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Ahead of the 2020 governorship election in Edo State, the supporters of Governor Godwin Obaseki and Comrades Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC have drawn battle lines in the state. This is in attestation to the face-off between both political gladiators.

The APC in Edo North senatorial district has vowed to resist alleged attempts by the Edo State government to tarnish the image of Oshiomhole, urging governor Obaseki to call his media team to order for allegedly embarking on a campaign of calumny against Oshiomhole.

A communiqué signed by High Chief Aloye, Chief (Alhaji) Usman Mogaji Charlton and Ahmed Musa Momoh states that “the meeting passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of the national chairman of the APC, Comrade Oshiomhole. We gathered to basically react to the publication in the Nation Newspapers, which tends to portray in bad light the party primaries conducted by the Oshiomhole led NWC.

“We have no doubt that the advert was orchestrated by those in Osadebey Avenue who rose to power and suddenly forgot how they got there. We condemned that publication and urged the State Government to stop playing hide and seek game in its attempt to rubbish the legacies of Oshiomhole which we will surely resist.

“The leaders also reaffirmed that the National Chairman remains the undisputed leader of APC in Edo North and Edo State respectively. They resolved to always stand by him and stand for him at all times. The leaders warned those attempting to destroy the hard-earned amiable character and reputation of the APC National Chairman to desist from such unwholesome practice.”

The genesis of tensions can be traced back to 2016 when Oshiomhole, the outgoing governor of the state then, handpicked Obaseki, who was then the chairman of the state Economic and Strategic Unit, as his successor against the advice of many stakeholders. Obaseki went on to win the elections.

Oshimhole must have neglected to emphasize the virtues of loyalty in his handover notes, for no sooner had Obaseki settled down than he went about hounding some of his predecessor’s most loyal men placed in strategic positions. While some were arrested and detained, others were summarily dismissed; the rest were unceremoniously run out of town. Only a few lucky ones either too entrenched or too low on the totem pole survived the purge. The governor also allegedly undermined some of the projects of the previous administration, like the Benin Central Hospital built by Oshiomhole which is yet to be opened several years after completion.

Since then, Oshiomhole has an axe to grind with his former protégé. And as the time approaches to choose the state’s number one citizen, he senses his opportunity to get his pound of flesh. The governor knows this too, hence the recent token attempts at conciliation ahead of the recent general election. His cause wasn’t helped by the party’s performance during the presidential and house of assembly elections as the party under his stewardship lost several seats to the PDP.

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