A call has gone to the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rein in the immediate past national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole from personalising the campaign for the APC governorship candidate in Edo state, Osagie Ize -Iyamu in manners unexpected of a progressive party, Daily Times gathered.
The former chairman was accused of using the opportunity of the campaign to settle personal scores with his predecessor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Godwin Obaseki.
Raising this concern, the Director General, Progressives Governors Forum, Salihu Lukman said Oshiomhole’s action and statements at campaign grounds so far could be counter – productive and a disservice to the party and its candidate.
He said this in a statement titled “Progressive Politics – Which Way APC?”, which does not represent the view of any APC Governor or the Progressive Governors Forum.
He warned that political leaders ‘need to be moderate’, responsible and committed to progressive politics as well as demonstrating high sense of self-restraint in order to defeat reactionary and conservative politics in Nigeria.
Worried that rather than reconciling aggrieved members, Oshiomhole since relocating to Edo state, has been beating loud drums of war in a manner that suggest the Edo State Governorship election is an extension of the personal battle between the governor, Obaseki and Comrade Oshiomhole.
He noted that the APC having come out of a very difficult crisis, its leaders and members must be vigilant to ensure that its politics is not recklessly managed as to reduce it to the level of just working to win elections by all means.
He said “the APC campaign is personalised around Comrade Oshiomhole and the candidate of the party, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is an onlooker. The soundbite from the Edo APC campaign is so offensive to the point where Comrade Oshiomhole appear to be disowning almost every APC in Edo State between 2016 and now. To that extent, it simply means Comrade Oshiomhole is disowning himself, which may be why he went on his knee begging Edo people for forgiveness.
“We need to appeal to Comrade Oshiomhole to ‘calm down’. This campaign is not about his person. More importantly, we need to stress the point that part of the political vision of any progressive is that once elected into government, we commit ourselves to issues of agricultural development, jobs creation, education, health, infrastructural development, poverty eradication and rapid technological development.
“APC has ruled Edo State since the time of Comrade Oshiomhole as governor of the state. Up to today, whatever achievement Edo State experienced under Governor Obaseki, between 2016 and now, APC must own it, just like we should be able to accept some of the setbacks.
Anything Governor Obaseki is able to achieve must be credited to APC as a party. Our Edo campaign should be able raise the awareness of Edo people that had Governor Obaseki been in PDP, it would have been impossible for him to record any achievement.
“Based on the personalised way the APC Edo State campaign is being carried out, PDP all of a sudden is coming out very strongly to campaign for votes. If the Edo State APC campaign is to go ahead this way, when APC win the election who will run the affairs of the state as Governor? Is it Comrade Oshiomhole or Pastor Ize-Iyamu?
” If our party want Edo people to vote for our candidate, Pastor Ize-Iyamu must be very visible and be seen as the face of the campaign. Comrade Oshiomhole should take a backseat and play the facilitatory role our leaders play in all similar circumstances”.
Lukwan implored Oshiomhole to leave the stage for the National Campaign Council under the leadership of His Excellency, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, to assume leadership and take the necessary steps to redirect the Edo State APC campaign to have a clear progressive bearing.
“APC need to live up to its name by regulating the conducts of its leaders, especially during election campaigns. We cannot claim to be progressives and conduct ourselves in an unaccountable manner”, he said.
But a member of the dissolved National Working Committee of APC Mallam Lanre Issa – Onilu said the importance of Oshiomhole in helping the party and its candidate win the Edo pill cannot be overemphasised.
According to him, throwing tantrums at political rallies is not unexpected in during campaigns adding that the former chairman has not over stepped campaign boundaries or violated any law.
He said ” the presence of Comrade Oshiomhole at every stage of the campaign is very strategic to winning Edo”.
By Tunde Opalana, Abuja