Edo gov’ship: Why Oshiomhole, Obaseki camps push for different modes of primary

Obaseki and Oshiomhole
L-R: Oshiomhole, Obaseki.

The Camp of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, and that of the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, are pushing for different modes of primary election to have an edge over one another during the poll.

The battle of supremacy between the factions loyal to  Oshiomhole and Obaseki was rekindled when the party announced the adoption of direct mode for its forthcoming governorship primary, slated for June 22, 2020.

While Oshiomhole’s faction believes direct primary is best for the party, members of the Obaseki camp are of the view that it can easily be manipulated and that Oshiomhole is attempting to skew the process in favour of his faction.

The Edo APC has been engulfed in crisis due to the fight between Oshiomhole and Obaseki. The feud has polarised the party and caused confusion at the Edo State House of Assembly as only 10 out of the 24 members-elect have been inaugurated.

Chairman of the Obaseki faction, Aslem Ojezua, said, “At the state level, we have met and decided on indirect primary, and the reason is that we lack a credible membership register, and again, we must be sensitive to the delicate situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

On his part, the Chairman of the Oshiomhole faction, David Imuse, noted that the APC constitution empowered the National Working Committee (NWC) to organise party primaries.

Imuse said, “NWC has come out with their guidelines and they have said this is the mode we want to adopt in Edo State in picking its candidate. So in line with their constitutional mandate, they have come out with their guideline; and it is direct primary. As far as we are concerned, the NWC has given the directive and so shall it be.

“So, whether it is indirect or direct primary, we are still going to gather people, but the bottom line is adhering to the NCDC and Federal Government’s social distancing and wearing face mask directive.”

He further said the guidelines had been released and that it was either one submitted himself to the party or opted out because membership of a political party was voluntary, noting that, “We have no choice than to obey the guidelines.”

Another member of the Oshiomhole faction, Samson Osagie, said the NWC under the party’s constitution had the power to organise primaries.

Similarly, another Obaseki loyalist, Zibiri Muhammed, said, “The national chairman is working for his faction and this is why he is trying to subvert the process; which will not work.”

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