By Victor Osehobo
A few days ago, Edo state governor Godwin Obaseki and his weary supporters in the APC said they were finally ready for peace and reconciliation as they welcomed the Chief Bisi Akande-led National Reconciliation Committee, inaugurated by National. Chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
The Governor had earlier rejected 4 such committees and said he will only participate in a reconciliation committee set up by the President himself or the Benin traditional council.
For a governor who suspended the National chairman of his party, Mr Adams Oshiomhole; who banned rallies to admit new members info his party and has failed to condemn bombings and shootings in a state where he is Chief security officer, or even called or visited victims, who are not Marlians but Nigerians of ESO origin, living in Benin City, the sudden volte face calls for caution.
He has not reversed any of his anti-reconciliation decisions that brought him to where he is. Is he waiting till the Committee lands in Edo to come to equity with clean hands?
Even the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, late last year dismissed the call from the governor for the resignation of the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, saying party supremacy must be respected.
Mr Tinubu made his position known after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House Abuja. Hr said Mr Oshiomhole has so far not violated the APC constitution or engaged in any anti-party activity that will warrant his resignation or removal from office.
Recall that the present Edo APC crisis kicked off when the Edo assembly of 24 members-elect was inaugurated at night with only 9 of them present. A similar episode which played out in Bauchi state has since been resolved with Oshiomhole as National chairman of the APC calling for due process.
The call from Tinubu was on the heels of a call by the Forum of State Chairmen of the All Progressives Congress for the then Dr Lawan-led constituted APC National Reconciliation Committee to come up with an action plan to resolve the lingering crisis in the party. They said Edo as one out of the 36 states and Abuja, should not be allowed to frustrate peace efforts in the party since it was not ready for mediators.
As it were the Akande committee will be the 5th in the series set up to find a way out of the Edo APC debacle largely orchestrated by the governor’s desperation for a second term.
The committee is to resolve crises in the party in line with the November 22, 2019 resolution of the party’s National Executive Committee, which empowered the President, Muhammadu Buhari, to constitute the committee.
Secretary of the Forum of APC chairmen, Dr Ben Nwoye, who is also the chairman of the Enugu State chapter of the APC, had commended the Oshiomhole-led NWC for working towards achieving peace in the party.
Obaseki’s supporters had said they were guided by the admonition of President Buhari who has consistently maintained that they must live up to the tenets and provisions of the constitution of the APC.
“Mr. President has also maintained, quite rightly that anybody who is not relevant in his Ward, Local Government Area and State cannot hold office at the National Level”, while suspending Mr Oshiomhole.A
The APC LGA chairmen in Edo had also called on the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to expel Governor Obaseki from the party over allegations of anti-party activities such as the illegal proclamation and midnight inauguration of the state legislature among others.
“He is on a mission to destroy APC in Edo State but we will resist it,” the chairmen added, “We are the chairmen of the party in the 18 LGA s and we are not aware of the meeting where a vote of no confidence was passed on the national chairman of our party, Comrade Oshiomhole who is doing very well”, they said.
“Rather we are aware that majority of the chairmen haven suffered intimidation, harassment and assault in the hands of the Governor Godwin Obaseki led administration, what we have never seen in the politics of our dear state.”
The chairmen passed a vote of no confidence on Governor Obaseki and said, “Oshiomhole remains our leader and we pass vote of confidence on his leadership. It is sad that the governor and his cohorts are using money to induce our members but majority of them, we are happy, have resisted his moves to intimidate them,” the LG chairmen said.
The Forum of state APC chairmen holds that, “The formation of the National Reconciliation Committee is a welcome development. It is consistent with the resolution of the National Executive Committee. It is also an indication of clear intention by the NWC to reconcile all aggrieved members of our great party”.
They are of the view the party had shown sincerity of purpose to resolve lingering crisis by raising the committee, arguing that, “The committee members are patriotic Nigerians with diverse backgrounds and experiences”.
They know that the Reconciliation committee, ” will certainly achieve the desired objectives notwithstanding the dissenting opinion of few aggrieved members. As the saying goes, in democracy ‘majority will have their way while minority will have their say.”
National Leader, Senator Tinubu no doubt echoed popular opinion in the APC nationwide when he said,: “We all have to respect the party supremacy. You were all here when we had the Congress, we elected the new executives, we had the convention, the NEC was formed and we surrendered to avoid conflict, to avoid domination, to avoid abuses of power, we surrendered our rights, all rights to the National Working Committee headed by Adams Oshiomhole.
It would be recalled that Mr Oshiomhole, alleged last year that conservatives within the party were ganging up to pass a vote of no-confidence on him. He said in a statement that his sin was his refusal to allow continued impunity and circumvention of due process being perpetuated in some states.
The APC National chairman added that he was not surprised by the gang up, as he never had the illusion that the process of reforming the party was going to be an easy one.
He also did not expect that someone he held the ladder for to climb to relevance politically in his state of origin will be at the forefront either. Perhaps all that will change after the Akande Committee concludes its task.
But Nigerians have learnt not to take the governor serious. As someone who rejected 4 reconciliation committees set up within the party structure there is no guarantee that he will respect this one or even a divine effort. But only time will tell.