Governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress are scheduled to meet with the party’s National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu soonest.
The meeting, which is believed to be connected to last-minute efforts to ensure the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, clinches the party’s ticket for the forthcoming governorship election in the state, is scheduled to hold today (Sunday).
It was not clear if the governors’ emissaries would meet with the former Lagos Governor at his Bourdillon residence in Ikoyi, Lagos or it would be a virtual meeting.
A source privy to the development and who preferred to be anoymous disclosed on Saturday that the meeting was at the instance of the governors, noting that a delegation of the governors would meet with Tinubu to seek his intervention preparatory to further talks with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on the issue.
The source said, “The meeting with Tinubu is essentially to seek his intervention in the crisis rocking the party in Edo State. Part of the conditions being worked on, which the governor is expected to meet, is to swear in the remaining members of the state House Assembly who have yet to be sworn in.”
About a year after the Assembly was inaugurated, only 10 out of the 24 members of the Assembly had so far been sworn in. This is due to the crisis that surrounded the issuance of the proclamation of the Assembly by the governor.
In defence of the action, the governor claimed that those who had yet to assume office refused to be sworn in.
Talking about the peace move, a top-ranking party source said, “The train has since left the station. It is too late in the day to find a common ground on the Obaseki issue.
“We expect all aspirants (governorship) to go to the field to test their popularity. This is the language of democracy.”
Conversely, another party source said, “In politics, nothing is cast in stone. Old foes can become friends with the right incentives. After all, there are no permanent friends or enemies.”
One of the APC governors, while addressing Journalists, said he and his colleagues would do whatever they could do to save Obaseki out of what he called the “gang up against one of us.”
He stressed that the governors would not want Obaseki to be treated “as an outsider when those ganging up against him are not accusing him of non-performance.”
He added, “We will see what we can do to make things right. Whatever is in our power as progressive governors we would do in the interest of our party and in the interest of the people of Edo State. We may also see the President on the issue.”
Asked if the direct primary election sanctioned by the party at the national level was not meant to swing the result of the governorship primary against Obaseki, the source said “we shall see.”
Notwithstanding, the party’s National Organising Secretary, Emma Ibidiro, has continued to assure all aspirants that the party will ensure that everyone is treated fairly.
He said, “The APC is a party that is given to observing the rule of law, our constitution and the guidelines in all our activities and I want to assure the aspirants that this party will offer every aspirant the level playing ground.
“I want to assure you that contrary to what people may think, I am very optimistic that the forthcoming primary will prove this party as a party that will be fair to all concerned.”
Also, the party’s National Vice Chairman (South-South), Hilliard Eta, expressed confidence that the party would come out stronger after its primary in Edo State.
“True democracy demands the involvement of citizens in decision making. For us as a political party, we will continue to give all our members a voice.
“Edo is an APC state and we intend to keep it so with the support of Edo citizens and residents who will be voting in that election. Our primary is an internal party business, we will ensure justice and fairness to all. “
However, it would be recalled that a few days ago, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who recently defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the APC, had announced himself as the consensus candidate chosen by seven APC aspirants. He made the announcement while speaking to journalists after collecting his expression of interest and nomination forms at the APC National Headquarters last week.
Ize-Iyamu said: “I am happy to announce that at the end of the day, I was chosen amongst this formidable group,” .
Political watchers are of the opinion that the NWC led by the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, is supporting Ize-Iyamu as it was recently agreed by the NWC that the direct mode of primary would be used to select the party’s candidate on June 22.
Oshiomhole, who handed over to Obaseki as the Governor of Edo State, has been at loggerheads with his successor over political issues in the state.
Both men had on many occasions accused each other of planning to cause crisis in the state.
Oshiomhole had accused Obaseki and a few governors of teaming up to remove him as the national chairman of the ruling party until the intervention of the President some months ago.
President Buhari stopped the aggrieved members of the party, which included some ministers, governors and members of the NWC from conveying the party’s National Executive Committee meeting where Oshiomhole was meant to be sacked.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, at a briefing at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on February 5 said the commission had fixed September 19 for the governorship election in Edo State.