The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, on Wednesday, slammed the former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, over the statement credited to him on the current impasse in the party.
The former Edo State governor had in a statement issued by his media aide, Victor Oshioke, said he has no desire to return as the APC chairman.
He also dismissed insinuations that Keyamo and some individuals were spearheading the campaign to bring him back as chairman.
Oshimhole accused the minister of playing a key role in his removal as the APC helmsman last year.
Keyamo, who reacted to the former governor’s claims in a statement issued by his media aide, Tunde Moshood, said he (Oshiomhole) was still suffering from the disappointment of his candidate’s defeat in last year’s governorship election in Edo State.
The minister said he cannot be held responsible for the ex-APC chief’s political misfortune.
The statement read: “We have been alerted about a press statement making the rounds credited to one Victor Oshioke issued on behalf of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and titled ‘LEAVE OSHIOMHOLE OUT OF APC LEADERSHIP DEBATE’.
“We initially had our doubts as to the authenticity of the said statement in which the respected Comrade made several unfair and unfounded allegations against Mr. Keyamo. But when we were bombarded by credible sources for our response and after taking our time to send someone to call the author to authenticate it, we had no choice but to set the records straight.
“The story of the political tussle between Governor Godwin Obaseki and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in Edo State is so well documented that we do not need to remind Nigerians about it. Mr. Keyamo had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with it.
“Mr. Keyamo is not PRIVY to how members of the CECPC were nominated and/or selected, so he did not have the benefit of the opportunity to point out any legal disabilities. Regrettably, the respected Comrade must have given in to gossips and rumours.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Mr. Keyamo has no personal interest to serve. He is very content with the assignment given to him by Mr. President and is very much ready and willing to return to his striving legal practice whenever his assignment is over.
“Mr. Keyamo is a big fan of Governor Buni and they both continue to have healthy conversations till today over the issues at stake.
“This is not a personal issue. It is just for the survival of the party and Mr. Keyamo will always defend and support the CECPC to the end unless the Supreme Court says otherwise if and when the court has the opportunity again to decide with the proper parties before it.
“He will continue to pray for victory on our part. His only offence now is that he sounded a private note of caution because of recent developments at the Supreme Court. How someone can interpret that to be hostility still beats our imagination.
“Mr. Keyamo holds Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in very high esteem. He regards him as his leader and mentor. That outburst was very unnecessary and we think he succumbed to the emotions of the political disappointments he has suffered lately, especially in Edo State. If he is looking for a fall guy, he should please look elsewhere.
“He should rest assured that we all share in the pain of that costly political miscalculation that caused our dear party to lose the state to the opposition so cheaply. But we shall continue to support all efforts to put things back on track there.”
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