Edo: Is APC Travelling A Familiar Road? | PAVA MEDIA
Mon. Jan 18th, 2021

Edo: Is APC Travelling A Familiar Road?

Edo: Is APC Travelling A Familiar Road?
By Dare Adekanmbi, Jun 14, 2020
The party controlling the central government and most states in the country today, the All Progressives Congress (APC), went into the 2019 elections with what could be described as a measure of great glory, but came out with less, scathed. Although it won the most prized position of the president, the number of states in its control dwindled.
It did not challenge the biggest opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for the governorship of Rivers State in the 2019 elections. In Zamfara, the APC was sent packing from the state on account of a pre-election matter, the non conduct of primaries in the state by the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
In the governorship election held in the oil-rich Bayelsa State after the 2019 general election, APC won massively, trouncing the PDP to a distant second position. But the Supreme Court, barely 24 hours to inauguration, sacked APC governor-elect, David Lyon, on account that his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, with whom he shared a joint ticket, forged the certificate he presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
As it stands on the country’s political arithmetic map today, APC controls 20 of the 36 states, while PDP leads in 15, leaving the remaining one state to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Governorship election is due to hold in two of the 20 APC states, Edo and Ondo, later in the year. Like in the previous troublous states, peace is far from present in the party in those states. While a group of aspirants seems determined to stop the re-election of Rotimi Akeredolu in Ondo, it is a case of bitter duel between the godfather, Oshiomhole, and his godson, Governor Godwin Obaseki, in Edo.
The fratricidal political war in the Edo APC unfolded in a new chapter on Friday as a screening committee set up by the Oshimhole-led NWC to whittle down the number of aspirants disqualified Governor Obaseki and two others from participating in the primary slated for June 22.
The chairman of the committee, Professor Jonathan Ayuba, explained that the decision was taken because Obaseki claimed to have obtained a Higher School Certificate (HSC) from the Institute of Continuing Education, Benin City, but only presented an attestation, a document that showed he only attended the institute.
“It was observed however that no educational certificate such as Higher School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) is known in the Nigerian educational system. Even then, the same HSLC was never presented in the course of the screening exercise. The aspirant admitted that he had never collected it.
“The attestation from the Institute of Continuing Education, Benin from where the alleged HSLC which was indicated in the field of attendance as obtained is of no consequence, as it only attests that Obaseki was a student of the Institute. So what we had was like an attendance, it was not a result.
“On the NYSC certificate dated 6th August 1980, the committee observed that he bears the name “Obasek” Godwin. While this may be an error on the part of the issuing authority, we observed however that the aspirant has not taken any step ever to have the anomaly corrected by the issuing authority,” he said.
The falcon (Obaseki) and the falconer (Oshiomhole) have been embroiled in a running battle over the former’s re-election bid. It was speculated that the refusal of Obaseki to be spoonfed by the APC chair sprouted the row that has germinated in a seeming war without end. Obaseki, like King Richard in Richard II, believes as governor, he was “not born to sue but to command.”
At first, it was considered a storm in the tea cup, a mere family dispute that would fizzle out, but the bitter clamour of the two eager tongues soon degenerated to the level of unbridled violence, with the actors readying troops on all fronts to purge their choler with a bang.
When plans were perfected to unhorse Oshiomhole as APC national chair, the governor was said to have seen the development as one that would bring a huge relief to him politically and consequently lent his support. However, lifeline came the way of Oshiomhole who had earlier been removed from office, giving him an opportunity to go for broke and seek revenge.
The issues raised by the committee, whose report was accepted with gladness from the Oshiomhole’s NWC, have thrown up some questions. One, Obaseki contested as governor on the platform of APC four years ago and was the darling of Oshiomhole then. The APC did set up a committee to screen aspirants and the committee gave Obaseki a clean bill of health for the election. Are the documents Obaseki presented four years ago the same documents he tendered to the screening committee? If the answer is in the affirmative, what has changed between then and now?
On the issue of the missing ‘i’ in front of the governor’s surname as contained in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificate, an error the committee itself admitted could have been made by the NYSC which issued the certificate, should not the Ayuba-led committee have taken the matter up with the NYSC as it did on the issue of the governor’s university certificate which the University of Ibadan (UI) authenticated?
