Cracks in APC as Oshiomhole picks Obaseki to succeed him

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There are strong indications that all is not well in the All Progressives Congress (APC), Edo state chapter, Urhokpota Reporters can authoritatively report. The crack ushered into the party, comes on the heels of report that Governor Adams Oshiomhole preferred candidate, Godwin Obaseki, ahead of the September 2016 Edo state governorship election, has been largely rejected by chieftains of the party. According to the report, Oshiomhole’s decision to foist on the party Obaseki, a man without any previous political antecedent and experience, as his choice of a successor, has split the party along ethnic, religious and ideological lines.

The party chieftains are alleged to be angry over Oshiomhole’s choice because the governor had initially promised to allow a level playing field, where he would ensure that only the best and most popular candidate emerged. An Edo government house source who prefers anonymity told Urhokpota Reporters in Benin that the governor is confused on whether to stick to his decision on Obaseki or bow to pressure.

APC Chieftains query Oshiomhole over decision to handpick Godwin Obaseki, a man who is said to have links with foremost industrialist, Aliko Dangote, as the next Edo state governor APC chieftains query Oshiomhole over decision to handpick Godwin Obaseki, as the next Edo state governor.

“The governor is finding it hard to sell Godwin Obaseki not only to the party but to the electorate. Added to his dilemma is the fact that Obaseki who has no background and experience in politics, also don’t have a party structure. “There are rumours that personal interest, rather than the collective well–being of Edo people is what is instigating the governor’s actions. “Or how else can one describe what he is doing?” an aggrieved party member posed rhetorically.”

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It was gathered that Oshiomhole’s loyalists also do not agree with the governor on Obaseki. While Anselm Ojezua, Edo APC chairman denied that the governor would impose a candidate, the State Attorney – General and Commissioner for Justice, Henry Idahagbon actually confirmed the existence of one. Ojezua said in an earlier interview: “The governor would never consider handpicking a candidate when he should be playing the role of an impartial arbiter in a most sensitive issue as a candidate to succeed him. All the over 20 candidates in the race are all Oshiomhole’s favourities.” But Idahagbon speaking in an interview hours later, disclosed that the governor indeed has thrown his weight behind Godwin Obaseki, who he said as an accountant, and a technocrat has what it takes to turn Edo economy around. “People who keep saying Obaseki has no background and experience in politics easily forget that Babatunde Raji Fashola never had any experience before Bola Tinubu chose him to succeed him. “Today, can anyone actually say his choice was wrong?

Oshiomhole with due respect to the other candidates wants a man who can effectively manage the resources of the state especially in the light of current realities. He wants a man who would develop the economy to such levels, he won’t have to solely depend on Abuja for monies to run the state. “With dwindling oil prices in the world market, Oshiomhole is looking ahead to the future and ensuring that only the best man with a firm grasp of the issues succeeds him.” But Barrister Kenneth Imasuagbon, one of the favourite governorship candidates for the upcoming election, chose not to react to the rumours as he dismissed the idea of an imposition agenda. He said: “Oshiomhole has done very well and we regard him as a father. For the legacies he worked so hard to bequeath on Edo State not to be rubbished, he must work assiduously to ensure a free, fair and transparent primaries where only the best candidate would emerge,”

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Imasuagbon began in a chat in Benin. “As an apostle of “one man, one vote,” Oshiomhole must be seen to be on the side of the people as they seek to elect a new leader to oversee their affairs in the next four years.”

But when reminded that the party had already zoned the position to Edo South, Imasuagbon said: “Who zoned what to who? See, I am not an apostle of zoning or tribe. Edo is one. For me, there’s no Edo South, Central or Edo North. All I think we have is the United State of Edo. Those who fan the embers of zoning are weak politicians who want to use the tribal trick to play our people ‘419’. My position therefore is, let the better man win. No, I don’t think Oshiomhole is supporting any so–called favourite candidate. Let me tell you this, all of us APC candidates gunning for the guber ticket are all Oshimohole’s favourites.”

High profile candidates for the Edo governorship election include: Professor Julius Ihonvbere, Major Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, current deputy Pius Odubu, Lucky Imasuen, Prof. Oserhiemen Osunbor, Kenneth Imasuagbon amonsgst many others. The election will hold on September 10, 2016. Governor Adams Oshiomhole had broken his silence over his position on the choice of his successor in January. He told members of the APC, drawn from the three senatorial districts of the state that while he would ensure there are primaries, he, would not be indifferent to the choice of his successor from the lot that are jostling for the party’s gubernatorial ticket.

Oshiomhole said: “There would be primaries according to our constitution but I cannot be neutral in matters that affect my environment. May God give us a governor that will put Edo people first, that will respect the traditional institution and that will work for the unity of our people across the 192 wards.”

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