Edo 2020: OBASEKI, SHAIBU RESIGN FROM APC, OSHIOMHOLE SUSPENDED BY APPEAL COURT AS NAT. CHAIRMAN; INTRIGUES TRAIL GUBER PRIMARIES

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has officially resigned his membership from the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday, June 16th,2020.

Governor Obaseki announced this after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The announcement has come four days after he was disqualified by the Edo State APC Governorship Primary screening Committee and declared unfit to participate in the APC primary election ahead of the June 22 primary.

Announcing his formal resignation from the All Progressives Congress, APC, Governor Obaseki said: “Good news. You will recall that in my last statement, my last tweet, I said I’ll make a decision after my disqualification was announced by the APC, that I’ll make a decision after I’ve consulted with the leadership and my supporters in Edo State and after I’ve formally informed the President.

“I’m here today to inform you that I’ve now decided formally to resign my membership of the All Progressives Congress. Having done that, I’ll now announce in the next few days, my specific line of action and on which platform I’ll be contesting the gubernatorial election…

“The whole country know and is aware of what has gone on with me and the party chairman and leadership, which culminated in my disqualification as a gubernatorial aspirant and upon that unfortunate decision by the national Chairman of the APC, I’ve decided to go and seek my gubernatorial aspiration on another platform,” he declared.

In the same vein, Edo State Deputy Governor Comrade Philip Shiabu has also dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC hours after his principal, Governor Godwin Obaseki resigned.

Comrade Shaibu’s reason for resigning from the APC, was disclosed in a letter dated June 15, 2020 and addressed to Ward 11 Chairman of APC in the Etsako local government area of the state, Shaibu said his resignation was with immediate effect.

The letter reads: ‘I write in pursuant to Article 9.5 (i) of the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to formally resign my membership of the All Progressives Congress and to inform you of my formal withdrawal from all or any of its proceedings and process whatsoever.”

Another statement, issued by his Senior Special Assistant on media, Mr. Benjamin Atu, quoted the Edo State Deputy Governor as giving his reason for quitting the APC thus:

WHY I AM LEAVING APC- Shaibu

Comrade Philip Shaibu

It is with great pain that I am leaving the All Progressive Congress (APC); a party I helped and labored to build, as a result of the reckless and absolute lawlessness of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole –the suspended National Chairman of APC.

His undemocratic and dictatorial tendencies exhibited at all times, have become intolerable.

The APC has been hijacked for the personal and selfish interests of an individual, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

The height of it all was his highhandedness and intolerant conduct at the APC screening exercise.

I believe that the President of our great country will be very sad at this development but I am left with no other choice than to take my political destiny in my hands. Hence, my resignation from the party.

– Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu
Deputy Governor Edo State.

Recall that on Friday, June 12, the APC Edo guber primary Screening Committee led by Professor Jonathan Ayuba (Chairman) and comprising Prof. Agbo Madaki, Hon. Ibrahim Zailani, Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed “Binani”, Dr. Jane- Frances Agbu, Hon. Fort Dike (members) with Dr. Rabe Nasir (Secretary), after screening Six aspirants, presented the committee’s report to the National Working Committee, NWC of the party and informed the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and other chieftains at the party’s secretariat that Governor Obaseki and two others had been disqualified, but Ize-Iyamu and two other aspirants were cleared to participate in the primaries.

Those screened were Governor Obaseki who is seeking re-election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Dr Pius Odubu, Chris Ogiemwonyi, Osaro Obazee, and Matthew Iduoriyekemwen. In addition to Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the other two that scaled the screening were former Edo Deputy Governor Dr Pius Odubu and former Minister, Chris Ogiemwonyi. Governor Obaseki was disqualified alongside Osaro Obazee, and Matthew Iduoriyekemwen.

Prof. Ayuba explained that Governor Obaseki was disqualified on the grounds that his HSC and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificates were “defective”, adding that, “We also find it difficult to vouch for the authenticity of his National Youth Service Corps certificate, there is no indication as to where he served,” but Governor Obaseki stated categorically that he won’t appeal disqualification on the grounds that he won’t get justice from a panel set up by Oshiomhole.

The Appeal panel headed by Dr. Abubakar Fari (Chairman), with Prof. Sadeeque Abba, Barr. Gbenga Olubajo, Mohammed Idris, Esther Bepeh, (members) and Barr. Daniel Bwala (Secretary), eventually upheld Obaseki’s disqualification and was supported by the national working committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) which said it reflected on the allegations against Obaseki and described them as the “height of the abuse of power”.

