By Bisi Olaniyi, Southsouth Bureau Chief
Former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole on Monday resumed his political battle with Governor Godwin Obaseki over the non-inauguration of 14 APC House of Assembly members-elect.
Oshiomhole also accused Obaseki of marginalising Edo North Senatorial District by not siting a single project there.
The 14 APC members were elected more than two years ago, but their inauguration were stalled due to the battle between the former governor and Obaseki over the party’s governorship ticket for last year.
Obaskeki, who was an APC chieftain, defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when APC denied him a rerun ticket.
The remaining 10 members of the House of Assembly loyal to Obaseki sit in the Government House, Benin.
Oshiomhole, who addressed an enlarged meeting of APC leaders in Edo North at Iyamho, his country home, said it was unjustifiable that the 14 lawmakers-elect had not been inaugurated.
He also spoke on his tenure as APC chairman, saying he was thankful to God for the privilege to serve.
He said: “The 14 members elected to the Edo House of Assembly on APC platform, till now, have not been inaugurated. But, they committed no sin.
“They are being denied their right to be sworn in to represent their constituents. God will deliver justice to them in His own way and at His own determined time.”
The former governor said he believed that APC members in Edo North were “proud of themselves”, despite the fact that “as of today, no project by Obaseki is ongoing in their Senatorial district, apart from constituency projects by APC legislators in the National Assembly and those influenced by the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba.”
He added: “The unity of Edo North Senatorial District must be maintained, serviced, and sustained. The only way to sustain it is through unity of purpose and constant meetings at all levels.”
Oshiomhole pleaded with the APC faithful to keep faith with the platform, in spite of the current challenges facing them in the state.
His words: “Since 2012, APC has not lost any position in Edo North Senatorial District, from Edo House of Assembly, House of Representatives to Senate, not because the people elected are perfect, but because our people are determined, based on party discipline, that we must vote for the party’s candidates at all times.”
Oshiomhole added that irrespective of the outcome of last year’s governorship election, members of the APC still had enough reasons to sustain self-pride and confidence for winning Edo North.
He stressed: “I wish to plead with leaders of APC to always have all-inclusive meetings to carry everybody along at the ward, local and state levels. Politics is a game of numbers. Everybody is something and important in politics.
“There are some grumblings and quarrels in some local government areas involving some youths and women. That is understandable, because once we relate together as human beings, sometimes, there will be quarrels. But, we as leaders must realise that we have a duty to settle such quarrels and put them behind us.”
Oshiomhole hailed the leaders at the meeting for remaining steadfast, in spite of what he called ”sponsored negative stories” against some of them.
On his removal as APC chairman, Oshiomhole said: “I have every reason to be grateful to God for His grace upon me. It is on record that I did not only do eight years as governor of Edo State, but the party also worked hard to have my successor elected on the platform of APC. It does not matter what happened thereafter.
“I was also privileged to become the national chairman of our party, the APC. It does not matter even if I spent just two days in office. All that matters is that I occupied the office and it is a history that cannot be changed and for which I am grateful to God.
“It is for this reason that I have an obligation to continue to maintain and sustain the ladder, which by the help of other people, I used to climb up, so that others too can take advantage of the ladder to even climb higher than I did.”
The representative of Edo North in the National Assembly, Francis Alimikhena, thanked the APC members for their resilience.
Other party chieftains at the meeting were Peter Akpatason; Johnson Ughuma, Abubakar Momoh, Sunday Mayaki, Joseph Ugheoke; Chief Lucky James, Mika Amanokhai, Folly Ogedegbe, Prof. Marcel Okhakhu, Saliu Ahmed, Alhaji Jim Garuba, Victor Oshioke, Anselm Agabi and Abdulganiyu Lawani.