Comrade Asams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has given more insight into the lingering crisis in the Edo State chapter of the ruling party.
According to Oshiomhole, his greatest sin against the Governor Godwin Obaseki has been his decision to embark on peace mission and reconciliation among party leaders.
The former labour leader said he made several attempts to reconcile Obaseki with party leaders in the state to avoid mass defection.
Oshiomhole also dismissed the allegations of godfatherism against him.
This was contained in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Simon Egbuebulem on Saturday quoting the APC Chairman as saying that if he wanted to play godfather as being alleged, he would have nominated all commissioners for Obaseki after his election.
The statement added, “As part of my efforts to resolve the problems in Edo state, there was a time the governor told me that he will not have anything to do with Charles Idahosa because he lost his booth during his own governorship election and so what is his electoral value?
“It is here in my living room that I invited Idahosa. He did not know the governor was coming. I invited the governor and he did not know Idahosa was coming. When the governor entered the room, Idahosa sat down and said he was not going to have a handshake with him.
“He used a language that, for me was derogatory. I said no, Charles you cannot talk like that. This is the governor and you must respect him. And I say, governor please whatever Charles has done that you are not happy about, we have won, put them behind you.
“I said in this business, if you don’t work with people because of their electoral value, sometimes you work with them because of their nuisance value. So you will not gain by saying you won’t work with this one or that one.
“If you ask Rev. Egharevba, I got to know that he was not participating in APC activities because of the way the governor was treating them. I drove to his house and I said Rev, I met you in this party, so why are you leaving the party now. They were in ACN then before I came to form an alliance with them.
“He said you introduced this man to us and look at the way he is treating everybody now. I said okay, with time he will change. I now asked him, in any case, Reverend, you are living the house for who.
“Those in government are the tenants in power. The landlords are the members in the party and the leaders. They are the owners of the party and it is the party that produced the governor. So if you are not happy with the governor and you are running away because of the governor, are you leaving your own house for a tenant. This tenant’s maximum stay is eight years tenancy, but your party membership can be for life.
“In most democracies, those who are members of the Labour party remain Labour there for life, those who are Democrats or Republicans, remain there for life. But they will produce Presidents both the good the bad and the ugly. But the party remains.
“But when they produce a President or Senator that they don’t like, in the next election the review their choice. I am happy, you can see that today, he now attends party meetings. He told me his frustrations, but I said they are not enough. He blamed me that ooh you introduced this man to me, I said yes but I am human.
Speaking further, the APC Chairman said “Prince Eweka came here and said I should beg the governor, that they are cousins but he is not treating him well. I told the governor please he is an elder. I have known Prince Eweka for long. He was at a point Vice Chairman.
“I can mention names of people who I stopped from leaving the party by making peace and resolving their problem with the governor. So when people talk about my group, I ask them who is not my group. Is Obaseki not my group? Who is in the party that is with him that is opposed to me?
“The only problem is that he says there are people he cannot stand. But I said to him, it is difficult in this business to pick and choose. Learn from our President. Our President was candidate on ANPP platform at a point. He had his reasons for living ANPP and forming CPC.
“But we all came to realize that at the end of the day, for anyone to be President of Nigeria, you must have a party with a spread and the more spread the party has, the more you have characters that on a good day you may not even want to talk to. But the logic of numbers means that you must embrace all. But somehow he just refused.
“My own embarrassment is when they say, Oshiomhole wants to be like a godfather. If I wanted to be, then I will be nominating Commissioners. I only persuaded him to accept one Commissioner from me, only one and I gave my reasons and that was because Mika was a founding member of my campaign organization in 2006.
“Other than Mika, I did not nominate any Commissioner; I did not nominate any Special Adviser, Special Assistance because, for me, these are governance issues. So where is the godfather from?
“I think as a brother and to be honest, I regard the governor as my brother and a very close friend and what I owe him is to assist where he wants me to. To help him make peace with anyone who he has issues with.
“You people forgot when the governor went to Uhumwonde. That is the peak of his crisis with Idahosa and he said as the governor, he is going to take the leadership in Uhumwonde because the place is his ancestral home.
“And now he is going to do special development in Uhumwonde and that he is not going to do it with politicians because the politicians Uhumwonde has produced has never worked for the development of Uhumwonde. And so he is going to set up special development Committee not made up of politicians but community leaders.
“So he will relate with the community leaders and not politicians. But I advised him by all means, relate with community leaders, but don’t exclude party leaders because their roles are not the same.
“Again it is a bit of exaggeration to blame politicians for the none development of a Local Government because to my recollection, Uhumnwonde has not produced a governor, besides it is not the only under developed Local Government Area.
“The entire state was under developed until we intervened. You can do what you want to do without antagonizing the party leaders there. That statement is on record; it is in print.
“So I know that in my heart of hearts, the difficulties I have is that when people have told me as they did, that we don’t know this man, he does not know us, he does not attend meetings and I said to them don’t worry he will get to know you and mingle with you. So vote for him.
“I told him whatever you want to do in governance do, but when it comes to party leaders my brother be careful. For us, we are helping to make sure the party is strong when people talk about godfather, I said bull shit. I have no interest in running government.”