Edo Assembly crisis: Buhari directs Obaseki to issue fresh proclamation – el-Rufai

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Obaseki asks Oshiomhole to shift grounds on speaker
I stand on Buhari’s directive —Oshiomhole
Conflicting signals from Oshiomhole, Obaseki’s camps
Third-party behind rift– APC
Oredo APC backs Obaseki for 2nd term

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, Niger Delta & Gabriel Enogholase

BENIN CITY— PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly directed Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State to issue a fresh proclamation for inauguration of the state House of Assembly.

el-Rufai
El-Rufai
Oshiomhole has no hand in Edo, Bauchi Assembly crisis, says APC(Opens in a new browser tab)

This came as Edo State chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, weekend, rubbished claims that Governor Obaseki was at loggerheads with his predecessor and National Chairman of the party, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, over control of the state and leadership tussle in Edo State House of Assembly.

Edo State APC chairman, Mr Anselm Ojezua, who made the disclosure during an interactive session with newsmen in Lagos, blamed the crisis on the deceptive nature of players in the state’s political space.

Meanwhile, sources disclosed to Vanguard, weekend, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, who is a member of the committee set up by President Buhari to resolve Edo State crisis, declared the stand of the president at the first re-conciliatory meeting of the group in Abuja, last week.

The committee, headed by Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, has el-Rufai and business magnate, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, as members.

Both the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, and Governor Obaseki are members of the committee.

The initial meeting of the committee, presided over by Fayemi, was held at Ekiti House, Abuja.

A source said el-Rufai informed the meeting as they commenced that he had information from President Buhari.

He hinted: “The Kaduna State governor told the meeting that President Buhari wants Obaseki to issue a fresh proclamation for re-inauguration of the House of Assembly, and that anybody interested in the speaker’s position should contest it.

Obaseki’s position

“Governor Obaseki interjected, saying he thought they were looking for peace, but having seen the handwriting on the wall, even before the meeting, he said he would want to appeal to Oshiomhole for a situation where the self-worth of both sides would be accommodated in the final resolution.’’

Vanguard learned that the governor argued that if the present speaker, Mr Frank Okiye, would be sacrificed, then Oshiomhole should also shift grounds on his preferred candidate, Mr Victor Edoror, for a neutral person, Mr Emmanuel Okoduwa.

It was learned that el-Rufai demanded to know what Obaseki meant by accommodating the interests of both sides, saying if the governor wants anybody in the new dispensation as speaker, he should ask him to lobby his colleagues and he (Obaseki) should also lobby the lawmakers for him.

The Kaduna governor, according to the source, made reference to the recent inauguration of the National Assembly, where the president and the party settled for the incumbent Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, while Senator Mohammed Ndume insisted on his rights to contest, with everybody lobbying the senators-elect.

Oshiomhole’s tacit response

The source said Oshiomohole in his response, stated that his stand was what the president enunciated through el-Rufai.

The source said: “The meeting ended on that note, the first day without conclusion. Therefore, it was adjourned to the next day.

“On the second day, last Tuesday, they could not also take a formal position, with the governor saying he has shifted grounds, so, the other side should also shift grounds.

‘’They adjourned again to the third day for possible conclusion, but the day coincided with the Presidential Retreat, last Wednesday, which Oshiomhole, Obaseki and others attended and photographs were taken.

“That third day, they did not meet as planned and to the best of my knowledge, nothing has happened on the matter since then.”

What they resolved — Obaseki’s aide

Contrary to the above information, a source close to Obaseki, who confirmed he did not attend the Abuja meeting, said: “I was not there at the meeting, but I know that political steps are being taken to resolve the crisis. Some governors and Dangote met with both Oshiomhole and Obaseki some days ago in Abuja.

“Part of the conclusions is that the House, as currently inaugurated, should be left as it is; that other lawmakers not sworn in should be granted unfettered access for their inauguration, while APC politicians were enjoined to work together.

“The problem really is the way Obaseki has decided to run the government, not any other thing. He decided that the people should come first and politicians are not happy with him.

“His order of priority is from whatever comes from the Federation Account, pay civil servants and pensioners first, look at contractual obligations and pay contractors, if there is still money left, pay political office holders and their allowances to run their offices, after which he would talk about patronage to politicians.

“As I speak to you, political office holders in the state are being owed backlog of salaries because the governor has prioritized areas of needs.”

All lies —Oshiomhole’s supporters

A top politician from the state, who is sympathetic to Oshiomhole, told Vanguard: “Forget the photograph you saw online and all those things. They have not reached any agreement, anybody telling you they have reached an agreement is lying.

“The truth of the matter is that Obaseki has been directed to issue a fresh proclamation and do reconciliation. They have been trying to reach out to Oshiomhole, there is nothing wrong in taking photograph, but that is not to say that he would not do what the president and party have asked him to do.”

Another pro-Oshiomhole party leader said: “Forget about all those stories that they resolved to allow the inauguration stay and they locked up Oshiomhole and Obaseki in one room to settle their differences. Are they babies to be locked up, by who and where?

“What I can tell you is that the governor is realising some of his mistakes, he is beginning to make some sense.’’

3rd party behind rift between Obaseki, Oshiomhole — APC

Ojezua, who addressed newsmen, pointed out that the state had been in the news for the wrong reasons because certain individuals who had hijacked the resources of the state in one way or the other resorted to blackmail and misrepresentation of facts to strain the relationship between the governor and his predecessor when the current administration stopped them from collecting and diverting revenue meant for the development of the state.

He said: “It is just that third party is trying to create problem between our national chairman, Oshiomhole, and Governor Obaseki. The developments in recent times have whittled down the tension created by the crisis.

“The national chairman of the party has discovered the ulterior motives of the political jobbers going to him in Abuja to spread all sorts of falsehood that the governor has dumped the blueprint drafted to make Edo State attractive for investments to boost economic prosperity of the state in order to rubbish Oshiomhole’s regime, or that the governor was against his people or that the party was bound to lose the next election if the governor was allowed to continue in that direction.

“Our national chairman now knows better and we are talking and back to where we ought to have started.”

Also speaking, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, said the focus of Governor Obaseki was to provide good governance in the state.

He said before the advent of the current administration in the state, Edo State’s education sector had gone bad, adding that the Obaseki-led government deployed enormous resources to ensure the education sector was transformed.

Oredo apc backs Obaseki for 2nd term

Meanwhile, Oredo Local Government chapter of APC in Edo State has passed a vote of confidence on Obaseki, even as it also threw its weight behind his second term bid in the 2020 governorship election in the state.

Oredo West ward II leader of the party, Baba Franco, while addressing journalists in Benin City, weekend, said they were supporting Obaseki due to his developmental stride and good governance in the state.

He said: “We are supporting Obaseki because of his performance and say no to godfatherism. For the first time, we have a governor who is not prepared to share the state’s money among party leaders but to develop state so that people can stay back home and get gainful employment.

“This is why many of us are supporting the governor. I believe that the crisis in Edo APC was engineered by somebody who wanted Obaseki to cave in to his demand so that Edo people will be in bondage .

“So, the problem most of the party leaders have with Obaseki is not playing the rule of the godfather and as such he must not have a second term.

“In this crisis, I have not seen politicians arguing that the governor has not sited a project in their communities, those people fighting Obaseki now, don’t even need projects in their areas but that money meant for projects should be shared for them.”

Vanguard

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