About seven days after the All Progressives Congress (APC) screening panel disqualified the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, from next week’s governorship primaries in the state, the dust raised by that incident is yet to settle down.
The governor, who had announced his intention to leave the ruling party, held a meeting with some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors and the party’s National Chairman, Uche Secondus, in Abuja Wednesday night.
The meeting had put to rest speculations that Obaseki would reverse his decision to leave the APC following Tuesday’s suspension of the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, by the Court of Appeal.
The latest twist in the unfolding drama in Edo State was Wednesday’s closure of the state’s House of Assembly.
The Clerk of the House had said in a statement issued by the Acting Director of Administration and Supplies in the Assembly, Stephen Guobadia, that the complex would be shut down for two weeks to allow for fumigation of the premises in line with the protocols of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
After listening to the House leadership’s reason for ordering the closure of the Assembly, it was easy to conclude that the House leadership opted for that safe approach in a bid to prevent the takeover of the parliament by lawmakers loyal to the suspended APC chairman.
Given the existing political crisis in the state, arising from the power tussle between the governor and his perceived godfather, Oshiomhole, it’s quite safe to say both men would want to use the Assembly, and the lawmakers to turn the tables against each other.
It would be recalled that Oshiomhole as governor of the state, had incapacitated the Assembly, and ensured that they did not sit for several months, by removing the roof of the Assembly, under the guise that it was due for repairs.
Governor Obaseki had in 2019 issued a proclamation, stopping the inauguration of 14 lawmakers who were members of the Integrity Group, believed to be Oshiomhole’s loyalists, for staying away from the Assembly.
The closure of the Assembly complex may be a smart move by House leadership to prevent the anti-Obaseki group from coming together to effect a change of leadership in the Assembly and initiate impeachment proceedings against the governor who is currently torn between remaining in the APC or defecting to the PDP.
With the fresh internal crisis in the APC, the party is towing the same perilous path that caused it to lose Zamfara and Rivers States to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in last year’s general elections.
The party lost out in Zamfara State after a legal battle that terminated at the Supreme Court while a faction of the party in Rivers State adopted the governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) after the party was barred from presenting a candidate for the election by the court.
The disagreement among leaders of the APC in Zamfara was responsible for the party’s inability to hold the primaries within the stipulated time.
And just like in 2019, the same disagreement may stall the conduct of next week’s APC governorship primaries in Edo.
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