Tony Akowe, Abuja and Osagie Otabor, Benin
THERE is a plot to eliminate All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole, 14 Edo State House of Assembly members-elect alleged on Thursday.
The lawmakers-elect, who were not sworn-in along with their colleagues as part of a fall-out of the crisis in the state APC, accused Governor Godwin Obaseki of establishing a special militia group to eliminate Oshiomhole.
They, however, did not provide details of when the militia was set up, who are its members, how they were armed, or any evidence to substantiate the allegation.
The lawmakers-elect warned that they will not fold their hands and watch any of their leaders and members killed, adding the governor does not have a monopoly of violence.
They said Obaseki’s endorsement for a second term by Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi, was an indication that he would defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Former Edo Speaker Victor Edoror, who spoke for the lawmakers-elect at a briefing in Abuja, said the silence of President Muhammadu Buhari and other party leaders on the crisis was not helping the situation.
They urged the President and other leaders to call Obaseki to order.
Edoror said: “We want to believe that because the leaders of our party across the country have been quiet to call governor Godwin Obaseki to order, he has been further emboldened to kill everybody due to his desperate ambition for a second term.
“He has recruited a killer-squad in Edo State and their mandate is to kill Comrade Oshiomhole and other APC leaders. So he has continued to create the crisis and disrupt public peace.
“Recent amongst so many is frustrating several reconciliation efforts by the National Working Committee, the National Assembly, well-meaning Edo sons and in fact, leaders of our great party.”
Other allegations against Oshiomhole, according to Edoror, are: “Instituting several court cases against the party and the National Chairman in several courts around the country, thereby bringing our great party to disrepute;
“Massive protest by thugs sponsored by the state government on the 16th of December, 2019 where cars were burnt and several persons injured just to stop a rally to receive defectors from other political parties to our great party.”
Urging party leaders to intervene, they said: “We call on President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Leader Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu and the governors of the APC states to please call Governor Godwin Obaseki to order as he is known to have set several precedents that may be detrimental to our great party in the nearest future.
“The Inspector-General of Police should wake up to his responsibility of protecting lives, properties and maintaining public peace in Edo by standing against infringement on rights. We beg him to advise the Edo Commissioner of Police to be professional in his duty.”
They said they cannot allow Obaseki to continue to destroy Edo APC because he does not know the sacrifices Oshiomhole made to build it.
“It is clear that Obaseki is heading to another party flowing from the endorsement he has received from PDP leaders, including the governor of Ebonyi State.
“But, we are not worried because this same governor lost his polling unit, Ward, LGA and senatorial district to PDP during the Presidential election, so he has no political clout.
“He went to play golf, shortly after casting his vote, not bothering whether President Buhari won the election or not. But, the National Chairman of APC won his entire area for President Buhari.
“So, we appeal to our leaders to call Obaseki to order. He has no monopoly of violence. And if any of our people are killed, we will hold Obaseki and the IGP accountable. Edo people will never forgive them. This is the time to act.”
The lawmakers-elect were reacting to Obaseki’s statement to “deal” with Oshiomhole over “disruptive activities”.
Addressing 18 APC local government chairman on Wednesday, Obaseki said: “We are warning the suspended National Chairman. If he continues his activities in Edo State, I will show him that I am the governor of Edo State.
“While he was governor, he would not tolerate a fraction of the misdemeanour and misbehaviour he is undertaking today.
“I have declared that, if Oshiomhole comes to Edo to say he wants to disrupt the activities of the state and the party, we will deal with him the way we know how best to do it.
“Comrade Oshiomhole stands suspended from the party. In due course, we will expel him, if he does not behave. The party does not belong to him; it belongs to all of us. We are following the wish of our people.”
Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie accused Oshiomhole of plotting to disrupt peace and safety in the state.
“His schemes have taken a dangerous dimension,” Osagie said in a statement yesterday.
According to him, “Oshiomhole and his co-dissidents in the proscribed Edo Peoples Movement (EPM) are hell bent on causing a breakdown of law and order in the state.”
Osagie said the government would spare nothing “in dealing decisively with the merchants of violence” under the laws.
“Comrade Oshiomhole has disobeyed orders by the Police at the federal and state levels not to hold public gatherings against the directives of the state government.
“His actions have led to the hospitalisation of tens of Edo people and the destruction of property valued in millions of naira.
“From Edo South to Edo North, he has traded in violence and left many in anguish in the wake of his strong-headed approach to entrenching himself as a godfather in the state.
“Even with this, he has not relented, but rather continues to fan the embers of division, acting as if he is above the law in the state,” the spokesman said.
He urged President Buhari and the IG to call Oshiomhole to order.
Osagie assured Edo people that his government would continue to resist attempts to fracture the state’s peace and safety.
“His ambition to become a godfather in Edo State is not worth the safety of the four million people in our state,” Osagie said.