Comrade Adams Oshiomhole

According to Oshiomhole, addressing a press conference with the NWC, the governor had mismanaged the state, manipulated and completely disabled the legislative wing by inaugurating the house with nine members out of a house of 24, which is unacceptable in a democracy and his disqualification would still have been upheld on that ground, even if the president had intervened on this matter.

Prior to his resignation, Governor Obaseki had embarked on a well reported tour to meet with his counterparts, Governor Nyesom Wike and Governor Udom Emmanuel in Rivers and Akwa Ibom States. He also met with Governor Okowa of Delta in what many political pundits speculate as setting the stage for a highly anticipated move to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Meanwhile, the buzzing on the political landscape reached a crescendo still on Tuesday, June 16, when a three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, in a judgment delivered by Justice Mohammed Lamido, affirmed the suspension of Adams Oshiomhole as national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and dismissed his appeal for lacking in merit.

Oshiomhole is however more concerned with stopping Governor Godwin Obaseki from contesting in the Edo guber elections as he has threatned that APC will go to court to challenge Governor Godwin Obaseki’s certificates if he is fielded by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the September governorship election in Edo State.

Oshiomhole who spoke at the Court of Appeal premises, even as he was being sacked as APC National chairman, said the party will take Obaseki to court over the alleged discrepancies in academic qualifications if the opposition party in the state presents him as its governorship candidate.

“Now, the case has life so when they field him, we will be at the court to adopt what PDP filed before the court against him with additional evidence we now have against him. So, we can’t wait to have PDP field him as their candidate.

“Only a foolish political party will not with due attention meticulously screen those who want to contest election on the platform of the party after that incident,” he added.

Senator Abiola Ajimobi

Meanwhile, amid the confusion over who takes over from the suspended Oshiomhole as APC National Chairman, in the interim, the party’s NWC has affirmed former Oyo state Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the Deputy Chairman, Southwest, as the acting National chairman, but due to his Covid-19 positive condition, which has posed a serious medical challenge and kept him in hospital, the NWC appointed Hilliard ETA, Deputy National Chairman, South/South to direct proceedings on Ajimobi’s behalf.

The NWC also swiftly set up two panels to conduct the June 22 Edo governorship primary of the party and address the appeals thereafter.

The panels and members are:

Primary Election Committee
1. Governor of Imo State, Sen. Hope Uzodinma – Chairman
2. Sen. Ajibola Bashiru – Secretary
3. Alh. Abdullahi Abass
4. Hon. Ibrahim Sabo
5. Hon. Ocho Obioma
6. Hajia Amina Lantana Muhammed
7. Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye

Primary Election Appeal
1. Prof. Mustapha Bello – Chairman
2. Dr. Kayode Ajulo – Secretary
3. Hon. Umar Ahmed
4. Nasiru Ibrahim Junju
5. Hon. Rasaq Mahmud Bamu

The NWC most importantly, affirmed that the former APC Deputy National Secretary (and former Acting National Secretary), Mr. Victor Giadom, is no longer a member of the APC Executive, having relinquished the position when he resigned to contest as Deputy Governor with Tonye Cole on the Rivers APC joint governorship ticket in the 2019 elections.

Giadom, who has also pronounced himself as Acting National Chairman if APC, on the strenght of a Court order, obtained immediately after an Abuja High Court suspended Oshiomhole and prior to a controversial Kano Federal High judgment that Oshiomhole had procured and had been holding on to, pending the determination of the substative suit, which the Court of Appeal ruling had now decided.

However, with the fact that Governor Obaseki and his deputy Comrade Shaibu have formally dumped the APC and were poised to join the PDP to actualise their second term aspirations, before the Appeal Court sustained Oshiomhole’s suspension, some confusion still remains over the fate of the Edo guber primary screening exercise that disqualified Obaseki from contesting the primary proper, especially with alternate Acting Chairman, Victor Giadom saying that he has cancelled the exercise and will conduct a new guber screening.

Governor Obaseki and his deputy have not spoken yet on the latest developments in the APC and so too the PDP, which however, reportedly convened an emergency NWC meeting to decided whether to welcome Obaseki and Shaibu into their fold and examine the conditions and compromises that will be attached to their decision concerning the duo, one way or the other.

Indeed, as the Edo 2020 political saga rolls on, intrigues are already trailing the primaries of both parties. Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Oshiomhole’s favored aspirant has a few credibility issues both in Court and within the ranks of the APC. The PDP on the other hand will have to, in the first instance, contend with the ‘Riceman’ Kenneth Imasuagbon who has insisted on maintaining the status quo in terms of conducting the party primary with already cleared aspirants, amongst other likely issues pending, if that bridge is crossed successfully.

There are definitely a few more hurdles still to scale and the political excitement has already been heightened by the subplots which will play out as the two party primaries slated for this June and the elections proper in September, unfold.

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