Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, seeking a fresh ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the September governorship election, has asked the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, to stay away from the June primaries where the standard-bearer of the party will emerge.
The governor alleged that Oshiomhole has a favoured candidate to emerge as the standard-bearer of the party for the September election.
Speaking at the national secretariat of the party on Wednesday, after submitting his nomination form, he equally said his visit to the national leader of the party,
Senator Bola Tinubu, was a trouble-shooting move to ensure that peace returns to the Edo State chapter of the party.
He said, “The reason I went to see our national leader is that I don’t want the party to tear apart. I am a man of peace.
“For me and my colleagues, we cannot see a party we built destroyed; we cannot see a ruling party so weakened, and whatever it will take to secure peace, to secure harmony in the party, we are prepared to do.
“That is why I joined my colleagues to go and see the leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, to assure him that we are all working for the same cause, 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 ego and work for our party and the unity of our country.
“On a final note, I am actively pursuing peace, actively pursuing harmony in our party, particularly at home and I believe that we will secure peace.
“However, I am using this opportunity to call on Comrade Oshiomhole to recuse himself from the Edo State nomination process because he is an interested party. It is against natural justice for a man to be a judge in his own case.
“So, I think the honourable thing to do is to recuse himself and let us have a free process, reconcile and build our party.”
The governor also denied speculation that he plans to dump the party for the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
It has been speculated that Obaseki had been assured of an automatic ticket by the PDP. But the governor said he has no plan to dump the APC, adding that he was determined to win the June 22 primaries, no matter the option adopted by the national secretariat under the leadership of Oshiomhole.
Obaseki is believed to have a preference for indirect primaries as against the direct option chosen by the APC National Working Committee (NWC).
He 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-style politician. I represent a new direction of politics that is based on facts and truth, not lies.”
Governor Obaseki justified his aspiration for a fresh mandate as he restated his mission to build on what he has achieved in the South-South state in the last three years.
He said, “Three years is not enough; four years is not enough to crystalise all these reforms. So, another four years will give me that opportunity to consolidate on what we have done and that is a promise of APC.
“We are a reformist party, we are a progressive party. That’s why I am here today to indicate my interest and my desire to run for another term as governor of Edo State so that I can continue in the service of my people.”
Meanwhile, the APC has, so far, realised N135 million from the sale of expression of interest and nomination forms to six governorship aspirants from Edo State.
The aspirants, Governor Obaseki, Mr Osagie IzeIyamu, Mr Osaro Obaz, Dr Pius Obudu, Mr Mathew Iduoriyekemwe and Mr Chris Ogiemwonyi, all paid N22.5 million each, being N20 million for the nomination forms and N2.5 million for the expression of interest forms.