…Urges President Buhari to take firm stand on Edo crisis
A former publicity secretary of the deeply embattled ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in Edo State, Godwin Erhahon has suggested that only the intervention of the president as leader of the party could save the crisis-torn the party in the state. Erhahon who noted that it was a big challenge on the national leadership of the party, particularly the National Assembly, not to have been able to resolve the issue of Edo State House of Assembly, decried a situation whereby the state governor, Godwin Obaseki who had been locked in a bitter supremacy feud with his predecessor and national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, had spurned every attempt and intervention to resolve the political impasse. He upbraided the governor for his perceived romance with the main opposition party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Speaking in an interview with Tell, Erhahon, a journalist turned politician, recalled how a similar situation that has become intractable in the state, was easily resolved in Bauchi when the president stepped in. According to him, “the situation that happened in Edo State House of Assembly was similar to the one that happened in Bauchi State. Bauchi State is run by a PDP governor; even when the PDP governor wanted to be funny, by the time the president took a position and said look, you the majority should not sell your right, these people went back; the PDP governor now came down and cooperated with the APC majority in the House. But here in Edo State, you have an APC governor who, whenever he had crisis, he will rush to PDP to pay solidarity visit. So, if the PDP governor could obey the president and an APC governor disobeys him; you dare the president, dare the National Working Committee, you dared the Senate. It doesn’t make sense to me at all. President Buhari should be more firm; he should be able to assert his position or allow Oshiomhole to handle it the way he deems fit”.
Reacting to the belief in some quarters that Obaseki was only exhibiting the age-long trait of treachery historically associated with the family in Benin Kingdom, Erhahon argued that not all the Obasekis can be said to be that unreliable. On the contrary, he believed it was nemesis on the rampage in the party. Going down memory lane, he said “as a veteran journalist, as soon as they mentioned Godwin Obaseki, I never met him before; but I did my own survey around him. I had every reason then to say certainly not Obaseki. You know I didn’t hide my feelings and that was one of the reasons Comrade had against me”. The one-time chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo State council, who was removed as state publicity scribe of the APC for warning against replacing the then national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun with Oshiomhole, said “looking back today, I have no regret. I just laugh because I see nemesis on rampage in the party. It is nemesis that is on rampage. What Obaseki is doing to Oshiomhole now is nemesis fighting back; fighting Oshiomhole. And what is also happening to Obaseki is also nemesis that is affecting Obaseki. So, in the whole system, nemesis has become a double-edged sword that is fighting left, right and centre”. He however regretted that “at the end of the day, it is the party that is going to be the victim if not properly managed. And this is one area I would expect President Buhari to be able to take a firm stand”.
Speaking further, Erhahon said “you conducted the interview where I did my best to protect the interest of Chief Oyegun; these same people now pretending to love the governor and have held him hostage were amongst those who were ridiculing me then that I was defending Chief Oyegun. They didn’t see Chief Oyegun as a Benin man then because they were supporting Chief Tom Ikimi. Now that the arrow is pointing at them, it is the same Chief Oyegun that they now ran to. Godwin Obaseki never entered Chief Oyegun’s house throughout his period as national chairman; not for once except when he was campaigning. When he won, he never regarded Chief Oyegun as anything. So, at the end of the day, the same nemesis has used this crisis to also help Chief Oyegun. An institute is named after him. But for this crisis, will Obaseki remember that Chief Oyegun was an administrator? He wouldn’t. Most of our Benin people, they believe in following people because of the money they get”.
Erhahon was however confident that “at the end of the day, Godwin Obaseki will realize that politically, he has been on a suicide mission”. He warned that “this crisis, if he doesn’t heed to any advice, will consume him; it’s very, very obvious. And most of those who are encouraging him now; who are instigating him, would deny him immediately. It’s not because they love Obaseki; it’s because they believe that from such crisis, they can make a lot of money”.