The issue raised by the committee concerning the admissibility of HSC as evidence of education in the country falls flat on its face. HSC was in operation in the country in the 60s and 70s, re-introduced in the 80s before it was finally abolished. It was a certificate that prequalified its holders for direct entry examination into universities, an equivalent of today’s A Level examination. Does the abolition of the examination mean those who sat for the examination and are holding its certificate did not go to school or are not educated?
The committee did have a point in speaking to the non-presentation of the HSC before it by the governor who only tendered an attestation. What it however failed to do was to ask the governor to present copies of the certificate and the original for sighting. This, the committee said, it did in the case of the governor’s UI certificate, which it admitted was produced by the governor on “further probing.”
Observers wonder what the issues of non-presentation of HSC and the missing letter in the NYSC discharge certificate amount to, especially against the backdrop of the decision of the Supreme Court in Atiku Abubakar versus Muhammadu Buhari over the 2019 presidential election. Atiku had prayed the Apex Court to pronounce Buhari unqualified to contest the election having failed to present a secondary school leaving certificate as well as the discrepancy in the orthography of Buhari’s first name, ‘Mohammed’ and ‘Muhammadu’ in the documents presented to INEC.
The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, said Buhari was “eminently qualified” to contest in the election. The court went further to say that no law mandates any candidate to present its certificate to INEC. The only thing required, according to it, was evidence of education up to secondary school, which is the minimum educational requirement for aspiring presidential candidates.
The NWC of APC perhaps adopted the screening committee’s report under the pretense that it would not want a repeat of the Bayelsa scenario. What pundits say is that there is a difference between the certificate issue involving Lyon’s deputy, Degi-Eremie and what was raised against Obaseki. The committee did not accuse Obaseki of certificate forgery; it only said HSC was not presented and queried the orthography of Obaseki’s surname on NYSC certificate.
To observers monitoring the build-up to the Edo political ‘war,’ the screening committee whose members were nominated by Oshiomhole could not do a better job at acting the script of a vengeful Oshiomhole.
Perhaps aware that the committee, appointed by Oshiomhole was no more than a committee of Sadducees before whose members he would never have got a contrary judgment, Obaseki said he would not appeal the decision. The political ambience is suffused with reports of him joining the PDP to realise his second coming as Edo governor.
A chieftain of APC form Edo and its immediate past national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has condemned Obaseki’s disqualification as a “hatchet job,” warning that the party would pay dearly if the decision is upheld.
He came down hard on Oshiomhole in a statement by him: “The disqualification of Obaseki by the APC screening panel is a hatchet job aimed at installing a stooge that will allow some people unfettered access to Edo Treasury.
“While not a surprise, the disqualification is clear indication that internal democracy has been murdered in APC, a party which we founded on the principles of fair play and good conscience! I daresay that APC will suffer dire consequences in Edo State if this disqualification is not speedily reversed. I hope that Oshiomhole will not go down in history as the undertaker of APC,” he said.
The committee said it also noted that one of the other two aspirants similarly not cleared was disqualified for instituting a case against the party. Already there is a litany of litigation on the APC primary in the state. Can the party afford another Zamfara scenario given that the outcome of the various court cases could go either way?
Should Obaseki contest under the PDP and win, will he have succeeded in retiring Oshiomhole politically at least in Edo State? What does PDP takeover of Edo mean for 2023 elections? Can the APC which lost Adamawa, Bauchi and Oyo to the PDP in 2019 afford to risk the ongoing needless war?Should Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, PDP’s guber candidate in 2016 election in the state and now the favourite to clinch the APC ticket win the election, what happens if the outcome of the cases in courts says otherwise?
Chief Bisi Akande, interim national chairman of the party at formation, was appointed to chair a reconciliation committee with a mandate to smoothen rough edges in the party in Edo and other crisis-ridden chapters. What role is the committee playing in the Edo drama? Akande had condemned the growing litigious attitude of the party members, warning it portended danger for the party and its future.
Is President Buhari, who is the leader of the party, enjoying the spectacle in Edo and does not see the need to intervene? Is he on Oshiomhole’s side? Has he forsaken Governor Obaseki?
Whichever way the pendulum swings between the two actors who are not ready to yield an inch of their governed territory, there will be scars of the war either personally or jointly and severally.
Edo: Is APC Travelling A Familiar Road?
Edo: Is APC Travelling A Familiar Road?
Edo: Is APC Travelling A Familiar Road?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *