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The Gang up Oshiomhole Never Anticipated

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By Osehobo Ofure

A few days ago, Edo state governor Godwin Obaseki and his weary supporters in the APC said they were ready for peace and reconciliation outside the party machinery.

They said their principal will only participate in a reconciliation committee set up by the President himself or the Benin traditional council. Mr Joseph Osagiede who spoke for the group said this much while speaking in Benin with reporters.

But Nigerians have learnt not to take the governor serious. As someone who rejected 4 Reconciliation Committees set up within the party structure there is no guarantee that he will respect a divine effort.

This was days after the governor was seen in the company of APC ward officials ostensibly mobilized from Etsako West, claiming to have expelled the National chairman of the party, Mr Adams Oshiomhole.

This anti-reconciliation move was however punctured by more authentic APC leaders from the ward, who denied making the claims credited to them.

Meanwhile the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, late last year dismissed the call from the governor for the resignation of the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, saying party supremacy must be respected.

Mr Tinubu made his position known when he fielded questions from State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House Abuja.

According to the APC national leader, Mr Oshiomhole has so far not violated the APC constitution or engaged in any anti-party activity that will warrant his resignation or removal from office.

Recall that the present Edo APC crisis kicked off when the Edo assembly of 24 members-elect was inaugurated at night with only 9 of them present. A similar episode which played out in Bauchi state has since been resolved with Oshiomhole as National chairman of the APC calling for due process.

The call from Tinubu was on the heels of a similar one by the Forum of State Chairmen of the All Progressives Congress for the recently constituted APC National Reconciliation Committee to come up with an action plan to resolve the lingering crisis in the party.

READ ALSO: ‘I Was Ashamed Seeing Obaseki Celebrating Oshiomhole’s Suspension’ – Ize-Iyamu

The chairmen had urged the committee headed by the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, to set for work and ignore the camp of the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, which had raised objection to the committee.

They said Edo as the only one out of the 36 states and Abuja, should not be allowed to frustrate peace efforts in the party since it was not ready for external mediators.

As it were the Lawan committee was the 4th in the series set up to find a way out of the Edo APC debacle largely orchestrated by the governor’s desperation for a second term.

The APC National Working Committee had on December 18 raised the 10-member committee headed by Lawan to resolve the lingering crisis in the party.

The arrangement was in line with the November 22, 2019 resolution of the party’s National Executive Committee, which empowered the President, Muhammadu Buhari, to constitute the committee.

Secretary of the Forum of APC chairmen, Dr Ben Nwoye, who is also the chairman of the Enugu State chapter of the APC, commended the Oshiomhole-led NWC for working towards achieving peace in the party.

READ ALSO: Oshiomhole: ‘ God Will See Me Through, My Travails Not From Edo’

This was after “Chairmen” of the APC in the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state loyal to Mr Obaseki in a statement jointly signed by Anselm Ojezua and Ikuenobe Anthony, respectively explained that Oshiomhole was suspended for his alleged role in the crisis rocking the state chapter of the party.

Consequent on the development, they said the Edo APC has adopted the vote of no confidence passed on Oshiomhole and the subsisting suspension order from the other organs of the party in the state.

The state party members added, “Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is the one behind the crisis in Edo APC. We have passed a vote of no confidence in him and he stands suspended from the party.

But in another statement jointly signed by the Chairman of the body and Etsako West Chairman, Ibrahim Akokia, as well as his Etsako Central and Owan West counterparts, Suleiman Bagudu and Lugard Alukpe respectively, the 18 LGA Chairmen of APC in Edo distanced themselves from the orchestrated Oshiomhole’s suspension.

They insisted that they were not aware of the meeting where a vote of no confidence was passed on Oshiomhole who they said was “doing very well”. On the contrary, they accused the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, of harassment and intimidation, adding that his actions could pull down the APC in the state.

READ ALSO: ‘Are You Looking At Me With Pity?’, Oshiomhole Asked Journalists

They, called on the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to expel Governor Obaseki from the party over allegations of anti-party activities.

