A chieftain of the APC in Edo, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, explained on Sunday that a faction of the ruling All Progressives Congress is at loggerheads with Governor Godwin Obaseki because the governor has “refused to listen to voice of reason.’’
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Benin, Airhiavbere, a former soldier turned politician, said Obaseki “lacked interpersonal skills” needed to make the difference in the exalted office.
The party chieftain said the governor had resorted to “use of raw power” in dealing with his political associates, a development, he said, had alienated many APC stalwarts in the state.
Edo State is billed for governorship polls next August, in a high-stakes election expected to be characterised by back-stabbing, violence and betrayal.
Airhiavbere, who ran for party ticket against Obaseki in 2016, said “APC would never know peace in Edo” with the way the governor was relating with other members of the party.
He said that contrary to what Obaseki wanted people to believe, agitations in the state were not because of “stomach infrastructure’’ or a quest for the resources of the state by the party members.
“It was never about godfather and godson struggling for the control of government or resources of the state.
“It is all about ensuring governance with human face and our resolve is to check the destructive approach to governance in Edo State and put our party on the path of moral rectitude, transparency and inclusion.
“The struggle is all about a governor who lacks interpersonal relationship skill; who is vindictive and repelled by the presence of his party members and without provocation, resorts to anger and pugnacious display of raw power.’’
Airhavbere said that Obaseki had “failed to fulfill his electoral promises” and had “refused to embrace dialogue, consultation, negotiation and compromise.”
“This is a governor who believes in all ramifications that he is above the people and who has suddenly become a tyrant.
“We cannot fold our arms and watch helplessly. With these traits, it is obvious that the governor was never psychologically and emotionally prepared to be a leader.”
Airhiavbere said it was because of these issues that “authentic members” of the party came together on November 13 to abolish the Edo Peoples Movement and suspend the governor, his deputy Philip Shaibu and the Secretary to State Government, Mr. Osarodion Ogie.
He said the suspension was also to send a signal to Obaseki that it was not going to be business as usual in the countdown to upcoming governorship election.
“Edo is the only APC state in the South-South and we are not ready to lose the state,” Airhiavbere said.
He noted that APC members remain loyal to the National Chairman of the party, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, assuring that “everything would be done to protect the party from people bent on destroying it.”
But reacting to the latest developments in the APC, the Edo Commissioner for Information, Mr. Paul Ohonbamu, said the intra-party crisis was “a battle for dominance and liberation between the national chairman of the party and the governor.”
He described the purported suspension of Obaseki and other people from the party as “an exercise in futility.”
The commissioner said that Airhiavbere and his group were being “used to embarrass the governor,” stressing that the governor was elected by the people and that the “disgruntled APC members” lacked powers to suspend him.
He recalled that the South-South Vice-Chairman of the party, Mr. Elias Enag, had since described the suspension as null and void.
Ohonbamu described Obaseki as a “beautiful damsel of democracy’’ who is being sought by many political parties.