PATRICK OCHOGA in this report writes on how the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State is calming fray political nerves after its recent crisis-ridden primaries
It is no doubt that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is at a cross-road following the outcome of its primaries in many states.
The outcome of its primaries in Edo State has heightened political tension as many aspirants and leaders who lost out in the exercise are literarily calling for Armageddon.
The crisis however appears to have pitted the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole against the state governor, Godwin Obaseki. However, sources close to the governor have dismissed any misgivings between Obaseki and his predecessor, Oshiomhole.
There are also indications that the crisis is causing friction between the candidate of the party for Akoko-Edo Federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Peter Akpatason and the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Hon Kabiru Adjoto.
Akpatason, who emerged as the candidate came under barrage of political attacks shortly after he indicated interest to seek a third term in the Green chamber.
His emergence as the party’s flagbearer did not come on a platter of gold either, despite indication that majority of the leadership of the party are behind his aspiration.
Recall that the first primary which was inconclusive was cancelled by the national leadership of the party following alleged irregularities and manipulation. This informed why a committee was sent by the national working committee of the party to conduct a fresh primary election where the incumbent won overwhelmingly.
The decision of the national secretariat of the party to present Akpatason nonetheless sparked protest in Iggara, the administrative headquarter of Akoko-Edo local government.
Supporters of the Kabiru Adjoto had taken to the streets and alleged that Adjoto’s name had been substituted for the incumbent, Peter Akpatason.
The leader of the pro-Adjoto protest, Jeffery Obasanmi, pointed accusing fingers at the national chairman of the party for the crisis that trailed primary in the constituency.
He stated: “Confusion in the party is caused by the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. Unless our mandate is restored, there is no APC in Akoko-Edo. We want to remain in APC but on only one condition that Adjoto is the candidate of the party. Akoko-Edo has ten wards; Akoko-Edo is not Ward Nine where everything is situated.”
On his part, a former chairman of the local government area, Peter Ologun, argued that there is a zoning arrangement that alternates some positions like local government area chairman, local government party Chairman and House of Representatives membership.
“Now, a primary election was conducted, Adjoto won the first time, they repeated it. The second time, he won and he is being changed. A former member of the House of Assembly Emma Agbaje is being replaced by someone who did not win the primaries and now two elected political office holders: House of Representatives and House of Assembly will come from the same ward. This is unacceptable.”
However, a few days after, thousands of the pro-Akpatason group staged a peaceful protest in show of solidarity with the winner of the primary and the Oshiomhole-led national working committee of the party.
They insisted that Akpatason won the primary election fair and square, noting that the demonstration by his opponent was a clear show of political desperation.
The protesters led by Comrade Segun Jasper came under the aegis Akoko-Edo Youth Vanguard, (AYV), added that Akpatason’s retuen bid is a blessing for the entire members of the constituency and even the state.
They bemoaned the attitude of the speaker’s supporter who cast aspersion and denigrate on the person of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, whom they Adjoto rode on the back of the same Oshiomhole in the past three elections which ordinarily he wouldn’t have won.
They noted: “The case of APC, Akoko Edo LGA in the just concluded primary is an example of political desperation and eluded sensibility. Where they made foolery of themselves is their clamor for the release of the results of the primary up till the time they finally proceeded to the Court of Justice in Benin City for mandate claim.
“The same person is leading a barrage of media attacks on APC leadership and his benefactor, on whose back he rode to victory in the past three elections, which ordinarily he couldn’t have won”.
“How does one claim victory in election results that he said were not announced. Anyway, we are aware that the outcome of that primary was duly announced and published by the authorised person, and winners emerged.
“The endless arm twisting measures by Ajoto, including rallies and threats of anti party activities are further manifestations of desperation arising from his believe that the party or judiciary can be coerced into taking a wrong decision, such as name substitution in his favour.
Continuing he added: “Give and take, why anyone would imagine that Hon Adjoto will win Comrade Peter Akpatason in a free and competitive election. In which parts of the galaxy will that ever happens?
“Hon Adjoto is from Ikakumoh in Ward 6 with just 2 units and has fallen out of favour with the other communities in Ayaran and Okpe Kingdom as a result of his hostility and disrespect”
“In fairness he cannot win Comrade Akpatason or any other serious candidate without the usual Oshiomhole’s strong backing.
So the argument that he won the primary election and the display of forged results is fraudulent and hazy to common sense.
“Available records show that comrade Akpatason Peter won the primaries fair and square despite the violence and manipulative tendencies exhibited by his opponent.”
“Akpatason remains the most popular among our people, he has touched several lives with his generous disposition, unique empowerment programme and unprecedented even distribution of constituency projects across all wards and villages”.
Much as we encourage everyone to remain loyal and committed to our great party, we call on all to disregard the anti-party threat by the paid protesters
“Akpatason remain the most popular among our people, he has touched several lives with his generous disposition , empowerment programme and unpresidented even distribution of constituency projects across all wards and villages”
“We stand with Akpatason as we a convinced that with him as the candidate, APC is sure of a big win at the February 2019 general elections.
Similarly , last week members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, a mass rally also marched the streets of Akoko-Edo and unanimously passed a vote of confidence on the national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Hon Peter Akpatason.
A stakeholder of the party in the constituency, Mr. Folly Akerejola, the immediate past chairman of the local government council described the duo as men of impeccable character who have track records of integrity and hard Work.
In his words: “Oshiomhole and Akpatason have proven themselves worthy sons of Edo land and Nigeria as a whole. Oshiomhole is an epitome of leadership and development who has made Edo people proud. Comrade Akpatason on the other hand has developed Akoko-Edo Federal constituency beyond our expectation, that’s why we want him to continue to represent us as a ranked and high performing legislator.”
Another leader of the party in the constituency, Barrister Sunday Mayaki, dismissed the speculation of some party members that some wards are planning ethnic agenda, stressing that Akpatason is a son of the entire Akoko-Edo, hence they would support him to continue his good works for the people of the constituency.
“No Igara agenda, we are going to return Akpatason and Dele Olorutoba come 2019. Everybody in Akoko-Edo should come out enmass and excercise their franchise wisely for continuity.” He stressed.
A woman leader of the party, Comrade Funmi Oseh, described Oshiomhole and Akpatason as God sent who have showed to the people that there are still some descent politicians who care about the people.
She said: “They have taken empowering of women as a priority. When Oshiomhole was the governor of Edo State, he build schools, hospitals, and gave our children work. God will bless Oshiomhole. Akpatason gave the women grinding machines, hair dryers, and some funds to do business”.
Also, a pro-Adams Oshiomhole and Godwin Obaseki’s women of the APC in Benin last weekend passed a vote of confidence on the duo.
They denounced the State Organising Secretary of the party, Dr. Aisosa Amadasun, for claiming to be speaking on behalf of the women wing that the APC has been polarised over the conduct of the primaries.
Woman Leader of the APC, Mrs. Betty Okoebor, urged women to ignore the anger and frustration displayed by Amadasun but to work for the victory of all the party candidates.
LEADERSHIP however gathered that the state working executive of the party has met with aspirants in the state that lost out in the primaries with a view to approaching the 2019 general elections as a united front.
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