There are emerging indications that the former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole during his visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, on Monday, may have failed in his blackmail of Governor Godwin Obaseki to attract the president’s favour. Besides the protest of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of a video leakage revealing alleged conspiracy by Oshiomhole to induce the President to deploy security operatives to arrest prominent leaders in Edo State supporting Governor Godwin Obaseki for the September 19 governorship election, Oshiomhole had in a media interaction after the visit to the president admitted that they had to deliberate on why a particular candidate cannot be trusted and why another can be trusted. The campaign activities of the former APC chairman clearly show his avowed animosity against Governor Obaseki in the build up to the election. Invariably, Oshiomhole’s untrusted candidate, which he had repeated staged, is Obaseki. Perhaps, his trusted candidate, this time, is Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the APC.
National Daily inquiry revealed that the President did not consider Oshiomhole’s report as necessary. A Presidency source, on the condition of anonymity, disclosed that the former APC chairman, who imposed himself to lead the party’s governorship election campaign in Edo State, was unable to convince President Buhari with his briefing on the Edo governorship election campaign. The source said the urgency with which Oshiomhole made the visit to the President leaving behind the party’s candidate in the election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and not consulting with the APC Campaign Council for the Edo election led by Governor Umar Ganduje of Kano State, before the visit, raised suspicion of conspiracy and distrust. He said that such visit cannot be without the candidate or members of the party’s Campaign Council.
The presidency source added that the former chairman’s briefing did not correspond with daily reports of campaign activities in Edo State. The president was said to have merely given him audience; being conscious of the ploy of blackmail and conspiracy to score cheap point for sympathy.
However, in his media interaction after the visit to President Buhari, Oshiomhole hypothetically took over the job of the president’s media team, alerting that President Buhari reiterated his commitment to free and fair governorship election in Edo State.
The former APC chairman had stated: “it is not that you should just say we should trust one candidate and why we cannot trust the other one; and that is easy to explain because he abandoned the projects that will determine the welfare of Edo people.”
Oshiomhole decalred: “so, I discussed this with Mr. President, and we say we just need good security. If APC man commits an offence, arrest him; if a PDP man commits an offence, arrest him.
“Once it is not about sermon, sermon does not change the heart of the devil. What changes the heart of men is the fear of sanction. And once one person is arrested from APC, another person is arrested from PDP, if they are found to be in unlawful possession of firearms and they misuse those firearms, and they are arrested and prosecuted, the message is clear.”
The former APC chairman further complained that Governor Obaseki had said he has immunity with the Deputy Governor, Shaibu. He however, protested: “that is true, they have immunity. But it is also unlawful that the thugs they use to carry unlawful firearms, as they did three days ago, when they got to a community and they found that there was no crowd, they have to use firearms to generate confusion and even went to seize the telephone of the Area Commander, an Assistant Commissioner, who was there to provide security for their rally.”
The former APC chairman also covertly chided Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for honouring Governor Obaseki’s invitation to commission non-existence project in Edo State. He said the governor has spent the first tenure signing Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of refinery in Edo State. According to Oshiomhole, “…the current governor spent all his time on Memorandum of Understanding for refinery, which means memorandum is not on ground. He got our Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to come and do ground breaking for an Industrial Park where he claimed that many Chinese and Singaporeans were anxious to come and they will locate factories and they will create 200,000 jobs.
“Now, that place has become kidnappers park because people rob and go into the bush, there is nothing going on there, not that the work is slow but nothing going on.”
Meanwhile, reports on violent attacks in the electioneering campaigns showed that PDP leaders and members have always been the victims. Oshiomhole may have engaged in self-defeatist logic; PDP, in his mind, would arm thugs to attack PDP members.
Gunmen struck at the gate of the Oba of Benin when PDP governors and party leaders visited the royal father before proceeding for the campaign kick off at the Sam Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.
Again, the community Oshiomhole referred to in his comment was identified as his home community.