Chairman of the All Progressives Congress in Edo State Anselm Ojezua insists Governor Godwin Obaseki, not the APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole, is the leader of the party in the state.
Ojezua, who spoke with reporters after a meeting with party leaders in Edo North at Jattu-Uzaire, Etsako West Local Government Area of the state on Saturday, said Oshiomhole remained suspended from the party.
Obaseki and his immediate predecessor, Oshiomhole, are locked in a fierce battle over the control of the party in the state.
The APC in the state is divided into two factions, with one loyal to the governor and the other loyal to Oshiomhole.
However, Ojezua said that there was no division in the state chapter of the party.
He said, “There’s nothing to be afraid of as no man is God, and God is firmly standing with Edo people. Secondly, you will hear them say the APC in Edo State is divided; is there anybody of substance in Edo North who is not here today?
“That division is in the imagination of some people, not in the APC. The APC in Edo is intact and will soon announce a committee for mobilisation of new members from across the 18 LGAs. We must remain focused and avoid distractions from enemies of our great party.”
He added, “Whatever is happening in Edo today is not new; this is the third time. The first was between (the late) Chief (Tony) Anenih, who claimed to be the leader of the party and (ex-governor) Lucky Igbinedion, who the constitution empowered to be the leader. For the records, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, not even that of the APC, recognises two leaders – the President of the country and the governor of the state.
“So, Anenih said he was the leader, we said no, that it was Lucky Igbinedion because he was the governor. In the end, they won by manipulation but the people of Edo State went to court and Oshiomhole was declared governor.
“The second phase was when Oshiomhole became governor and some people said they are the leaders of the party in the state, that Oshiomhole isn’t a politician but a trade union leader. As usual, we insisted that Oshiomhole as the governor remained the leader. This same Ize-Iyamu he is bringing now said he would decide who would lead the party in Edo State. When we resisted, he got annoyed and threatened to quit the party. He specifically said once he left, the APC in Edo State would die. But years after he left, has the APC died? No, instead we are stronger, formidable and united.’’