its job last week, satisfied that problem was not beyond the party.
Before going further suffice a look into how it all began. Early in the year the governor has told APC leaders at a meeting in his office that he has picked a successor in Mr Godwin Obaseki, his adviser on economy. He said his choice of Obaseki was informed that his advise which has seen Edo becoming string economical over the years. Yet Edo has over 80 percent of its youths unemployed while its Senior citizens are denied their pensions.
When it dawned on the governor that his decision was not going to go down well with the party, he reversed gear and promised a free and fair primaries in a race with 20 aspirants from the APC alone. Yet the governor had reportedly told his deputy, Dr Pius Odubu, who is an aspirant in 2013 after his re-election that he had no plans to impose a successor on Edo state.
When his deputy went on a campaign meeting with party delegates at Auchi, the headquarters of the governor’s home local government recently gunmen fired shots at him and wounded several of his aides. Odubu as it were informed the National secretariat of the party as he did the inspector-general of Police. Obaseki was to follow days later with an alarm that gunmen attacked him at Sobe, in the same Edo North where the deputy governor was attacked.
This was the scenario when the Oyinlola mission came calling last week as a bewildered governor later confessed, the differences in the All Progressives Congress in the state was the work of those he called, “ fifth columnists”, who left the opposition PDP but do not wish the APC well.
Speaking while playing host to members of the mission at the Government House, Benin City, Governor Oshiomhole said, “Things have been blown out of proportion certainly, but also, the hallmark of a free association is the freedom of contestation. The fact that people feel free to speak their minds, they are not afraid of sanction, there is no godfather to impose and decree a particular direction.”
He said it was decampees from the PDP like Oyinlola who is a decampee that are causing crisis in Edo APC:”these are the people that I, along with other leaders of the party, rehabilitated. Having neutralised their own machine, they jumped out of the boat so that they don’t sink with the boat that we had sunk. They jumped out, and because we thought, they were decent people, we brought them to our own boat that was sailing, and even put them on the plane to fly 50,000 feet above PDP sea level”.
He said, “They are now the ones, having benefited from our labour, from our industry and our accomplishments and having neutralised their vehicle, they jumped out to enter our own, they are the ones using the most uncouth, violent and even vulgar language to describe my person. Each time they make a statement, I believe the secretariat should check carefully both published, spoken and in fact printed words, they always say that unless the Comrade wants to return this state to PDP. They always end with that conclusion. This state cannot return to PDP.”
While thanking the national secretariat of the APC for sending the peace committee to the State, Governor Oshiomhole noted that the party in Edo State has enemies within who are worse than those in the opposition party.
“The truth is this might be the wish of our enemies: enemies from within and enemies from without. The more dangerous enemies are those who even purport to have joined the APC, but their soul is in the PDP. By their choice of language and style and tactics, it is clear that they wish to be in APC while actually working in futility, hoping that they can discredit APC so that their own party that we have grounded, dismantled and wrested can hopefully be revived”.
Among the APC gubernatorial aspirants who came in from the PDP and were warmly received by Governor Oshiomhole who assured them that there is no discrimination over membership in terms of when one joined the APC and no hierarchy in the party as all are equal as members are Mr Ken Imansuagbon, General Charles Airhiavbere rtd, Senator Oserhiemehn Osunbor and Mr Chris Ogiemwonyi.
Are these the aspirants the governor was referring to as those who are causing crisis in the APC?
However at an enlarged stakeholders’ meeting for the reconciliation of the members of the All Progressives Party (APC) in Edo State with Governor Adams Oshiomhole, his deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu, gubernatorial aspirants, executive members of the party, and all critical stakeholders of the party across Edo State present, Prince Oyinlola said, “The happenings within our party for the last two, three weeks especially has attracted screaming headlines in newspapers that the national headquarters got worried and decided to put up this committee so that we can interact with all the stakeholders so that we can profer solutions to whatever problems are confronting our party.”
He said Governor Oshiomhole’s achievements has surpassed those of his predecessors, “We have interacted with so many stakeholders since we came. And one thing that can lead us to peace contrary to my opinion and believe was that our Comrade Governor’s performance has surpassed that of other holders of office before him. My belief until I came was that nobody had done anything to surpass the achievements of Samuel Ogbemudia. That was my belief, and when I said so, and I kept hearing from all stakeholders that nobody has done what Comrade has done in this state. and I asked the question, ‘you mean his achievement has surpassed that of Ogbemudia?’ They told me that it was Ogbemudia himself that said so. And that gladdened my heart. If we have a performing Governor who has done so much credit to our party, why then do we not want to continue with this kind or this trend of achievement by making sure that we go into battle united and deliver Edo State to APC. It is the only state that is under our control in the South-South zone, and it is an open secret that some of the governments in other states of the South-South have gone to do meeting on how to wrestle power from us in Edo State. Our good Lord will not allow that to happen.”
He called for a level playing ground in the party in order to secure victory for the party in the forthcoming governorship election: “That is the reason why we are here. And I want to say we have interacted with the aspirants, and I can say, as a guideline to the interaction to the follow up, they came up with what they believe is needed to be done for us to move successfully. All of them are talking about level playing ground, and I said, yes, there is no any other sensor that we have on ground both from the Governor and from the National Chairman of the party; we must allow a level playing ground. So, be rest assured that that is what is going to happen”.
“APC is in government at the national level. It was because of one singular event, and that was the convention we had in Lagos that brought out our candidate. Nigerians were amazed that there could be such a transparent convention, and a rancour-free one that would produce a candidate. We won the hearts and minds of the people of Nigeria through that, and that is why we will not do otherwise, than to continue in the same trend, so that the change mantra will become the watchword, the one to emulate in the political arena.”
He added, “And what we are about to do here is just to ice the cake, cross the ‘t’s and dot the ‘I’s so that our report will be complete, I want to beg of us. God forbid we should not lose election in Edo State. it is not a pleasant thing to be in the opposition. That is why I want to plead with our leadership that we must be able to resolve our differences. Ours is a fact-finding committee, which is to resolve problems that we may have identified.”
Edo State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Barr. Anslem Ojiezua said that the Oyinlola mission was to bring peace to the party, “They have requested that after those meetings, they want to meet with you. That is why we have invited all of you here. They have come to Edo State in search of peace. So, on this note, I want to welcome you, Mr. Chairman and your distinguished members. I believe at this stage, you have a fair idea of the situation in Edo State. I am also very happy that a member of your team in making his comments has observed that things are not as bad as they seem, and that in matters like this, there is nothing without solutions.”
Oyinlola assured all aspirants that the party’s primary election in the state will be rancour-free adding that the APC won the 2015 general election because of the free and fair convention of the party which produced a candidate acceptable to all members of the party.
Oshiomhole himself conscious of his place in history assured that, “Edo State Government is stable. There is no cause for alarm. I worry about exaggerated propaganda in the media. I am very thankful for your coming. Assure Abuja that they should not worry. I promised myself I will finish stronger. If God has enabled me for seven and half years, he won’t abandon me for the remaining six months. Be assured of my commitment to this party, the democratic values to fight this battle regardless of who wins, and be assured of my commitment to support the national secretariat.”
He assured of free APC primary election for the gubernatorial ticket in the state, saying “the APC Primary will be transparent. Our President went through a transparent primary in Lagos. So if our President went through a transparent primary, who is bigger in APC than the President,” he asked.

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