By Lucky Isibor,
A coalition of Edo APC governorship aspirants has appealed for a level playing field in the party primary election ahead the 2020 governorship election.
The group also condemned in strong terms what they termed the haunting of the elected state legislators by the state government.
The APC governorship aspirants including Rt. Hon. Pius Odubu, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi and Pastor Osagie Ize- Iyamu made their position known Thursday, January 16, while addressing a press conference at the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ Press Centre,Benin City, the Edo State capital.
Speaking at the press conference, the former Deputy Governor, Hon Pius Odubu who spoke on behalf of the group, said they are concerned about the recent developments in the state under the present administration and condemned the crisis that is rocking the Edo State chapter of the party adding that the inability of the state house of assembly members elected on the APC platform to carry out their legislative duties is worrisome and condemnable.
The group also raised concerns on what it claimed as political motivated violence targeted at some members of the party in the state while condemning the alleged attacks on the national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole by some members of the the Edo State chapter of APC.
“Since the middle of 2018, the ruling party – the APC, which is our party has been embroiled in needless crisis arising from the deliberate alienation of party leaders and members from the Government the party worked hard to install in 2016 through the wishes of Edo People.
“Of particular concern to us is the inability of the state House of Assembly members of our state elected on the platform of our party to perform the responsibility of lawmaking for which they were elected since June 2019. This is unprecedented and does not represent the progressive character of the Edo People.
“We have also observed with great trepidation the orgy of politically motivated violence across the State targeted at members of our great party who dared to hold opposing views from Government. This is unacceptable in a democratic setting.
“Needless to bog you down with the litany of attacks on the person and office of the national chairman of our party and prominent Edo sons.”
While appealing to all the governorship aspirants to submit themselves to the APC rules, regulations and guidelines for the governorship primary, the group said, “On our part,we are committed to ensuring full compliance with the party directives as we go into the elections and urge our brother, Governor Obaseki that in multi party democracy, everyone, no matter how highly placed must be subject to party laws and rules.”
Meanwhile the Anselm Ojezua led Edo APC has dismissed the press conference by the group, saying their agitations are fueled by greed and avarice.
Further discrediting their submissions, Ojezua said their group is proscribed noting that two of the anchors of the meeting were bugled with severe malfeasance.
In a release by the Special Adviser to Edo State Governor on Communication and Strategy, Crusoe Osagie said Ojezua described Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as a mercenary of distraction saying he is currently facing Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charges of N700m fraud at a High Court in Benin City, while Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (Rtd) is currently suspended by the party in his local government area.
He described other participants in the press conference, including former Minister of State, Works, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi and former Edo State Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Odubu, as individuals who were on life support politically.
According to Ojezua, “These dissidents, out of their greed and in reaction to the refusal of Governor Obaseki to share the state’s patrimony in satisfaction of their avarice, formed the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM) and began their agitation against the government, which have all failed.
“Their latest resort is this press conference aimed at extricating themselves from the consequences of the crisis, which they caused.”