….Oyegun inaugurates panel to douse Edo crisis
The sudden change of leadership of the Edo State House of Assembly, has plunged the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC) into confusion, writes correspondent, TITUS AKHIGBE, with agency reports.
Ever since Edo State Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Egberamwen Odubu indicated interest in contesting the governorship election come September 2016, things have not been the same between him and his Priduo enjoyed has since turned sour.
The reasons are not far-fetched. The Comrade Governor wants someone else to succeed him and not his deputy. And everything must be done to stop his (Odubu) ambition. On Saturday, April 30, 2016, things came to a head when the deputy governor and his campaign team were attacked at the secretariat of APC in Auchi by gunmen. When the smoke cleared, eight persons had been injured, including the security details in his convoy. Those injured in the attack are currently at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, (UBTH), receiving treatment.
The following day (Sunday May 1st), the campaign organization of the deputy governor addressed a press conference to tell the world of the assassination attempt on its principal. Shortly after the press conference, the state government through the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Prince Kassim Afegbua, described the allegation of an attempt on the life of Odubu as laughable.
Ever since, it has been accusation and counter accusation from both sides and the rumour of the impeding impeachment of the deputy governor thickened. On Tuesday, May 3, there was confusion in the state when the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Victor Edoror and his deputy, Bright Osayande were impeached. 16 out of 24 members signed for their impeachment. Thereafter, Elizabeth Ativie, member representing Uhunwomde constituency was made the speaker, while Justice Okonobor, member representing Igueben constituency became the deputy speaker. A member, Osaigbovo Iyoha from the camp of the deposed speaker has since joined the Ativie group, now making it 17 against 7.
However, quite a number of people believe that the leadership change of the State House of Assembly had the blessing of the comrade governor, who is said to be pushing for the impeachment of his deputy.
A popular group in the state, Edo for Good Governance (EGG) alleged that the removal of the leadership of the House is a prelude to the impeachment of the deputy governor. The group in a statement endorsed by its coordinator, Dr. John Ogbeide described the impeachment of Edo Speaker and deputy as a continuation of the plot to eliminate Odubu, who has indicated interest in the governorship ticket of the APC
His words: “It’s an open secret that all efforts to make Dr. Odubu give up resolve to vie for the ticket have failed. For the avoidance of doubt, EGG wishes to put the National leadership of APC on notice as well as alert our democracy loving President Mohammadu Buhari to call Governor Oshiomhole to order to allow democracy and one-man one-vote prevail in Edo as the party prepares for the primaries in the next four weeks”.
Ogbeide said: “Dr. Odubu is not asking for any special favour but only a level playing field to allow our party members freely choose who to carry the party flag in the September 10 election. We will resist geo-godfatherism, imposition or rigging of any sort”, adding: “we call on President Buhari to call the Edo Governor to order today before he plunges our state into avoidable bloodshed”.
Perhaps to show the governor’s anger over the resilience of Odubu to go ahead with his campaign for the governorship ticket of the ruling APC despite the clear body language of his principal, many political appointees of the governor who were present at the flag off of the deputy governor were relieved of their duties.
One of the victims of Oshiomhole’s alleged high handedness, Curtis Eghosa Ugbo, who was Senior Special Assistant on media to the governor told this reporter that his problem with the governor started when he advised him to soft pedal on showing open support for any of the aspirants seeking for the party’s gubernatorial ticket. Ugbo, a close ally of the deputy governor stated that about a week later, the governor revealed his choice as successor and thereafter started witch hunting those he perceived as not in support of his anointed aspirant.
The House of Assembly crisis worsened Thursday, May 5 when the Chief Press Secretary, (CPS) of the deposed speaker, Godwin Oriafo granted an interview to a local radio station in the state, claiming that his principal remains the Speaker of the House. It was reliably gathered that the new leadership of the House had ordered the arrest of Oriafo for claiming that Edoror, his boss remains Speaker.
In an exclusive interview with Hon. Ativie, the new Speaker of the House, she told this paper that her emergence has nothing to do with the crisis of confidence between the governor and the deputy. Her words: “Since this problem started, you would have noticed that no member of the House has spoken, adding that there is no impeachment plans against the deputy governor”.
As the battle of wits between the governor and his deputy rages, the question is: who blinks first.
Meanwhile, the Coalition of Registered Political Parties (CRPP), Edo chapter, said it would support the gubernatorial aspiration of Deputy Governor of the state, Dr Pius Odubu.
The Chairman of the group, Dr Samson Isibor, who made this known in Benin on Monday, while fielding questions from newsmen expressed worry over the intrigues and acrimony that had characterised political activities in the state, especially in the ruling APC.
He said the coalition’s support for Odubu’s aspiration was informed by the ‘injustice’ allegedly done to him by his principal.
“This time around, we are supporting the deputy governor, Dr Pius Odubu. The CRPP is going to line up behind Odubu because of the injustice done to him. We want to tell Gov. Oshiomhole that he is not God and he cannot control the destiny of human beings”, he stated.
Isibor said that the group would back the deputy governor “whether he wins or not.’’
“We are appealing to the conscience of our compatriots in APC that they should use their sense of judgment to give Odubu the wherewithal.
“If not, APC should be ready to say bye-bye to Dennis Osadebey Avenue Government House”, he said.
On why he has dropped support for Oshiomhole, he said: “So many people have been asking me questions of why am I not defending the comrade governor again. The governor is a man that does not appreciate those that helped him. He uses people and dumps them. He used me to attack Chief Tony Anenih and went behind me to beg him. Is that a principled person?
We are supporting Odubu and by the grace of God, Pius Odubu will win, no matter the intimidation or the alleged poison saga; he will win the primary election,’’ Isibor stated.
Meanwhile, in a bid to broker peace, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun on Monday inaugurated a five-member fact-finding/reconciliation committee to look into immediate and remote problems affecting the party and stakeholders in Edo State.
The five-member committee is chaired by former Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Other members are APC National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso (Vice Chairman); Senator Ndoma Egba (Member); Hajiya Fatimah Mohammed (Member) and Alhaji Ahmed Abdullahi (Member).
The Edo state APC governorship primaries is scheduled for June 18, 2016, the APC National Chairman disclosed during the inauguration.