By Eric Elezuo
In a space of one week, the expected unexpected has happened in Edo All Progressives Congress (APC), just as the intrigues that have been playing out in the past 12 months climaxed. It was the macabre dance of superiority between the immediate past governor of the state, now chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and his godson and incumbent governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.
The crises came to an abrupt end Friday after series of anti-climax when Obaseki expected pitched tent with the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The governor had on Wednesday declared his resignation from the ruling APC following his disqualification from contesting the party’s primary election by the Screening Committee led by Professor Jonathan Ayuba. His offence, according to the committee was the presence of discrepancies in his tendered certificates. These however, were the same certificates he used in 2016, and was cleared by the same party.
Obaseki had refused to appeal his disqualification, saying he was sure that nothing good will out of it. And through to his words, a day later, the Appeal Committee upheld the screening committee’s verdict even without the governor appealing. That singular effort tended towards proving that Obaseki was right when he said he would not get justice. In a twist of fate, however, on the same day that Obaseki resigned from the APC, an Appeal Court sanctioned the suspension of Oshiomhole. A move that would have given Obaseki a breather. But the govenor was not looking back anymore. He had already had audience with prominent PDP stalwarts including Governors Nyesom Wike, Udom Emmanuel Aminu Tambuwal of Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Sokoto states as well as the party chairman, Prince Secondus.
Obaseki, after picking the party membership card, did not leave anyone in doubt as to where he was heading as he told whoever cared to listen that he automatically becomes the PDP leader in the state following his defection.
“I automatically become the leader of this party. I want to assure all of you (that) I am prepared to provide leadership.
“I am prepared to provide leadership that will lead this party to victory. I am prepared to provide leadership that will not only put PDP into office in Edo State but as a ruling party in Edo State, we will make sure that the level of progress, growth and participation in the political system and our people is unrivalled in this country.
“I am very happy to be here. With the reception I have received since I drove in here has been ecstatic. The energy I see in this party is the kind of energy I require to take Edo to the level we should go to next.”
Obaseki’s defection with his deputy, Philip Shuaibu and all the party structures in the state could mean no more PDP in principle as his men from APC will technically fill even the already filled vacuum. However, structure must have been agreed upon before the eventual defection. But if not well handle could transfer the APC implosion to PDP.
A lot of people has however said that what treatment that befell Oshiomhole is well deserved. The firebrand chairman reportedly mismanaged the party, stepping on toes at will and running affairs like a garrison commander.
It could be said in the coming days, may be years that Oshiomhole was the brain behind the collapse of APC as the Director-General of the Governors’ Forum has insinuated if the worst could happen. A cursory look at Rivers, Zamfara, Bayelsa and even Imo states will explain the level of high handedness and arm twisting that brought the loss of the states. Imo however, was given through a controversial Supreme Court judgement.
With about jostling for the chairmanship of the party, the coming days will determined the future of Oshiomhole and the APC in Edo State in particular. And of course, it doesn’t look good.