Edo poll: Fresh legal hurdle for Oshiomhole, APC

Posted by News Express | 14 June 2020 | 2,394 times

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•Oshiomhole and Obaseki

By LANRE ADEWOLE, Lagos

A fresh legal hurdle is about becoming a banana peel for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as its chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his associates celebrate their supremacy contest victory over embattled member and governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki.

Sunday Tribune was at the weekend acquainted with what is expected to be the basis for the imminent legal challenge.

Despite Obaseki’s decision not to challenge his disqualification from the race for the party’s ticket, it was learnt that the victory parade by his traducers, led by his erstwhile godfather-turned bitterest foe, Oshiomhole, may be halted soon, possibly when it would be difficult for the party to have a lawful candidate for the main election.

The ruling party suffered similar calamity in the last general election when it ended up not having lawful governorship candidates in Zamfara and Rivers states, due to intra-party crises arising from the processes of selecting its candidates.

If the Oshiomhole faction of the party in Edo State eventually settles for its thinly-veiled favourite, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, as standard-bearer, Sunday Tribune was told by a party chieftain a double jeopardy awaits the nomination.

The twin problems, according to the source, are the waiver granted him to contest the election and the decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) led by Oshiomhole to unilaterally fix the direct mode for the primary election as well as constituting all other ad hoc committees for the selection process without a recourse to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party as required by its rule book.

It was learnt that Section 13.4 (xv) was allegedly breached by the NWC in granting Ize-Iyamu a waiver to contest the election after returning to the fold just weeks back.

The provision reads: “Subject to the approval of the National Executive Committee, the National Working Committee may in special circumstances grant a waiver to a person not otherwise qualified under Article 31 of this  constitution, if in its opinion, such a waiver is in the best interest of the party.”

Since the crisis of confidence between Oshiomhole and Obaseki began leading to the return of Ize-Iyamu as the new anointed, the party hasn’t held any NEC meeting.

The one scheduled earlier in the year to address the move to sack Oshiomhole by some governors elected on the ticket of the party was controversially cancelled at the 11th hour.

A hurriedly-delivered ruling by the Court of Appeal sent the then embattled chairman back to office and supreme influence in the party.

Obaseki was one of the governors behind the plot to sack his former boss.

Beyond the preference for Ize-Iyamu, the Oshiomhole faction may also not enjoy an easy ride if a favoured replacement is sought for the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) to former Governor Lucky Igbinedion.

Already, permutations are reportedly in place to switch to either of Osaro Obazee or former deputy to Oshiomhole as Edo governor, Pius Odubu if emerging realities compel the abandonment of the Ize-Iyamu project.

But the party top-notcher saw a process totally mired in illegality which could only be cured by an immediate convocation of a NEC meeting.

According to the party chieftain, NEC must ratify whichever primary mode is settled for, despite the provision of the party’s constitution which supposedly empowers the NWC to unilaterally make such a decision.

The supposedly supportive provision is Section 13.4 (xiv) which lists one of the functions of the NWC to include “organise primary election for the nomination of its presidential candidates, governorship candidates and candidates for election into national and state assemblies.”

Sunday Tribune was assured by the source that the coming judicial contest won’t favour the Oshiomhole group due to the overriding provision of the same party constitution which gives NECan oversight leverage over the NWC.

The chieftain pointed at the provisions of Section 13.4 (v) which says the NWC will have to “propose to the NEC, party electoral regulations, to govern the conduct of elections to all party offices at every level and to govern the procedure for selecting party candidates for elective offices, subject to the provisions of this constitution.”

The source was certain the party was close to suffering another nomination heartache in Edo State and possibly Ondo State if the heavyweights of the party at the national level still decide to give Rotimi Akeredolu, the sitting governor, the Obaseki treatment.

Akeredolu was said to be in the black book of the national leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu, until weeks back when rapprochement was reportedly undertaken by common friends and associates.

The rapprochement, according to an informed source, was responsible for the “sudden death” of the once-thriving Unity Forum set up by aggrieved party chieftains in the state and backed by outside forces to unseat the governor by foreclosing his second term ambition.

An internal wrangling among the members of the forum sounded the death knell, but those in the know pointed at a synchronised demolition from elsewhere.

The coast is, however, said not to be completely clear for Akeredolu, as he might be required to make a lot of concessions to eventually run for another term on the party’s ticket. (Tribune Online)


Source: News Express

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