Hours to his resignation from the All Progressives Congress (APC), the political supremacy battle between incumbent governor Godwin Obaseki and predecessor and National Chairman of the APC had gotten hotter with recent happenings in Edo state, supporters of both actors are not relenting in pointing out which side of the divides is right for wrong on the disqualification over certificate saga.
In a debate monitored by Echotitbits on TVC News channel, party chieftains loyal to Governor Obaseki and Oshiomhole disagreed over the issue.
Dr. Pedro Obaseki, a cousin to the embattled Edo Governor, accused Adams Oshiomhole of an attempt to “emasculate” and “disenfranchise” the people of Edo State.
Obaseki condemned Oshiomhole for “summarily orchestrating the disqualification of a sitting governor whom he (Oshiomhole) just less than four years ago said was the shining star in his own armour”.
Dr. Obaseki, who contested against his cousin, Godwin Obaseki in the 2016 APC governorship primary election described the decision of the Jonathan Ayuba-led screening committee to disqualify Edo Governor from participating in the primary election as upsetting.
“It is clear that Mr Oshiomhole who is the most biased umpire in the history of any political party in Nigeria had orchestrated the summary dismissal or disqualification of Mr Godwin Obaseki in the most spurious, the most unethical manner.”
During the debate, when the House of Representatives member representing Akoko Edo, Honourable Peter Apaktason mentioned how Dr. Obaseki, as a governorship aspirant in the primary election of the APC in 2016 described as unqualified and not to be trusted, his own cousin, Governor Obaseki, whom he contested against; Dr. Obaseki said:
“It’s a pity that my most Honourable has decided to be a little less factual this bright morning by turning this issue about me. It is not about me, it’s about the Edo people and I don’t want to start talking about him and casting aspersions on his person. That will be most dishonourable.
Dr. Obaseki berated APC National Chairman Oshiomhole for cooking “tales by moonlight” rather than concentrating on guaranteeing the progress of the party.
“Before he became National Chairman, APC had 27 states. Now if Godwin leaves APC today we would have dwindled down to 19. The same certificate issue was in 2016 a major issue. The PDP went to three courts, and all the courts exonerated Mr. Godwin Obaseki.”
In his attempt to discredit his cousin’s disqualification, the University lecturer said: “He’s talking about discrepancies when our national law, the electoral law made it clear in the last judgement passed in the case between Atiku Abubakar and our President was clear that all he needed to show was attendance up to secondary school level.
“And the University of Ibadan where he’s seeing discrepancies in the certificate came out to publicly in an unprecedented move to say this man went to our school and graduated. It is not the position of any of the parties to begin to question the veracity of his entry qualification when that entry qualification has not been rejected by the issuing authority” he said.
Dr. Obaseki lamented that Edo people who once had a governor that had no primary school certificate are being shortchanged by the conspiracy. ,
“I’m talking about Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, we all know that he had to set ablaze the Ministry of Education” he added.
On the other hand, Oshiomhole’s loyalist, Representative Peter Akpatason affirmed the decision of the APC screening committee to disqualify Governor Obaseki so as to “protect the interest of the party against what has become obvious in recent times”.
“When there are discrepancies in documents presented by candidates, a party stand the chance of loosing. Even after winning election, this is exactly what has happened in Edo state. And I think it is important that we look at the merit of the issue rather than sentiment” Akpatason said.
The Akoko Edo representative in the House of Representatives noted that: “The fact is that what happened in Bayelsa is the same thing that is happening in terms of defect of documents. That’s what it is. You protect the interest of the people by not allowing them to file out to go and vote for nothing, but ensuring that when they vote they are actually voting for a candidate that can stand the test of litigation”.