From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
Ahead of the party’s state congresses billed for Saturday, some leaders of the Edo State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Thursday called on Governor Adams Oshiomhole to relinquish control of the party structure to pave way for internal democracy.
The leaders, along with some party faithful from across the 18 local government councils in the state, made this call after a meeting in Benin.
The leaders accused the governor of using some of his political appointees to intimidate party faithful, stressing that the party desires a system that respects the sanctity of internal democracy.
The convener of the meeting and former state chairman of the party, Tony Omoaghe, read the communiqué at the end of the meeting which stated that there was need to create a system devoid of deliberate sponsorship of rancour and factionalisation within the party.
The communiqué said since assuming of office, the governor has subdued the practise of internal and participatory democracy across the state.
“It is on record that he single-handedly handpicked party candidates for last year’s Local Government Council elections in the state. The Ward and Local Government congresses were a monumental fiasco under the watch of the governor who, once again, single-handedly handled the process.”
“Weeks before the exercise, he mobilised his political appointees to go about with the claim that they are mandated to draw up a list of party executives for the congresses. When this tactic failed, they decided to manipulate the process through all manner of subterfuge, including sponsoring violence.”
“As I speak, results are still being falsified at the Government House, where the state party secretariat has been moved to facilitate the governor’s design,” the party leader said.
The members also berated Oshiomhole for hijacking the party structure to serve “selfish and narrow political interests”.
In their four-point prayer, along with relinquishing of party control, the members also prayed the governor to immediately cancel what they described as “sham” registration of party members.
They also called for the cancellation of the ward and local government congresses in the state.
They demanded an apology to the leadership of the party, particularly the former governor of the state, John Oyegun, explaining that the apology became necessary in the face of insults meted out on them by the governor.
Other signatories to the communiqué include the former secretary to the state government, Ize Iyamu and a former state vice chairman of the party, Usman Shagadi, amongst others.
The governor, however, described as “unfounded” the allegations raised by the leaders in their communiqué.
Speaking through his special adviser on media, Kazeem Afegbua, the governor said that he had at various times addressed some of the issues being raised.
According to him, “as a party, it is expected that you cannot pacify and fulfil all the demands and aspirations of each and every one of the members of the party. Where there are genuine cases of infractions, I know that the governor, given his magnanimous disposition, will definitely take steps to encourage the party structure to address those issues.”