Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo State, has called on Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to steer clear of the party’s governorship primary in the state, scheduled to hold on 22 June.
Governor Obaseki stated this after submitting his nomination and expression of interest forms for the 2020 governorship election to Emma Ibediro, APC National Organising Secretary, on Wednesday.
According to the governor, Oshiomhole, who is his immediate predecessor, is “an interested party” and should, therefore, not be involved in the primary election processes so as to ensure a free election.
“I am using this opportunity to call on Comrade Oshiomhole to recuse 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 recuse himself and let us have a free process and let us reconcile and build our party,” the governor told journalists.
Governor Obaseki also narrated his relationship with the APC National Chairman, stating that he helped him (Oshiomhole) to emerge as governor as he had no money.
He also stated that he sacrificed eight years of his life in serving Oshiomhole in his cabinet and made sacrifices to ensure he emerged National Chairman of the ruling party.
The governor insisted that it is wrong for people to say he betrayed Oshiomhole.
He said: “In life, everybody gets helped, everybody gets assisted. The person you talked about (Oshiomhole), he 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.
“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.”
Governor Obaseki also spoke on why he was desirous of ruling the state for a second term, saying four years were not enough for him to crystallize his reforms.
“Three years is not enough, four years is not enough to crystallise all these reforms. So, another four years will give me that opportunity to consolidate on what we have done and that is the promise of the APC.
“We are a reformist party, we are a progressive party. That is why I am here today to indicate my interest and my desire to run for another term as governor of Edo, so I can continue in the service of my people,” he said.
He stated that he will get the party’s irrespective of either the direct or indirect primary mode adopted by the party’s National Working Committee.
He, however, warned that the party’s constitution must be obeyed with respect to the voting method.
“The basis of any democracy are rules; that is why the most important document in our party is our constitution. Our constitution is very detailed and it spells out clearly how we should undertake our affairs as a party.
“The constitution stipulates what mode of primaries are allowed in our party and how decisions to the type of primaries you want to run should be arrived at. It is clearly stated in our constitution, and so for me, I believe that ours is a lawful party and we will do things according to the constitution of our party.
“So, direct or indirect, I am certain I will win the primaries but we have to respect our constitution and follow its provisions.”
Governor Obaseki has been having a running battle with Oshiomhole over the control of Edo politics.
The governor will be up against Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who is believed to enjoy the support of Oshiomhole, in the Edo APC governorship primary.