He is on a mission to destroy APC in Edo State but we will resist it,” the chairmen added, “We are the chairmen of the party in the 18 LGA s and we are not aware of the meeting where a vote of no confidence was passed on the national chairman of our party, Comrade Oshiomhole who is doing very well”.

“Rather we are aware that majority of the chairmen haven suffered intimidation, harassment and assault in the hands of the Governor Godwin Obaseki led administration, what we have never seen in the politics of our dear state.”

The chairmen, thereafter, passed a vote of no confidence on Governor Obaseki and the embattled state chairman of the party, Anslem Ojezua, alleging that both men have not only failed the party but the people of the state.

“Oshiomhole remains our leader and we pass vote of confidence on his leadership. It is sad that the governor and his cohorts are using money to induce our members but majority of them, we are happy, have resisted his moves to intimidate them,” the LG chairmen said.

The Forum of state APC chairmen believes, “The formation of the National Reconciliation Committee is a welcome development. It is consistent with the resolution of the National Executive Committee. It is also an indication of clear intention by the NWC to reconcile all aggrieved members of our great party”.

They are of the view the party had shown sincerity of purpose to resolve lingering crisis by raising the committee, arguing that, “The committee members are patriotic Nigerians with diverse backgrounds and experiences”.

READ ALSO: Oshiomhole’s Suspension: Ize-Iyamu Talks Tough, Says ‘We Will Resist Attempt To Rubbish Him’

They know that the Reconciliation Committee, ” will certainly achieve the desired objectives notwithstanding the dissenting opinion of few aggrieved members. As the saying goes, in democracy ‘majority will have their way while minority will have their say.”

“So, we expect the Senator Lawan-led committee to come up with an action plan to resolve most of the internal conflicts bedevilling the party. Edo is one state out of 36 states. There is one form of crisis or the other in all the other states of the federation…”.

The general feeling is that, “Edo State would not expect the other 35 states and Abuja to set aside their desire for peaceful resolution of all crises because Edo is not ready to allow external mediators to assist them in resolving their internal crisis”.

Senator Tinubu no doubt echoed popular opinion in the APC when he said,: “We all have to respect the party supremacy. You were all here when we had the Congress, we elected the new executives, we had the convention, the NEC was formed and we surrendered to avoid conflict, to avoid domination, to avoid abuses of power, we surrendered our rights, all rights to the National Working Committee headed by Adams Oshiomhole.

“That the National Working Committee should set up electoral bodies to supervise various state congresses and elections. ‘We signed off for it. So, if it is not in our individual favour, so be it'”.

He said, “We gave three options, consensus, where there is no consensus because if you are more than two or three and you cannot agree to one candidate, you go to the next level. The next level is the stakeholders’ delegates (system) and you have to be supervised by the National Working Committee of the party, national election committee of the party. That shows party supremacy or the freest option, the less cumbersome is to open direct primary, line up and count the number, 1,2,3. If you win, you win and if you fail, go home.’’

Mr Tinubu further explained that an appeal committee was set up by the party to look into grievances arising from the conduct of the party’s primaries, adding the committee, which served as internal mechanism for conflict resolution, had performed its duties diligently.

READ ALSO: Oshiomhole’s Suspension: Ize-Iyamu Talks Tough, Says ‘We Will Resist Attempt To Rubbish Him’

“It was there (appeal committee), you cannot turn round against that, and you cannot turn against all of that. No, Party is supreme, party must be respected, abuses will not do it and anger will not do it. It is party politics, somebody will win and somebody will lose, too bad,’’ he added.

It would be recalled that Mr Oshiomhole, had earlier alleged that conservatives within the party were ganging up to pass a vote of no-confidence on him. He said in a statement that his sin was his refusal to allow continued impunity and circumvention of due process being perpetuated in some states.

The APC chairman added that he was not surprised by the gang up, as he never had the illusion that the process of reforming the party was going to be an easy one.

He also did not expect that someone he held the ladder for to climb to relevance politically in his state of origin will be at the forefront either.

