- Claims duo are political neophytes, lack grassroots support
BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – Embattled National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole insists Governor Godwin Obaseki and his Deputy, Phillip Shuaibu are not only bad students, but political neophytes with no base in their localities within Edo State.
Oshiomhole said the duo, who claimed to have learnt from him, must certainly be very poor students because he could not have taught them to lose elections even in their domains.
In a statement that indicates widening cracks within the APC family in the South South state at the weekend, the former Governor said the twosome’s lack of grassroot support has been aptly demonstrated by the humiliating defeats they suffered in their polling units during the February 23, 2019 Presidential election.
To buttress his claims, the APC National Chairman said at the moment, the governor is being represented by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senator and House of Representative member at the National Assembly (NASS).
Similarly, he said the Deputy Governor Shuaibu also carries the same baggage, losing his polling unit during the Presidential election as well as the election that brought him into office as Deputy Governor.
The APC National Chairman described as laughable claims by the governor and his deputy that their actions are anchored on lessons from him on how to fight godfatherism, noting that they are indeed bad students as he never threatened to crush those who brought him into office.
According to Oshiomhole, who denied teaching them violence being witnessed today in the state and losing elections; “if you crush your people, who will you govern when you win”.
“I have always been a winner” and never taught them to lose elections or how to unleash violence on the people and threatening to crush them.
The statement signed by Comrade Oshiomhole’s Chief Press Secretary, Simon Egbuebulem also quoted him as saying that Governor Obaseki has unfortunately refused all entreaties to build on the gains of APC by allowing peace to reign in the party.
“I have read them on several occasions saying that I taught them all they are doing today. This is laughable because I never thought them how to lose elections.
“As we speak today, the governor (Obaseki) lost his ward, Local Government and senatorial district during the last Presidential election. As we speak, the governor is being represented by the PDP in his Federal constituency and senatorial district.
“These in my view were early morning signals about the need to change tactics, stop threatening people and saying you will crush them. Who are you crushing?
“But I won my entire senatorial district for Mr President and I am being represented by an APC senator and House of Representatives member.
“Then his Deputy, Philip, in Jattu where he comes from, in his polling booth where he and his family voted, Philip Shaibu lost. He lost his booth during his own governorship election in which he was standing as Deputy governorship candidate. So if he learnt from me, he should have learnt well because I never lost election in my village.”
The former NLC President said as a grassroots politician, he remains with the people at all times, boasting that; “There is no body in my village who can work against me because when I go home, I relate with them, I am an ordinary man. You must know when to talk tough and when to talk soft.
“When I am in my village, I am just like an ordinary man. I argue and play with my people. The only man that was in PDP in my village, the youths said how can he be doing PDP? But I said no, you have to persuade him to join us.
“And today that young man is one of my PAs. So, he (Philip) is one of my very poor students. Kakhi is not a lesson and fighters must be tactful and strategic. No sensible men will fight people who voted for them. Those they are fighting now, some of them delivered 95 per cent of the votes in their units while they lost their own areas.”
He alleged that Governor Obaseki and his deputy have sadly unleashed mayhem on members of the APC in Edo state, saying; “even as a professional fighter, you choose your fight. The other day when Shaibu led thugs to my village with Okada riders and he said during my court case Okada people were following us. It shows how poorly he can interpret situations. Did we ever use Okada riders to intimidate ACN elements then, never.
“And those Okada riders were not hired by me, they bought into my vision. They have heard of me as President of NLC and on that basis they all voted for me, so when I was rigged out they took the fight to the PDP.
“The problem is that Philip does not know the difference between family disagreement that can be settled through conversation and political opponents that need to be fought and defeated. But even my language is defeat my opponent and not crush my party members.”
Giving further insight on the situation in Edo State, Comrade Oshiomhole said; “It is only Philip and his boss that talks about crushing APC members. If you become a crushing machine and God enable you to crush your people who will you govern when you win?
“When elections start between us and PDP unleash that energy, you cannot possibly be making electoral sense by using your office or position to attack, brutalize and intimidate and even lie against your party members. And all I have tried to do is to tell him (Obaseki) that you will never have a political party that looks like a golf course.
“A political party is like a forest, in that forest you have many animals. The politician is the guy who goes into this forest, knowing fully well that all the dangerous animals are there but he is going for the antelope or the grass cutter which he wants to use to feed his family. He goes there get his antelope or grass cutter home and feast without being crushed.
“So the minimum requirement of political leadership is to be able to deal with all kinds of characters, use them to get what you want. And I said to him, you have to manage these people because for me as long as they deliver their units on the day of election you have to manage them.”
Looking back at his time in Edo State government house, the APC National Chairman said; “In my first term election when I didn’t know the politicians too well, I won Oredo, Egor, and Ikpoba-Okha. We were only rigged out in Ovia and Orhiomwon in 2007.
“It is those Benin votes and the small we got from Edo North that we used to defend my mandate in court. Look at the way they humiliated Ogbemudia’s daughter for refusing to abuse me, the woman only said I cannot abuse Comrade rather as a mother I will join hands to settle the dispute between you people. But they said they don’t want settlement they want to crush. Three days later, they crushed the woman by suspending her as Chairman of Egor Local Government.
“So it is a pity that they don’t know the difference between internal contestation and internal mechanism for resolving them and fighting the opposition.
“Killing is out of the kind of politics we practice; maiming is out of it. Now I told him Mr governor, with all the reservation people were raising, talking about history, we convinced them to support you and it worked for you and you got elected, even if the margin of defeat was not as much as my own, but they worked for you.
“Then why do you now want to distort the system by creating so called new political structure, is there a structural defect? He said he will retire all the politicians but I said to him will you retire somebody you did not hire.
“Most of these politicians I met them in the business. I had to go to their houses to convince them that I want their support and when they gave me that support, I worked hard to appreciate them. So, if this is being foolish I want to remain foolish. As long as they work for me and Edo remained the only state in the South South that we have APC then.”
Sounding less combative, the former Labour Leader said; “The only thing I invested in defeating PDP in Edo state is my integrity and my capacity to persuade and mobilize. Politics is a leveller, people who are detained by their ego can’t make it in politics.
“I do not know any political party where you don’t have disagreement. But as leaders, all you need to do is to call them and explain yourself. If it happens they are right and you are wrong, you apologize.”
“For me, this remain the way to go; calling everybody together. Not the clapping society where you selected those who praise you to high heavens”, Comrade Oshiomhole said