Still smarting from the spate of resignations that had hit the Godwin Obaseki-led Edo State government in the past few weeks, the Chairman, Edo 2020 Campaign Council of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dan Osi Orbih has accused the immediate past national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole of orchestrating the development. Orbih, also the National Vice-Chairman, South-south of the PDP, in an interview with Tell, alleged that those quitting the government were appointed by Oshiomhole. But countering the allegation, the APC told the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to look inwards for the cause of the governor’s political woes. The party warned the PDP to brace up for more of such resignations.
In the past few months, no fewer than five key officials of the state government had resigned their appointments aside other aides amidst ongoing political realignments ahead of the September 19, 2020 governorship election in the state. Starting in April with the resignation by the governor’s chief of staff, Taiwo Francis Akerele, others like the commissioner for information and strategy, Paul Ohonbamu, and that of environment and sustainability, Omua Oni-Okpaku were to follow suit.
The latest resignations which ruffled feathers in government circles were those of three Commissioners of the Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commission (EDSOGPADEC), who on Monday dropped their resignation letters. The affected commissioners are Osamwonyi Atu, Emmanuel Odigie and Rilwanu Oshiomhole, who represented Edo South, Edo Central and Edo North Senatorial districts respectively on the board of the Commission.
The gale of resignations continued on Tuesday morning when two top officials of the state post-primary education board, SPEB also took a walk from the administration. The Chairman of the board, Gabriel Oiboh, and the first member, who is also the former Leader of Uhunmwode local government council, Osanyemwere Osawe announced their resignations. Interestingly, no sooner they all dumped the government, than they pledged their loyalties to the governor’s main challenger, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
For Obaseki and his Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, it not only rains, it pours as the resignation tsunami also swept through the Obaseki/Shaibu Movement, OSM with the resignation on Tuesday of the assistant State Chairman of the political movement, Okoudoh Patrick. Patrick also resigned his appointment as a member of Edo State Waste Management Board. He said he was resigning for personal reasons.
On the same day, former aides of the governor and elected local government council officials who were allegedly illegally sacked or forced to resign after various acts of victimization by the government, also met with Ize-Iyamu and declared their support for his ambition.
Orbih has however accused Oshiomhole of playing God and contriving the spate of resignations. According to the immediate past state chairman of the PDP, “You can see that in the past few days, a lot of people who are serving in this government are resigning to join Oshiomhole in APC. You will recall a few months ago, the governor came out clearly to say the issues between him and Oshiomhole are not issues that border on development of the state; they are personal issues.
“One, he’s governor but he’s not governor. He said I am governor but I am not governor. Appointments, even from the federal level to the state level are not done by me. So, the recent resignations … When he joined PDP, there were leaders who felt that going by the composition of his government, he should dissolve all boards, he should dissolve his state executive council. But I was one of the people who stood firm and said leave them there. In no distant time, Edo people would see that what you told them that you were governor but you were not governor, that all appointments were made by one man, and that man is Adam’s Oshiomhole; very soon, they would see it because I knew, and I could see that in no time, since these people were appointed by Oshiomole, they were not going to remain in the government of Obaseki.
“So, you’ve been witnessing in the past few days, some board members who now call themselves commissioners; they were mere board members of oil and gas commission. Whether they call themselves commissioners or not, but the truth is now coming out; all the present government appointees, they were brought by Oshiomhole. The ones that resigned yesterday, one was his own junior brother, the same father, same mother. The other one was a junior brother to his late wife. So, these resignations you are seeing, oil and gas, serving commissioners, SPEB chairman; what do you expect? The man said he was governor but he was not governor. In terms of appointments, Oshiomhole was dictating those who should be given appointments. And in order not to say oh, the man is an ingrate, he’s not ready to work with his predecessor, he kept quiet. But it got to a point that he would no longer take it. He cried out and when he joined us, we said leave these people, on their own, they would go back to their benefactor. Today, it’s clear”.
Reminded that the affected persons in their resignation letters claimed that they were being put under pressure to join the PDP following the governor’s defection to the party, Orbih insisted that “You see, if you are instrumental to the appointment of your own blood brother, the same father the same mother, to a government and he now says I have parted ways with that man, if you are sincere, will you like to remain in that government? It was just a natural thing.”
He said Oshiomhole deliberately planned it in such a way as to embarrass the government. Orbih said rather than sit all of them down and instruct them to resign in one day, “But they want to make news out of nothing. They’ve planned it; another person will come out tomorrow I’m resigning; they say oh, more people are leaving Obaseki’s government. But I laugh”. He believed the resignations were inconsequential, citing a similar situation in Akwa Ibom ahead of the 2015 governorship elections.
“Akwa Ibom, before the last general elections, what is playing out today in Edo State played out in Akwa Ibom. Godswill Akpabio was responsible for most of the appointments in Akwa Ibom. Before the last election, about eight commissioners resigned from that government; about thirty something SSAs, to the governor resigned. But what happened at the election? Udom won. Just like in Akwa Ibom, Godwin Obaseki will win this election because the issues are very clear”.
Replying Orbih, the state chairman of the APC, David Imuse, a retired army Colonel, in a telephone interview blamed the governor’s lack of good human relations for the resignations. “Well, I don’t have much to say other than to tell you that the whole thing speaks for itself. This is a man (Obaseki) who singlehandedly made all his appointments and if he had good relationship with his subordinates and his appointees, they would not have been leaving him in droves.
“So, it only goes to show to the whole world that the man that just recently joined the PDP is not even known to PDP; they don’t know him. They should go and interview those who have worked with the governor that have left him. Was it Oshiomhole that appointed his chief of staff? Was it Oshiomhole that appointed his commissioner for information and that of environment? I don’t want to talk about the lesser mortals. When he constituted the board of Edo Oil and Gas Development Commission, was Oshiomhole there?”
According to Imuse, “So, you see, for those who don’t know the inner workings of Obaseki, we sympathise with them. It has gone to show you that Obaseki is not even popular amongst his own appointees not to talk of the generality of Edo people. So, they are just beginning to see the man called Obaseki and PDP will soon realize the type of person they gave their ticket to. I wish him good luck”.
Taunting the governor, John Mayaki, chairman of the State Media Campaign Council of the APC said “Mr. Godwin Obaseki is now the governor of an empty Government House. Everyone is heading for the exit. They do not want to partake in his looming disgrace out of power because his failure is his alone”. Mayaki accused Obaseki of adopting a “self-absorbed and uncaring style of governance”, appointing aides only to cripple them by allegedly diverting funds meant to run their offices “to frivolous quests and a demonic plot to bring down successful sons of Edo state”.
“Now that the chicken has come to roost, it is only normal that the aides, many of whom were themselves victims of the governor’s tyranny and reckless actions, will head for the exit door and rejoin the APC as we march forward to correct an error made in 2016″. Mayaki boasted that more people would “join us and we are ready to receive them. Obaseki represents a dark past of needless conflicts, rancor, incompetence, and stark failure. He is a nightmare that everyone in the State cannot wait to wake up from. Together with the people of the State, we will consign him to the dust bin of history and turn a new page of peace, unity, and development with Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the All Progressives Congress”.