Indication has emerged that the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is making last minute effort to see that the party’s earlier decision on the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki stands.
The APC screening committee, appeal committee and finally the National Working Committee (NWC) all stand by the decision that Obaseki is disqualified from contesting the party’s primary election in Edo State. While the screening committee disqualified Obaseki, the appeal committee and the NWC went ahead to uphold the disqualification.
Edo 2020: APC govs fail to save Obaseki
To ensure that any attempts to give Obaseki a soft-landing is frustrated, Oshiomhole led other NWC members to the Presidency to justify the earlier decision of the party and ensure no consideration that will enable him to get a pardon for his disqualification. This followed reports that Obaseki’s fellow APC Governors are making last minute efforts to save him from the hurdle of disqualification so that he would remain in the APC and contest the primary election. The APC Governors believe that the intervention of the Presidency at this critical time can save the situation and bring a political resolution to the whole issue so that Obaseki will get a soft landing.
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But, Oshiomhole led the NWC to frustrate any attempt to give Obaseki any consideration. According to a source privy to the meeting who pleaded anonymity, Oshiomhole led the NWC to meet the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Professor Ibrahim Gambari at the Presidential Villa Abuja. The Oshiomhole-led NWC presented documents, including the Edo governor’s credentials which the screening committee relied on before disqualifying Obaseki. The reports of the screening committee, that of the appeal committee and that of the NWC on the disqualification were presented as well. Then, Oshiomhole defended the decision of the party to disqualify Obaseki.
The major idea behind the move is to stop any attempt to change the party’s decision that disqualified the Governor. This is because of the reported moves by APC Governors to get the Presidency’s backing to give Obaseki a soft-landing and broker a political solution so that he could remain in the party and contest the primary. Will the moves by the APC Governors to save Obaseki still work? Or will the counter move by Oshiomhole-led NWC to frustrate it succeed? All these questions will get answers in few days if Obaseki remains in the APC and gets the soft-landing to still contest in the primary. On the other hand, it will be clear that Oshiomhole and the NWC succeeded in their move if Obaseki is not given any soft landing to contest the APC primary. That will mean that the Presidency got convinced by the defense given by the Oshiomhole-led NWC as to why it disqualified Obaseki and then decided to respect the decision of the party.
That will mean that Obaseki will have no other option than to defect from the APC to the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as speculations have suggested that he would most likely do. Recall that Obaseki had said after his disqualification that he would make his next move known after having the opportunity to meet meet and hear from the President.
If the attempt to get the Presidency to intervene and save Obaseki fails, then he would simply leave the APC and seek the governorship ticket of the PDP to contest for second term with the hope to realize his second term ambition. This is because it is not looking like he would dump his second term ambition. As an incumbent Governor, he would like to hit it now that the iron is hot because he may not have such opportunity again.
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Meanwhile, after the meeting with Gambari yesterday, Oshiomhole was asked his opinion about Obaseki’s reported plan to defect. In his response, Oshiomhole simply gave political response. Oshiomhole said that the issue of Obaseki’s planned defection was still in the realm of speculation. The APC National Chairman added that he did not know about Obaseki’s defection plan, but what they see from the media, electronic and print, is that he (Obaseki) visited a number of PDP governors.
Oshiomhole further stated that they heard in the electronic media and read it in print that those consultations may have to do with Obaseki’s plan and so on, but they are not here to speculate. This means that Oshiomhole and the APC are aware that there were speculations that Obaseki will most likely defect following his disqualification.
The truth is, most big political events including defections start as rumours and speculations before they eventually happen. In fact, whenever the rumours and speculations start getting testimonials and evidence that they are believable such as media reports and pictures backing them up, that means they are closer to happen just like Obaseki’s alleged plan to defect to the PDP. It is clear that Oshiomhole and the APC know that it is most likely that Obaseki will leave the APC for another party. They are only waiting for him to actually do so. As it stands now, Obaseki has not defected. He may even shelve the plan if he gets a soft landing in the APC.
But what is the possibility that the APC headed by Oshiomhole will later allow Obaseki to contest under the party going by their reports that led to his disqualification? That appears almost impossible. Moreover, with the extent Obaseki’s clash with Oshiomhole had drifted to, it is most likely Oshiomhole will not allow any political solution to reverse the Governor’s disqualification. That means that Obaseki is almost out of the APC if he will not be allowed to contest in the party.
As it appears, Obaseki will not want to give up his second term ambition. The Governor will want to get the ticket of any strong opposition party like the PDP and give the APC candidate a big fight in the main election with a view to retaining his seat for a second term. Can he pull off this feat? Only time will tel. But, if Obaseki succeeds, then he would have made a name for himself and changed the course of events. However, the APC governorship candidate heavily backed by Oshiomhole and the ruling APC will deploy all the machinery at their disposal to stop Obaseki and win the election. So, expect a stiff battle on the main election day.