Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki on Wednesday asked the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomole to stay clear from the June 22 party's Governorship primary in the state. He stated this shortly after submitting his nomination form to the National Organizing Secretary of the party, Bar. Emma Ibidiro at the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja. According to the governor, "I am using this opportunity to call on Comrade Oshiomole to recluse himself from the Edo nomination process because he is an interest party. It is against natural justice for a man to be a judge in his own case. So I think the honorable thing to do is to recluse himself and lets have a free process and lets reconcile and build our party". Asked to respond to allegation that he (Obaseki) betrayed Oshiomole, who installed him to power in 2016, the governor said the reverse was the case, as he said that it was the national chairman that betrayed "In life everybody get helped, everybody get assisted. The person you talked about (Oshiomole) had no money when he left Labour to contest. We knew what we did to make him Governor. I sacrificed eight years of my life probono, I collected no Kobo to serve him (Oshiomole) in Edo. "Today we know what we have built because of where we started from. So when you talk of betrayal, the biggest betrayal can be when people betray a cause, when they betray an idea. That is the greatest betrayal of all. It is like betraying God. When you said to God, this is what I stand for and then God gives you power then you turn around and do the exact opposite. There is no greater betrayal than that. So when you talk about betrayal let us be very clear. I want to put it on record that I am grateful; he assisted me just as I assisted him. I know the sacrifices we made to make him National Chairman. So what are we talking about?" When asked why he went to see the party's national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and to the Presidency, Obaseki said: "The reason why I went to see our National Leader is that I don't want the party turn apart. I am a man of peace. "For me and my colleague governors we cannot see a party we built destroyed, we cannot see a ruling party be so weakened and whatever it will take to secure peace, to secure harmony in the party, we are prepared to, I am prepared to make. "That is why I joined my colleagues to go and see the leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to assure him that we are all working for the same course, we are all working to build our party. From 26 States, we are now 20. We don't want to lose any more state, there is really no reason to. We should all drop our egos and work for our party and the unity of our country." On the speculations that he has concluded plans to dump APC for the opposition PDP. Obaseki said, "It is very absurd. I am someone that is very exposed. How can I collect from two parties when we have rulings in the past disqualifying people on that. I am a party man to the core. APC is my party because I come from a progressive political family. I believe in the ideals of APC, I believe in our President, I believe in what he stands for so I am a party man to the core. I am not an old styed politician. I represent a new direction of politics that is based on facts and truth not lies". Another aspirant, who submitted his form on Wednesday, Matthew Iduoriyekemwe, said the open door policy of the party prompted him to join the race, adding that the denial of right of refusal to the incumbent further strengthened his resolve to view for the party's ticket as its flag bearer at the September 19 governorship election. He, however, said he will prefer indirect mode of primary for the party's June 22 governorship primary. Also speaking when he returned his nomination form, the former Minister of State, Works, Engineer Chris Ogiemwonyi, said, "Edo state needs a governor who has empathy, love and could care for the people", adding that he intend to give priority attention to security, unemployment, poor healthcare and poverty.
- Jimi Anjolaoluwa - Abuja