Friday Olokor and Sola Shittu
Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki says the All Progressives Congress’ National Working Committee has no power to decide how the party governorship primary in the state will be conducted.
The primary has been scheduled to hold next month, with the governorship poll fixed for September.
The APC NWC headed by Adams Oshiomhole has ordered direct primary.
Obaseki has been locked in a fierce battle with Oshiomhole over the control of the party in Edo.
The governor, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, on Friday, said the NWC could not take any decisions on the primary without the National Executive Committee of the party.
Obaseki said, “That report was a scoop, there was no meeting of the NWC in which the decision was taken. If the Oshiomhole camp is having it at the back of their minds that it is what they want to do, they don’t have the power to do that.
“The power to direct what kind of primary to do rests on NEC and NEC at the last meeting decided that because of the dissenting voices, all modes of primary should be decided by the different state chapters as it was done in Kogi and Bayelsa. In Kogi, for example, they determined the kind of primary they wanted, and in Bayelsa, the same thing happened.
“So, in Edo, the same method will be adopted, according to the rules of NEC. We will now write the NWC to say this is the mode of primary that we want.”
Osagie said a statement from a senior member of the party and former governor of the state (Chief John Odigie-Oyegun) had already confirmed that the President had adopted Obaseki and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, as the preferred candidates for the governorship elections unless they decided not to run.
The issue of the conduct of the primary has become a major topic among political observers in the state even as the various political groups strategise towards presenting a formidable aspirant against Obaseki in the primary.
Our correspondent learnt that the direct primary would involve all registered card-carrying members of the party in each council.
However, it remains unclear how the Edo APC’s direct primary will be conducted as the party remains fictionalised, with one side loyal to Obaseki and the other to Oshiomhole.
Meanwhile, a political analyst and former Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof Julius Iyasele, said except something was done urgently to resolve the crisis, the state could be heading to anarchy.
He said, “I do not see how the primary will be conducted in such a way that a common candidate will be presented in the Edo governorship election as things are now. Both parties have remained adamant and stuck to their guns; the search for truce by sincere men in this matter has failed on many occasions. I am afraid we are heading for anarchy.”