…Says Oshiomhole greatest betrayer
…Denies plan defection to PDP
…Odubu, Ogiemwonyi to battle Obaseki, Iyamu for ticket
Tunde Opalana, Abuja
The open confrontation between the Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole ahead of the June 22 governorship primary in the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday reached a crescendo as the governor asked the APC national chairman to hands – off the party primary in the interest of peace.
The governor who was ready for any mode of primary election adopted by APC leadership, said he is confident of winning the primary and picking the party’s ticket.
Obaseki who was at the APC national secretariat to submit his expression of interest and nomination form also denied any plan to contest on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should he lost out of the APC primary.
The governor said he has done enough to toe the path of peace with Comrade Oshiomhole but will want the national chairman to also allow peace in the state chapter of APC by stearing clear of the governorship primary
He said “I am actively pursuing peace, actively pursuing harmony in our party, particularly at home and I believe there will be peace. However, I am using this opportunity to call on Comrade Oshiomhole to recluse himself from the Edo nomination process because he is an interested party.
“It is against natural justice for a man to be a judge in his own case. So I think the honourable thing to do is to recluse himself and let us have a free process and let us reconcile and build our party”.
Obaseki insisted that he never wronged his predecessor who gave him support while seeking office in 2016 but rather, it was Oshiomhole that betrayed him.
“In life everybody get helped, everybody get assisted. The person you talked about had no money when he left labour to contest. We knew what we did to make him Governor. I sacrificed eight years of my life pro -bono, I collected to no kobo to serve him in Edo.
“Today we know what we have built because of where we started from. So when you talk of betrayal, the biggest betrayal can be when people betray a cause, when they betray an idea. That is the greatest betrayal of all. It is like betraying God.
” When you said to God, this is what I stand for and then God gives you power then you turn around and do the exact opposite. There is no greater betrayal than that.
“So when you talk about betrayal let us be very clear. I want to put it on record that I am grateful, he assisted me just as I assisted him. I know the sacrifices we made to make him National Chairman. So what are we talking about?”.
The governor cleared the air on allegation of obtaining PDP nomination form by proxy, stressing that he is a committed progressive and staunch party man who cannot bend his political ideals.
He said “It is very absurd. I am someone that is very exposed. How can I collect forms from two parties when we have rulings in past disqualifying people on that. I am a party man to the core. APC is my party because I come from a progressive political family.
I believe in the ideals of APC, I believe in our President, I believe in what he stands for. So I am a party man to the core. I am not an old styed politician. I represent a new direction of politics that is based on facts and truth not lies”.
On why he deserves a second term, Obaseki said ” three years is not enough, four years is not enough to crystalize all these reforms and we have all witnesses in Nigerian to have genuine reforms truncated. So, another four years will give me that opportunity to consolidate on what we have done and that is a promise of APC.
“We are a reformist party, we are a progressive party. That’s why I’m here today to indicate my interest and my desire to run for another term as governors of Edo so that I can continue in the service of my people”.
Another aspirant who returned nomination form on Wednesday, Chris Ogiemwonyi, a former Works minister said his major priority as governor of Edo state is to tackle the degenerating level of security in the state by setting aside bulk of resources for security.
Ogiemwonyi promised Edo people increased employment opportunities, adequate healthcare provision and harnessing of abundant mineral resources.
Also,a former Speaker of the state legislatute, Mathew Iduoriyekemwen opted for indirect mode of primary for the governorship ticket.
He said indirect primary is most logical in the context of the prevalent coronavirus pandemic.
At the end of deadline for submission of form on Wednesday, four other aspirants are set to contest the APC ticket with the incumbent governor, Gowin Obaseki.
In the race are; one time Secretary to Edo State government and 2016 governorship candidate of the PDP, Pastor Osagie Ize – Iyamu, former Works minister, Chris Ogiemwonyi, former deputy governor of the state, Pius Odubu and a former Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Mathew Iduoriyekemwen.