The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has denied any attempt to lord it over the Edo State politics as alleged by the Governor of the state, Godwin Obaseki, and his Deputy, Philip Shaibu.
He added that he only tried to reconcile the Governor with his party men who ‘accused’ the latter of treating them unfairly despite their role in his emergence as governor of the state.
Earlier this week, PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Obaseki accused his estranged political mentor of winning elections through the use of thugs and violence.
He also said Mr Oshiomhole was angry because he never allowed him to actualise his ‘godfatherism’ agenda in the state.
However, the APC National Chairman in a television interview on Friday, said he is ’embarrassed’ that both the governor and some members of the party in the state could describe him in such a manner.
“My own embarrassment is when they say, Oshiomhole wants to be like a godfather,” he said.
“If I wanted to be, then I will be nominating commissioners. I only persuaded him (Obaseki) to accept one commissioner from me; only one and I gave my reasons- because he was a founding member of my campaign organisation in 2006, Mika. Other than Mika, I did not nominate any Commissioner, I did not nominate any Special Adviser, Special Assistant because for me these are governance issues. So where is the godfather role coming from?”
He highlighted his efforts to ensure peace in the Edo chapter of the party and his moves to unite his successor with some of the party chieftains whom the latter ‘wronged’.
Alleged reconciliatory moves
Among the cases he cited include that of Charles Idahosa and Michael Egharevba whom he noted “are part of the most influential members of the party in the state.
“There was a time the governor told me that he would not have anything to do with Charles Idahosa because he lost his booth during his own governorship election and so has no electoral value. I invited both of them to my house and he did not know the other party was coming.
“When the governor entered the room, Idahosa sat and said he was not going to have a handshake with him and used a language for me that was derogatory. I said no, Charles you cannot talk like that.
“This is the governor and you must respect him. And I said, 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,” the APC Chairman said.
He continued: “Prince Eweka came here and said I should beg the governor that they are cousins, but that he is not treating him well. I told the governor please he is an elder, Prince Eweka I have known for long, he was at a point Vice Chairman. So 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 say my group; everybody in Edo I have no problem. Who is not my group, is Obaseki not my group, who is in the party that is with him that is opposed to me? None.
“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 formed CPC.
“But we all came to realise 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.”