The immediate past national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun has warned that the party in Edo State continues to live dangerously amid the latent face-off between Governor Godwin Obaseki, and National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole.
According to Odigie-Oyegun, the first civilian governor of the state, Edo State is perpetually in a state of flux and it would be foolhardy for a particular political party to claim dominance.
Responding to insinuations that if the crisis rocking the party in the state is not resolved, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may take over it, Odigie-Oyegun told The Guardian that, “a disunited party like the opposition party is not a credible fighting force. It is a weakling fighting force. In that kind of situation, anything will be possible, because Edo State is not a state that is 90 percent one party and 10 percent the other. It is 40 percent and 50 percent sometimes, so it can easily swing, but God forbid that it should happen in Edo State.”
Explaining why his 80th birthday celebration was mostly attended by members of opposition PDP as against the ruling APC, Odigie-Oyegun’s said his life at 80 is to build bridges and particularly unite Nigerians irrespective of political affiliations.
Odigie-Oyegun said, “As an 80-year-old man, I extended invitations to all political leaders irrespective of political affiliations. I want to set that one more example. So, when that time comes to campaign and to have a political fight to win elections, then you can go ahead and draw the battle line. But aside that, we all have a common interest, which is the progress of our people and I have a divergent view of how to achieve it.”
On why he has not found it expedient to broker peace between Obaseki and his predecessor, Oshiomhole, in his capacity as a former national chairman and ex-governor of the state, the octogenarian said, “I do not think it will be expedient for me to come into it for very obvious reasons. For totally unrelated reasons things have happened between Oshiomhole and me, and the National Working Committee of the APC, which drew my anger and to which, of course, I vented my feelings.
“I will not make a very good arbiter, but I have spoken to people who are deeply concerned people and are actively pursuing a settlement. I believe and hope that whatever political differences between Oshiomhole and Godwin Obaseki will be permanently resolved.”
He added that Obaseki approaching the court to restrain parties, including the National Assembly, the Department of State Services, and the Nigerian Police from intervening was the “best option because they are going through the prescribed and constitutional processes. I say thank God for the courts because that is what the courts are there for.”
He advised Edo State House of Assembly members-elect who are yet to be inaugurated and have relocated to Abuja to come back home to represent their people and participate in the political processes for which they were elected to entrench democracy and serve their people and make sure that the reasons for governance, which is service to the people are met.