Weeks after he blamed the media for imagining a conflict between him and his successor in Edo State, the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, now admits there is a squabble which can be resolved as members of a political family.
But he makes it clear in an interview on Channels Television that the disagreement is not over money and appointments, though he mentions that the only commissioner he recommended for appointment has since been sacked.
“We have no argument over money or appointments… In the meeting we held with four governors, including Governor Bagudu, I asked the governor, how many commissioners I nominated into his cabinet. He agreed that I only nominated one person out of more than 20 commissioners.
“Not many Nigerians will believe that because for me I was out of government and I have convinced myself that the day I step out of government, that is it. After that first meeting, the governor decided to remove that one commissioner along with seven others. But that is not my business”, the APC chairman said
He however worries at Governor Godwin Obaseki’s decision to abandon some projects.
“The governor can never tell you that I have interfered in his choice of projects and so on. The only thing I feel a bit worried about is that some of the projects we started together have been abandoned. There is no way to solve disagreements without talking to the aggrieved parties.
“Let me assure you. This governor is not under threat. It is those who make money from crisis, those I call merchants of confusion, who can tell the governor that he wants to be impeached.”
Oshiomhole reiterated his call for a fresh inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly, while urging his former protege
to learn the art of persuasion and negotiation in a democracy.
“The only option for him is to lobby and if he lobbies and in end he is unable to get everybody to toe his line, he has to concede that these are not his Commissioners or Special Assistants for which he has absolute monopoly to appoint. But even at that, if they are commissioners, they must be screened by the House of Assembly, that is the law. So if he chooses to put it in the manner that he has unfortunately put it, giving the impression that as the governor he can do everything, is there anything in the constitution that you know, that empowers a governor to decide who becomes a Speaker?
“But like every other person in a democracy, you get what you are able to negotiate, the operative word is negotiation, persuasion, that is what we did in Abuja. But inspite of all the efforts we invested at the Federal level, incidentally as the chairman I was active on that, we conceded in the end when Senator Ndume said he will not go the way the party wanted. We could not deny him that right to contest and he went and contested and he got 24 votes.
“When I was governor, I went through the same process, we persuaded the members, we called all of them, first explained to them the need to ensure geo-political balance. Sometimes we suggest who we think is better equipped to handle legislative matters. That is how far we can go. Sometimes we succeeded some other times we did not. But the bottom line is that it is the responsibility and absolute prerogative of members of the House to do it”.
“Secondly, Okiye being the beneficiary of the purported inauguration, and he says the agenda is to impeach Obaseki, did he tell you what offence Obaseki has committed, is he known to have committed any impeachable offence? Is it true that somebody who has just been elected, he has not even been inaugurated, his first agenda is to disturb the system by seeking to impeach a governor who is not known to have committed any offence? Is impeachment a tea party? It does not make sense.
“By the way who is Okiye, does he know what was invested in the making of the governor? Can he possibly lay claim to loving the governor more than those of us who went round the state and staked our reputation and invested our energy and persuasive skill to market the governor to the people. If there is one man that wants Governor Obaseki to succeed so that everything I said on his behalf comes to pass, I think it will be me.
“I have absolutely nothing to gain if someone I told the people will do well end up not doing well or I make statement that contradicts my earlier position. Because all I have that I brought to this job called politics is integrity. And integrity is about being consistent and sometimes being predictable. So Godwin knows that I have no quarrel whatsoever with him, but I do not think that it is right to inaugurate the House of Assembly at night.”