Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has blamed the differences in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state on some fifth columnists, who had left the opposition People Democratic Party (PDP).
Speaking while playing host to members of the fact-finding and reconciliation committee of the All Progressives Congress for Edo State, led by Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, at the Government House, Benin City, on Thursday, Oshiomhole said, that 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 dont 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.
They are now the ones, having benefitted 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, Oshiomhole noted that the party in the state had enemies within, who were 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 the APC, while actually working in futility, hoping that they can discredit the APC, so that their own party that we have grounded, dismantled and wrested can hopefully be revived.
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 wont 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 gave an assurance of a free APC primary in the state, saying that 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 the APC than the President?
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 god-father to impose and decree a particular direction.
Oshiomhole used the occasion to take a swipe at the PDP governors in the South-South who, at their recent meeting, in Delta State, said the PDP would win the gubernatorial election in the state.
Oshiomhole said: I read a newspaper report that PDP governors in the South-South met in Asaba to say that they were strategising on how to win Edo. And I looked at those who were talking. If I contest election in Delta, I will defeat Okowa. If he tries it and we amend the law, I will go and contest election in Delta, I will defeat Okowa. My pedigree speaks for me. I am not a radio-manufactured or newspaper-created activist. I can communicate vertically and horizontally. My power is not money. Its the power to persuade. They are very lucky, but we are waiting for them. This is not the place you destroy the card reader.
If I defeated them when they had control of the military, I will leave them to wallow in their dreams. If I were to contest with any of them with or without card reader, I will defeat them.
The Chairman of the APC fact-finding and reconciliation team, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, said that they were in the state with a specific mandate to bring the great APC family in Edo State together once again.
He said: Reports from Edo State chapter of our party in the last few weeks have not exactly been edifying. When you came, you gave every Edo man a reason to believe, once again, in participatory democracy as the best form of government. You brought peace, you brought development, and you brought understanding across all divides. Unfortunately, the last few weeks appear to be undoing what has taken so much energy, commitment and sacrifice to put in place in the last eight years.
We are here, therefore, because our party believes that darkness must not fall on this state once again. Every Nigerian looks up to us as the alternative to the crisis-prone opposition party.