A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, General Charles Airhavbere (rtd) has blamed Governor Godwin Obaseki’s betrayal and undemocratic posturing for the crisis currently rocking the ruling party in the South-South State.
The soldier turned politician accused Governor Obaseki of lacking inter-personal skills required to make the difference in the exalted State’s Chief Executive office.
He said the governor had resorted to use of raw power in dealing with his political associates, a development, he said, had alienated many APC stalwarts in the state.
Edo State is billed for governorship polls next August, in a high-stakes election, expected to be characterized by back-stabbing, violence and betrayals.
Airhavbere, who contested for the plum job with Obaseki in 2016, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin that the ruling APC would never know peace in Edo with the way the governor was relating with other members of the party.
He said that contrary to what Obaseki wanted people to believe, agitations in the state were not because of “stomach infrastructure’’ or a quest for the resources of the state by the party members.
According to the party chieftain, “It was never about godfather and god-son struggling for the control of government or resources of the state.
“It is all about ensuring governance with human face and our resolve is to check the destructive approach to governance in Edo State and put our party on the path of moral rectitude, transparency and inclusion.
“The struggle is all about a governor who lacks interpersonal relationship skill; who is vindictive and repelled by the presence of his party members and without provocation, resorts to anger and pugnacious display of raw power.’’
Airhavbere said that Obaseki had failed to fulfil his electoral promises and had refused to embrace dialogue, consultation, negotiation and compromise.
“This is a governor who believes in all ramifications that he is above the people and who has suddenly become a tyrant.
“We cannot fold our arms and watch helplessly. With these traits, it is obvious that the governor was never psychologically and emotionally prepared to be a leader.”
The party chief said it was because of these issues that `authentic’ members of the party came together on Nov. 13, to abolish the Edo Peoples Movement and suspend the governor, his deputy Philip Shaibu and the Secretary to State Government, Mr Osarodion Ogie.
He said that the suspension was also to send a signal to Obaseki that it was not going to be business as usual in the countdown to upcoming governorship elections.
“Edo is the only APC state in the South-South and we are not ready to lose the state.”
Airhavbere said that APC members remained loyal to the National Chairman of the party, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, assuring that everything would be done to protect the party from people bent on destroying it.
However, reacting to the latest developments in the APC, the Edo Commissioner for Information, Mr Paul Ohonbamu, said the intra-party crisis was a battle for dominance and liberation between the national chairman of the party and the governor.
He described the purported suspension of Obaseki and other people from the party as an exercise in futility.
The commissioner said that Airhavbere and his group were being used to embarrass the governor, stressing that the governor was elected by the people and that the disgruntled APC members lacked powers to suspend him.
He stated that the South-South Vice-Chairman of the party, Mr Elias Enag, had since described the suspension as null and void.
Ohonbamu described Obaseki as a “beautiful damsel of democracy’’, who is being sought by many political parties.