Osehobo Ofure, a seasoned journalist writes from Benin, Edo State

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Ondo Poll: Commissioner Punches Journalist, NUJ Calls For His Indefinite Suspension

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Ondo State Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Saka Yusuf-Ogunleye, has physically assaulted a senior reporter with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), Mr Tayo Ikujuni, during the conduct of the All Progressives Congress(APC) governorship primary on Saturday.

The ugly incident occured at about 11.45 am at Eji-Oba High school, Oba-Ile, the venue of Ward 9 election in Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State.

Yusuf-Ogunleye reportedly punched the reporter, collected his cell phone and threw it away.

He ordered his political thugs to seize all the electronic gadgets belonging to the reporter.

READ ALSO: Ondo Poll: Aspirants Disagree With Committee, Fault Process, Call For Cancellation

Eyewitness account said that trouble started at about 11.45 when the reporter inquire about when the election materials arrived since they have started counting.

The commissioner shouted that “who are you. You’re a useless journalist. You’re a stupid journalist. Go away from here.”

According to Vanguard, timely intervention of some party chieftains and security personnel prevented political thugs from further attack of the reporter.

Contacted, the commissioner, Ogunleye, said that the reporter failed to produce his identity cards when he was asked.

In a swift response, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ondo State council, described the attack and physical assault on the senior journalist by the commissioner as “barbaric and unacceptable.”

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Ondo Poll: Violence Breaks Out At APC Primary In Okitipupa

A statement by the state chairman of the union, Prince Leke Adegbite said the action of the Commissioner was uncivilized, and called on Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa to immediately suspend Mr Saka Ogunleye and launch investigation into the incident.

“Ondo NUJ observes with sadness that Mr Ogunleye’s attitude to media professionals was unbecoming of a public office holder.

“We call on Mr Governor, Hon. Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa to place Mr Saka Ogunleye on indefinite suspension for his physical assault on a Senior journalist like Tayo Ikujunni while performing his constitutional roles of monitoring the APC primaries.

“We call on the Commissioner to place damaged handset of the journalist and tender unreserved apology to the victim and the media industry.

“We equally direct Media Houses and professionals to halt the coverage and activities of the Commissioner until our demands are met.”

 

 

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Delta Bloodbath: Oborevwori Assures Okuama indegenes Of Safe Return As He Visits Troubled Community

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Governor of Delta State, Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, on Saturday, visited the Okuama community of Ewu Kingdom in Ughelli South Local Government Area of the state where 17 military officers and soldiers on a peace mission to the community were killed.

This was as he assured indigenes who fled the community in the wake of the crisis of their safe return reiterating that “innocent citizens would not be made to suffer for what they know nothing about”.

It was the first time Oborevwori was visiting the troubled community after he had earlier been allegedly denied access to the community by the military last month.

The PUNCH gathered that the boat conveying the Governor and his delegation to Okuama took off from the jetty of the Nigerian Port Authority in Warri on Saturday morning.

READ ALSO: [JUST IN] Okuama Killings: Army Declares Eight Persons Wanted [FULL LIST]

In the governor’s entourage were top members of his cabinet as well as heads of security agencies in the state.

The Governor was escorted to the community by operatives of the military Joint Task Force.

It will be recalled that the Okuama community had been cordoned off by the military authorities since the March 14 tragic incident which claimed the lives of the soldiers and some civilians.

Oborevwori, during a visit to President Bola Tinubu last month, had told State House correspondents that he had not visited the community because the entire area had been deserted by residents following the military operation in the area.

READ ALSO: Okuama: Clark Blows Hot As Soldiers Invade His Country Home

Recall that on March 14, 17 military personnel including a lieutenant colonel, two majors and a captain were reportedly ambushed and gruesomely murdered around the Okuama community while on a peace mission over a disputed portion of land between Okuama, an Urhobo community and Okoloba, an Ijaw community on March 17.

Following the killing of the personnel, the Nigerian military had earlier declared eight persons including the traditional ruler of the Ewu Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, King Clement Oghenerukevwe Ikolo, Urhukpe 1 and a renowned professor and President-General of Ewu communities wanted for the killing of the soldiers.

