SAN FRANCISCO, June 27, (THEWILL) – A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State and former National Vice Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Prince Austin Eweka, has spoken against the godfather role being played by the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in Edo State.
Speaking in a chat with journalists on Thursday, Eweka decried Oshiomhole’s overbearing posture, noting that even though he didn’t get the support of his senatorial district in 2008 to contest for governor, he enjoyed popular support from Edo South.
According to him, “Edo South was a propelling force for Oshiomhole to become governor. Even in his own senatorial district in Edo North, he didn’t get the support he got from Edo South. The court judgement revealed how one of the traditional rulers in Edo North transformed his palace into a polling centre to work against the emergence of Oshiomhole. In 2008 and 2012 during his re-election as governor, Oshiomhole got massive support from Edo South.”
On the national chairman’s alleged interference in Governor Godwin Obaseki’s administration, he said, “In 2015/2016, when we were approaching the gubernatorial election, the leadership of the party ought to have sat down to assess candidates aspiring for the position of governor, but Oshiomhole took it upon himself with absolute disregard to the leadership, to say it was either Obaseki or nobody else.
“Some of us objected on the ground that even if it will be Obaseki or someone else, the leadership of the party should have a say in it. The way Oshiomhole planned it ab initio, he wanted to create an impression on the candidate that there was no other leader apart from him. Oshiomhole never wanted Obaseki to know or recognise other leaders in the party because he wanted to crown himself the supreme leader. We can’t have a supreme leader in Edo State because we have leaders. That is what is affecting the party today in Edo,” he added.
The chieftain said though the party won the 2016 election, efforts were not made to assuage leaders in the party to ensure enduring peace among all interest groups, blaming Oshiomhole for the issues that arose therefrom.
He said, “Oshiomhole went ahead to constitute a caucus of his own with a number of us sidelined. He was holding meetings in his house. We knew that structure was going to collapse anyway and today it has collapsed.”
He insisted that the national chairman cannot turn around to say he does not want Obaseki as governor, stressing, “We want Obaseki because we voted for him. He is the governor of the state and the party’s constitution is very clear on the leadership with the governor of the state as the leader. He sits and presides over meetings when we sit down to discuss party matters. We have other former governors; we all sit down to discuss. Nobody appointed or elected anyone to the position of a supreme leader in Edo State APC.”
Noting that Edo South would not give up their rights for others, he said, “The Edo South people will not give up their political rights to people in the minority. We will decide what we want for ourselves. Godwin Obaseki will run his full term as we will support, defend and protect him to run for a second term. The same eight years others did, he will get. No individual will tell us who will be our governor. He has delivered the dividends of democracy to the people of Edo State and he is going to do more.
“Oshiomhole destroyed the leadership structure of the party before Obaseki became governor so that the governor will see him as the only leader of the party, and that is why we have problems now.”
He said “Oshiomhole knows the role we all played for him to be governor and he cannot come back to become another godfather. It is not going to happen. Godfatherism has been banished in Edo State and Oshiomhole is the chief architect of the movement.”
He said the leaders of APC in Edo South will convene a meeting soon to take a position on the issues surrounding the inauguration of the State House of Assembly, noting, “All those members-elect who go to Abuja should know that Edo does not have an assembly in Abuja.
“They are not going to get help from there. Their help lies in the hands of their leaders in their respective constituencies. The earlier they retrace their steps and come back home to meet their leaders and resolve whatever issues they have with the leadership of the state assembly, the better for them. Nobody in Abuja voted for them and no leader in Abuja can change what has been done as the assembly has been inaugurated.”