Political tension has continued to grip Edo State, South-south Nigeria, as the rift between the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, and the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, deepens.
In what appeared like a ban on Mr Oshiomhole, the deputy governor of Edo, Philip Shaibu, said on Thursday that the APC chairman cannot enter the state without the permission from the governor, Mr Obaseki.
Fourteen House of Assembly members-elect have alleged that there is a plot to assassinate Mr Oshiomhole.
Premium Times reports that Mr Shaibu made the declaration while addressing a rally at Egor local government area to welcome the chairman of the Edgor local government council, Eghe Ogbemudia, who has just been recalled from suspension by Governor Obaseki.
“We have discovered that anywhere he (Oshiomhole) goes, there is violence. So now we have said until he takes permission from governor,” Mr Shaibu said amidst cheers from the crowd.
“He cannot come to Edo State because we are peaceful people. Edo state is peaceful, he should not come and create crisis for us.”
The video containing the deputy governor’s remarks is currently trending on Twitter.
Mr Shaibu, who addressed the crowd mainly in Pidgin English, said Mr Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo, taught them how to fight “godfather”.
Mr Oshiomhole helped Mr Obaseki to succeed him as governor in 2016 against all the odds. Both men parted ways afterward and since then the Edo state government has repeatedly accused Mr Oshiomhole of wanting to impose himself as godfather to the governor.
The local Edo House of Assembly and the APC in the state have been factionalised because of the rift. The state chapter of APC has suspended Mr Oshiomhole from the party and has refused to recognise him as their national chairman.
“Him think say we be fool? Time don reach make we let am know say wetin him teach us we don perfect am and everything wey we go dey do na wetin he teach us,” Mr Shaibu said of Mr Oshiomhole at the Thursday rally.
“Him teach us make we dey fight who?” He asked the crowd.
“Godfather!” The crowd shouted.
The deputy governor continued: “So are we not fighting godfather now?
“Whether him na godfather, whether another person na godfather, wetin him tell us be say make we dey fight godfather.
“The Bible say, teach your children the way of the lord, so that when they grow up they will follow dat wey!
“Oshiomhole teach us, when we were young, the way to fight godfather, so that when we are big we will continue to abide it. No be so?
“Somebody wey be national chairman, though we don suspend am now. If you be national chairman of any party, the way wey Oshiomhole dey come say he wan receive people for Edo without permission from our governor, him fit go Kano like dat say to receive people to APC without the permission of Kano governor?”
The crowd shouted “no!”
“Can Oshiomhole go to Imo state without the permission of the governor, say dem go do rally for there?
“Can Oshiomhole go to Kaduna state, say him dey go receive people for Kaduna state without el-Rufai approving?
“Na our governor him see finish? Him see our governor finish! Him see all of us finish?
“Time don reach to tell-am say when he was governor of Edo state, Oyegun no fit come here say to come receive people for party here?” Mr Shaibu said.
Meanwhile, the Edo State Government has berated the suspended National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole over plots to disrupt peace and safety in the state, noting that his schemes have taken a dangerous dimension.
In a statement made available to NewsWireNGR, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said the embattled National Chairman and his co-dissidents in the proscribed Edo Peoples Movement (EPM) are hellbent on causing a breakdown of law and order in the state.
Osagie restated that the Edo State Government would spare nothing under the laws of the land in dealing decisively with the merchants of violence.
The statement reads, “The complaint of an alleged attack by one of the leaders of the proscribed Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), Mr. Henry Idahagbon, is the latest step in the plot by the suspended National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to disrupt peace and safety in Edo State.”
“Today’s incident is another proof that members of the amorphous group are at war with themselves and the people of Edo State. The blame rightly should be dropped at the feet of the embattled National Chairman, who continues to violate orders and promote violence in the state. He continued, “Comrade Oshiomhole has disobeyed orders by the Nigeria Police Force at the Federal and State levels not to hold public gatherings against the directives of the state government.
“His actions have led to the hospitalization of tens of Edo people and the destruction of property valued in millions of naira. From Edo South to Edo North, he has traded in violence and left many in anguish in the wake of his strong-headed approach to entrenching himself as a godfather in the state. Even with this, he has not relented, but rather continues to fan the embers of division, acting as if he is above the law in the state.”
“This incident is the latest in Comrade Oshiomhole’s schemes, as his lieutenants continue to perpetuate violence with his overt and covert support, which will not be tolerated by the Edo State Government,” Osagie stressed.
While calling on the Inspector General of Police and the Presidency to call Comrade Oshiomhole to order, Osagie assured Edo people that government would continue to resist attempts to fracture the peace and safety in the State. “His ambition to become a godfather in Edo State is not worth the safety of the 4 million people in our state,” he reiterated.