The feud between the Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki and the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, has continued to escalate as the governor said his predecessor, had no money when he contested the governorship election in 2007.
Oshiomhole, a former president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), who ran under the then Action Congress (AC) had lost to Oserheimen Osunbor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), before the Court of Appeal sitting in Akure declared him the winner after over one year.
Speaking with reporters after submitting his nomination and expression of interest forms for the 2020 governorship election to Emma Ibediro, APC national organising secretary, on Wednesday, Obaseki said it is wrong for people to say he betrayed Oshiomhole.
The governor said he not only helped Oshiomhole into power but also made sacrifices to ensure he emerged national chairman of the ruling party.
“In life, everybody gets helped, everybody gets assisted. The person you talked about (Oshiomhole), he had no money when he left labour to contest. We knew what we did to make him Governor,” he said.
“I sacrificed eight years of my life pro bono, I collected no kobo to serve him in Edo. Today, we know what we have built because of where we started from. So, when you talk of betrayal, the biggest betrayal can be when people betray a cause, when they betray an idea.
“So, when you talk about betrayal, let us be very clear. I want to put it on record that I am grateful, he assisted me just as I assisted him. I know the sacrifices we made to make him national chairman.”
Obaseki, who has been having a running battle with Oshiomhole, warned the APC national chairman to steer clear of the Edo governorship primary election. The governor said Oshiomhole is “an interested party” and should not be involved in the primary election processes so as to ensure a free election and a chance to reconcile the party.
“I am using this opportunity to call on Comrade Oshiomhole to recuse himself from the Edo nomination process because he is an interested party,” Obaseki said.
“It is against natural justice for a man to be a judge in his own case. So I think the honourable thing to do is to recuse himself and let us have a free process and let us reconcile and build our party.
“I believe that ours is a lawful party and we will do things according to the Constitution of our party. So, direct or indirect, I am certain I will win the primaries but we have to respect our constitution and follow our constitution.”
He added that a single term as governor is not enough for him but that an additional four years wouldn’t afford him the opportunity to consolidate on his achievements.
“Three years is not enough, four years is not enough to crystalize all these reforms. So, another four years will give me that opportunity to consolidate on what we have done and that is the promise of APC. We are a reformist party, we are a progressive party,” he said.
“That is why I am here today to indicate my interest and my desire to run for another term as governor of Edo so that I can continue in the service of my people.”
The primary, which has been concluded to be direct mode, is slated for June 22, 2020. Obaseki will be slugging it out with Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, his PDP rival in 2016, for the governorship ticket of the APC.
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