The Ewu monarch, barely 24 hours after he was declared wanted, turned himself in to the police in Delta, but was later handed over to the military for interrogation.

After spending three weeks in a military facility in Abuja, the traditional ruler was however released in the early hours of Friday and handed over to Senator Ede Dafinone, representing Delta Central Senatorial District.

READ ALSO: Delta Killings: Military Sets To Build Barracks On Okuama As Demolition Of Houses Continues

Meanwhile, the released monarch of Ewu Kingdom, His Majesty Ovie Clement Ikolo, has applauded the three Senators from Delta State at the National Assembly for the key role they played in his release by the military.

The traditional ruler who visited Senator Ned Nwoko, representing Delta North Senatorial District in his Maitama, Abuja residence, in the company of his wife and some family members, shortly after regaining his freedom, expressed his gratitude to Senator Nwoko, stating that Nwoko not only visited the Chief of Defence Staff alongside other Delta Senators to intercede on his behalf but also visited him in his Asokoro cell.

He said, “The day you came to visit me was the day I regained my bearings. Your presence gave me hope”.

Responding, Senator Nwoko stated that he was humbled to have been instrumental in the process and grateful that the collective efforts yielded positive results.

He encouraged the king not to be discouraged by the ordeal.

Who knows what could have happened if you weren’t detained? Perhaps it was necessary to prevent something worse”, the Senator said.

Details later…

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Ondo Poll: Aspirants Disagree With Committee, Fault Process, Call For Cancellation

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As the primary of the All Progressives Congress is ongoing, some of the stakeholders in the election have been crying foul over how the election committee handled the electoral process.

The aggrieved party members alleged that the committee which was headed by the Kogi State Governor, Mr Usman Ododo, was biased in the assignment.

Ododo, who arrived in the state on Saturday morning, addressed some of the aggrieved stakeholders at the distribution centre in the Ijapo area of Akure, saying the electoral materials had been sent to the Ondo South and South-North Senatorial Districts remaining that of the Ondo Central (as at 10.30 am).

There was no issue, I just came this (Saturday) morning and I was told that the election materials have been taken to Ondo South and Ondo North Senatorial Districts, ” the committee chairman stated.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Ondo Poll: Violence Breaks Out At APC Primary In Okitipupa

But one of the aspirants, Gbenga Edema disagreed with the governor, saying no election materials were taken to anywhere.

He said, “I have been here since 6.30 am and I didn’t see any material taken out of this place. The returning officers and electoral officers of my ward, Mahin Ward 2 in Ilaje Local Government are here and unable to collect any materials.

“What we are asking for is a credible election. So, we are asking the leadership of the party to look into this. If they’re not ready for this election, they should postpone it and the right thing should be done.”

Similarly , the programme officer of the Wale Akinterinwa Campaign Organisation, Sola Arowosafe, demanded the cancellation of the whole exercise, alleging that the primary election committee was not fair with the process.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Hoodlums Storm Voting Venues Of Ondo APC Primary Election [VIDEO]

Ajisafe said, “For APC to bring Ododo to Ondo state is a low to our party and state, and position is that no primary election has taken place, no election materials have left here, and we are saying that the leadership of the party should do the needful by sending another neutral person, just like they did in Edo state to come and conduct another primary election where the good people of Ondo state will freely exercise their franchise to pick their candidate.”

“If the leadership of the party failed to do the needful, then there is a way we will react and we are going to react accordingly. If any results are announced, we are telling the leadership of the party including President Bola Tinubu that no election took place in Ondo state, and no materials were distributed for us to pick our preferred candidate.”

READ ALSO: Former Arsenal Chairman, Keswick Is Dead

The media aide to an aspirant, Chief Olusola Oke, Mr Rotimi Ogunleye, also said the committee failed to follow the guidelines of the election.

“We got here around 6:30 am, we don’t know when and where the election materials were sent out from this place to Ondo South and North senatorial districts, the truth of the matter is that there were no materials sent out.

“Why can’t they follow the due process? The national leadership of the party should call Ododo to order, they should follow the guidelines they released,” Ogunleye demanded.

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