- Says rift created by those pursuing selfish interests
Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Former Edo State Governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, has broken his silence over the rift between him and his successor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, blaming third parties for their disagreement.
Oshiomhole, who is also the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), while receiving Obaseki at his country home in Iyamoh, Etsako West Local Government Area of the state, on Monday night when the governor came to join him to celebrate Eid-el-Kabir, described his successor as his brother just as he accused people with personal interest of fueling the disagreement.
Obaseki was accompanied by members of his cabinet to celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir with his former boss.
Speaking to journalists after a closed-door meeting, which lasted for about an hour, Oshiomhole said the meeting was not unusual as he was in constant touch with Obaseki.
“From time to time, we have always been meeting. It is not an unusual visit; the meeting afforded me the opportunity to meet with my brother and with people I have worked with,” he said.
He added that it was unfortunate that the media liked creating factions for their own gain.
Obaseki also said the visit to his predecessor was not unusual, saying that he decided to celebrate Sallah with his former boss.
He said the visit was to celebrate Edo leaders just as the former APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, was celebrated by the state earlier on Monday.
“There is nothing unusual about this meeting; today is Sallah and we have just finished celebrating with the former APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun in Benin City, and we decided to come here to celebrate Sallah with my predecessor,” the governor said.
He added that people should stop thinking there was a rift between him and his predecessor.
Earlier on Monday, Obaseki had raised hope of an earnest end to the war of attrition between him and Oshiomhole.
He said in Benin City that he had met with Oshiomhole and efforts were being made to resolve issues created by those he referred to as third parties in the state.
He reiterated his position that there are no fundamental issues between them.
Obaseki spoke during a mass at the St. Paul Catholic Church, Benin City, to mark the 80th birthday of the first executive governor of the state and Oshiomhole’s predecessor as APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
The simmering crisis of confidence between Obaseki and Oshiomhole blew open in the wake of the inauguration of the state House of Assembly during which 14 members-elect who are reportedly loyal to the APC national chairman refused to be inaugurated.
The governor was accused of surreptitiously issuing the proclamation letter for the inauguration of the state legislature, leading to the swearing in of only nine out of the 24-members-elect then.
Efforts to resolve the crisis, including the intervention of the National Assembly, which had asked the governor to issue a fresh proclamation otherwise it would take over the functions of the House of Assembly, have been mired in legal battles.
The faction of the state lawmakers loyal to the governor has secured court orders stopping Obaseki from issuing a fresh proclamation and the National Assembly from carrying out its takeover threat.
However, at the thanksgiving for Odigie-Oyegun’s 80th birthday celebration, Obaseki said the state would soon put the crisis behind it and forge ahead with its developmental strides.