Edo State All Progressives Congress, APC, alleged on Monday that Governor Godwin Obaseki was training militia groups in the state.
The party, which also said Governor Obaseki was responsible for the violent political atmosphere being experienced in the state at present, also accused the governor of creating crisis and maiming APC leaders due to his desperate ambition for a second term.
In a statement by the State Secretary of APC, Lawrence Okah, the party said: “Recently, the state government sent people to bomb my residence. The same thing happened at the residence of Chief Inegbeneki.
“Obaseki has gone to recruit militia at Okada under the guise of security outfit. But today they have all been armed to kill APC leaders. When the National Chairman was in Benin to attend a burial, he sent thugs to the airport to stop him from entering the state.
“They went and blocked his residence with trailers belonging to Edo State Waste Management Board.
“Those who have observed the politics of Edo State over the years will certainly see the administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki as one full of mischief when it accused Oshiomhole of perpetrating lawlessness in the state.
“Oshiomhole was governor for eight years in Edo State and at no time did we experience this sort of internal wrangling, maiming, mayhem, harassment and attacks against APC members in Edo State until the coming of Obaseki as governor.
“Oshiomhole used his oratorical prowess, power of persuasion and performance in office to achieve his second term endorsement from leaders of the party in the state. But today, Obaseki is applying intimidation, thuggery, threats and violence to coerce APC leaders across the 18 local government areas of the state to give him a second term ticket.
“This is a shame and it is very embarrassing to Edo APC that gave him the opportunity in the first place to become governor against all odds.”
Continuing, the APC scribe said Obaseki inaugurated an illegal House of Assembly.
According to him, “it is on record that on June 18, 2019, Governor Obaseki masterminded the illegal inauguration of Edo State House of Assembly with nine members in a 24-member House in a bid to foist Frank Okiye as Speaker of the House.
“The illegal inauguration was conducted at 9:30p.m. as if the House was a secret cult, depriving members-elect and their loved ones the privilege of celebrating their victory at the polls and subsequent inauguration.
“Out of the nine members, the state government abducted three members-elect and drove them to the House, where they were forced to take an oath of office. After the illegal action, other members who were not invited for the illegal inauguration went to a hotel to hold a meeting.
“Thugs, led by the governor’s Chief Security Officer, went to attack them. The lawmakers were beaten up and bloody cuts were inflicted on them. That was how these elected lawmakers fled the state to seek refuge in Abuja.
“As law-abiding citizens, they petitioned the National Assembly and, after investigations by the House of Representatives and the Senate, the National Assembly ordered Governor Obaseki to issue a fresh proclamation letter so that a proper inauguration of the House would be done.
“Rather than obey the institution of the National Assembly, Governor Obaseki and his cohorts poured abuses on the leadership of the National Assembly and ran to court to get an injunction stopping the National Assembly from resolving the constitutional crisis, which embroiled the House.
“Ever since, the members-elect and their families are being harassed and threatened by the Obaseki-led administration. Today, as we speak, Governor Obaseki is curiously leading the state with nine members out of 24 elected House members and he is comfortable with that illegality.”
Okah went further to list the party leaders that intervened in the matter.
He said: “Flowing from the fatherly advice of our leader, Comrade Oshiomhole, APC members preferred to correct that abnormality through the court rather than taking the laws into their hands, yet Governor Obaseki refused to allow peace to reign.
“It is on record that Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum and Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi; Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State; Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and the current Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, waded into the matter.
“After exhaustive deliberation, they informed the governor of plans to visit Benin to find a lasting solution to the problem, but Governor Obaseki informed them that he would not be around for any peace meeting. And that was how that effort collapsed.
“To further create political tension in the state, thugs loyal to the state government attacked the Benin residence of Comrade Oshiomhole on October 13, 2019. Again, the state government justified the action, querying why the APC national chair should visit the state without permission from the state government.
“On November 3, 2019, thugs loyal to the state government invaded the Iyamho residence of Comrade Oshiomhole, shortly after the maiden convocation ceremony of Edo University, Iyamho.
“On that occasion, the Deputy Governor of the state, Philip Shaibu, was seen riding on motorcycle (popularly known as Okada) with thugs. And, shortly after the incident, APC leaders were attacked at Owan West, Etsako Central, Ikpoba-Okha, Ovia South-West and Oredo, where they were holding meetings. Over 15 persons sustained injuries in these attacks.
“Governor Obaseki’s reign of terror continued on December 13, 2019, when over fifty thousand PDP leaders in Edo South senatorial district of the state, led by Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, defected to APC.
“Governor Obaseki frustrated efforts for us to hold the rally at Garrick Memorial College, Ekenwa Road, Benin City, shutting down schools in Benin City just to stop a harmless rally where we were to receive top PDP leaders into the party.
“However, his plans to frustrate it also hit the wall, as the well-attended event held at another venue. Then we begin to wonder, how on earth would an APC governor reject PDP members who gave us a tough fight in the 2016 governorship election?
