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MY RELATIONSHIP WITH OSHIOMHOLE STILL FROSTY -Gov Obaseki

ByCitizen NewsNG

Jun 2, 2020

There is no agreement between the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki on the mode of shadow poll for the choice of standard bearer for the September election.
Obaseki acknowledged that his relationship with Oshiomhole was still frosty.
He however said he was prepared to make sacrifice for peace and prevent what he described as bloodbath in the state.
National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole, who reiterated the NWC’s position in Abuja, maintained that there was no going back on the direct primary guidelines issued last week.
But, Obaseki, whose camp had suggested indirect primary, was at Aso Villa to brief President Muhammadu Buhari on his second term bid, after obtaining the nomination form from the APC national secretariat.
There was a fence-mending meeting between the APC governors rooting for Obaseki’s re-election bid and Oshiomhole but the national chairman maintained that he could not go against the NWC’s directive on the Edo primary.
APC governors’ fence mending meeting with Oshiomhole, followed a similar meeting held with the National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in Lagos on Sunday night.
APC governors’ fence mending meeting with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in Lagos on Sunday night
The governors at the meeting include Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum and Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu, Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Mohammed Inuwa (Gombe), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano) and AbdulRaham Abdulrasaki (Kwara).
After the three-hour meeting Oshiomole insisted that the Edo primary would be based on direct primary.
Direct Primary
He told reporters: “The issues of primaries are well spelt out in our constitution and we are following it as strictly as possible. So nothing to worry about at all”.
He described as mere rumour the disagreement on the format of the primary, saying: “You are speculating, I don’t have any letter or document to that effect. These are very formal matters. So, stop spreading rumours.
“We have since published our time table because under the law we are required to give INEC at least 21 days notice to monitor our primaries and to state the mode of our primaries and of course the NWC had approved direct primaries for Edo.
“We have commenced the sale of forms. I think as of last Friday to my knowledge, three people had picked the forms. I think by today more people have picked the forms. So, we’re selling forms to all those who wish to buy based on the guidelines and, of course, as the Chairman of the Progressives Governors rightly said, we have ensured in our letter to INEC and even this morning, we had a virtual meeting with INEC leadership. We will conduct primaries taking into account the protocols on Covid-19 by the PTF and NCDC. I think everything has been going fine.
On the Ondo State governorship primary, the chairman said: “That of Ondo has not been discussed because that will come much later, because Edo will come about three weeks before Ondo.”
However, Oshiomhole said Governor Rotimi Akeredolu had done well.
Bagudu said the meeting with NWC was to discuss some sundry issues with the party leadership.
“This meeting was not a continuation of yesterday’s (Lagos) meeting. The meeting was with the national leadership of our party to discuss issues between the Governor’s Forum and party leadership that will lead to the progress of our party.”
With Oshiomhole at the meeting were the Acting National Secretary Waziri Bulama, National Vice Chairman, North East Mustapha Salihu, National Vice Chairman, South West, Pastor Bankole Oluwalana National Organising Secretary, Emma Ibediro and National Woman Leader Salamatu Baiwa.
Obaseki at Villa
The governor presenting his Expression of Interest form to the president for blessing
President Buhari met behind closed door with Obaseki at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he sought for his blessing for his re-election bid.
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Obaseki said he came to formally intimate the president of his intention to seek re-election on the platform of the APC.
The governor, who presented his Expression of Interest form to the president for blessing, said:
“I came to see Mr President to formally inform him of my desire and intention to seek re-election as governor of Edo State on the platform of the APC in the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
“As a father of the country, as our president I should not just assume or take things for granted – I have to come to inform him and solicit his support in my gubernatorial bid, and the president was quiet warm and quiet welcoming.
“When I showed him my Expression of Interest form, he looked through it and teased me that he would not have to go through this again and wished me good luck and assured me of his support.’’
On the political crisis in Edo, the governor said it was being instigated from outside the state.
Obaseki also described the political misunderstanding between him and Oshiohmole as very unfortunate, saying however, that he was ready to reach a truce with aggrieved members of the APC.
He said: “It is unfortunate that he (Oshiohmole) is taking the position he has taken. I believe that he was not properly guided.
“I am his governor and it is my responsibility to seek peace for my State and with all my citizens.
“I will continue to strive for peace, I will continue to pursue peace, seek the interest of our people and I am open, that we should talk about how to move things forward.
Frosty relationship
“The relationship is still frosty but I am doing all I can to try and make it warm just for the sake of Edo people. I am committed to whatever it will take to have peace and not to lose lives in Edo, within the law, whatever I can do that is constitutional, I will do.’’
According to the governor, he has the full support of his counterparts, all the governors elected
on the platform of the APC, in line with the principles of the party, which encourages continuity.
Obaseki said the party chairman had stuck to his guns because he had been wrongly guided.
He said: “The problem in Edo is not from within Edo, it is from outside. So, the person I am competing or contesting against is not in Edo, he is Abuja.
Asked how far he was willing to go to find peace with Oshiomhole, the governor said: “Whatever I can do that is within the law, whatever I can do that is constitutional, I will do”.
Obaseki said his achievements across sectors would speak for him at the poll, adding that the people wanted him to conclude the programmes and policies initiated for their benefit.
“Well, I believe having been governor of the state for three years, you can check with Edo people whether as Governor, I have served creditably, I have served the people of Edo.
“The general consensus is that we have done well as a government and that people would like us to continue with the laudable programs and policies which we have been taking over in the last three years.
“If you recall when I got into power as governor one thing Edo was noted for was human trafficking. We had over 30,000 of Edo citizens, who were at Libya waiting to cross into Europe. Today, in less than three years we have stopped it.
“We’re celebrated globally, across the continent in terms of the reforms we’ve undertaken in basic education in this country.
“Those children, I can’t abandon them. We can’t stop what we have achieved to date. So based on that, we believe that because of a connection which we have created with our people, we have no doubt in our minds that we’ll win any elections, direct/indirect, general elections in Edo state”, he said.

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