“Benin City was turned to a theatre of war that very day. Armed thugs loyal to the state government took over the Benin Airport and vowed to stop the APC National Chair, Comrade Oshiomhole from entering the state.
“About 15 persons were said to have sustained gun-shot injuries, while innocent citizens of the state were made to suffer severe traffic logjam due to the bonfire they set along Airport Road.
“Again, God disgraced Governor Obaseki and his Deputy, as Oshiomhole arrived Benin City and the rally held successfully.
“On Saturday, January 25, 2020, Edo North, was agog when party members learned of the rally to receive over thirty thousand leaders of PDP, led by Abubakar Momoh, who defected to the APC. At about 2a.m. that Saturday, armed thugs, loyal to the state government, once again, razed the podium already erected for the rally. The canopies and chairs were not spared also.
“It took the determination of our members to quickly erect another podium before we could proceed with the rally. But despite the attempt to foil the rally, it was a huge success, after all. Again shame on them!”
‘Obaseki’s dinning with PDP’
“However, we want to place on record Governor Obaseki’s diabolical approach to systematically destroy APC in Edo State since he started hosting PDP leaders in the Government House and, of course, their endorsement of his second term ambition.
“First was when Governor Obaseki hosted the Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, a known PDP leader in Edo State, who endorsed him (the governor) for a second term.
“That followed the visit of Chief Tom Ikimi, another PDP leader, who equally endorsed the governor for a second term. Just recently Governor David Umahi, who claimed to be PDP during the day and APC at night, equally endorsed him for a second term.
“We are aware that the governor has been holding meetings with some PDP leaders in Edo State and PDP governors with a bid to joining the party.
“But, unfortunately, he has been rejected by the leadership of the party in Edo State due to what the opposition party leadership described as his ingratitude to his benefactor, Comrade Oshiomhole, which according to the opposition party leadership could infect the state PDP if he is allowed to join the party.
“But our plea to Governor Obaseki is that if he wants to join PDP, he can freely move out of our party, which Comrade Oshiomhole and other well-meaning leaders and members risked their lives to build in Edo.
“His desperate plans to destroy APC in Edo State will be vehemently resisted. Abusing Comrade Oshiomhole will not help him because Edo people love and appreciate Comrade Oshiomhole, who liberated them from the stranglehold of politics of primordial considerations.
“It is in recognition of his selfless sacrifice in providing a new political leadership, solid infrastructure development and accountable governance that he has been acclaimed as the undisputed father of modern Edo State.
‘He worked against Buhari’
“Governor Obaseki’s persistent attacks on our leader will not help him; rather, they will ruin him politically. This was a governor who, on the day of the presidential election, went to play golf shortly after he voted.
“That was why he lost his booth, ward, local government and senatorial district in the presidential election. We challenge him to publish his results before the public so Nigerians will know he worked against President Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential election. As we speak today, Governor Obaseki is being represented by a PDP member in the House of Reps, Hon. Ogbeide-Ihama.
“We call on the governor to turn a new leaf or remain in his cocoon at his own peril. But one thing we promise him is that, we will resist any attempt by him to destroy APC in Edo State.
“We are aware that they are visiting different courts to create a Zamfara situation in Edo State, but Governor Obaseki will fail in his unconscionable political enterprise.”
Oshiomhole orchestrating violence in Edo — Obaseki
Recall that Edo State government had berated the National Chairman of APC, Oshiomhole, accusing him of orchestrating violence in the state.
Special Adviser, Media and Communication Strategy to Governor Godwin Obaseki, in a statement Sunday, said: “On February 22, there was sudden tension in Benin metropolis which resulted in large, unruly crowds gathering in strategic points and military personnel shooting sporadically, thrusting the city into pandemonium.
“The state government later learned that the chaos resulted from the visit of the suspended National Chairman of APC, Oshiomhole, who characteristically breaches the protocol which required that when a person of public important is coming into a state, he should do the courtesy to inform government and other relevant authorities of his impending visit.
“Suffice to say that the Edo state government has absolutely no idea that a person of such status as a former governor of the state was coming.
“It is unfortunate that a former governor, who should understand basic security and protocol, standards will willfully and repeatedly violate them and cause tension and severe threat to public safety and security.
“A few months ago, when Oshiomhole caused tension in the state due to the same behaviour, we had reported formally to the Inspector-General of Police and Department of State Services, DSS, about the avoidable carnage, destruction of property and severe injuries to many persons as well as general unrest which resulted from Oshiomhole’s abuse of protocol and his penchant for crisis and violence.
“We, however, want to warn that since Oshiomhole had decided to carry on with his character of impunity, disrespect for processes and continues stirring of crisis and disruption of peace in the state, Edo State government would not be responsible when he reaps the consequences of his unruly behaviour.
“We are again calling on the Presidency and all security authorities in the country to prevail on Oshiomhole to discountenance these acts of impunity in the interest of ordinary law-abiding Edo people.
“We restate government’s resolve to preserve public safety and order and call on Edo people to eschew violence, while going about their lawful businesses.”