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Oshiomhole: I’m not desperate to remain relevant



Oshiomhole: I’m not desperate to remain relevant

National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has declared that he is not godfather to anyone and does not need shortcut to remain politically relevant.

Oshiomhole stated this at the weekend while responding to questions bordering to the crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly.

The APC National Chairman is being accused of being behind crisis in the Edo Assembly.

The 7th Assembly was inaugurated on June 17 after nine members, out of 24, elected Frank Okiye as Speaker.

Oshiomhole and his governor, Godwin Obaseki is working at cross purposes on the leadership crisis in Edo Assembly.

Speaking to State House Correspondents after a meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Oshiomhole said those accusing him should come out with evidence or remain silent.

Oshiomhole rhetorically asked, “What is the evidence? It’s all about accusation. The media has a duty. They have to give you the particulars of that godfatherism. What’s the evidence? I am a democrat.”
The National Chairman said he retains the credit of being one of Nigeria’s politicians who has fought strongly against the issue of godfatherism.

He said: “I accept the credit, not only that I fought godfatherism, I launched the ‘one man one vote’ campaign to fight against election rigging anywhere in Nigeria and, by the special grace of God, under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with (Chief Tony) Anenih alive, and at his best, I won all the 18 local government areas and I won 95 per cent of the total votes cast in my second term election.

“So, Edo people know me and I know them. I don’t need shortcut to sustain my position in the system. But you know that there is nobody in Nigeria who is not open to accusations. The important thing is that he who accuses should give you proof,” he added.
Oshiomhole said what is happening in the State Assembly was gross abuse of the rule of law.

“It’s about rule of law. As journalists, there are questions you don’t need to ask me because you know the answer. You know the law provides for how the House should be proclaimed transparently.

“The day it’s announced, members-elect are informed of date and time for inauguration. These are clearly spelt out in the Nigerian constitution. And just last week (about two weeks ago), you were all witnesses to how President Muhammadu Buhari issued proclamation letter to the Clerk many days before, stating date and time of the inauguration of the two chambers of the National Assembly.

“Even while we are still negotiating to ensure that our party was not divided on the floor of the House, without prejudice to the outcome of those negotiations, the President issued proclamation because he is obliged by the constitution to do so whether he likes it or not and he did.

“He did it transparently. He has led us by example. For me, it’s very embarrassing if any state governor, particularly of APC extraction, will do anything that is less than what the constitution says and the example that our President has set,” Oshiomhole said.

He noted that the proclamation was not publicized for the inauguration of the Edo Assembly and that the members were not informed about the event which held at 9:30p.m.
He said the time was what a Supreme Court judgement described as “nocturnal hours.”

Oshiomhole further added: “Business of parliament are done transparently; they are not secret cult. Now you have 24 member House, 19 members protested. You have six and you carry people in their ‘short knickers’. Even in the House, they have rules, the dress code. So, it happened in Edo, it has happened in Bauchi.

“Like Edo, Bauchi used the minority of 10 to go and proclaim the House and lock out 20 APC members and got those 10 people to elect, exactly the way Edo did with six and then co-opted other three people to become nine and even at that, it is nonsense.
“For us, these are completely illegal. And that is why we said so. If it is wrong, it is wrong whether it is done by APC or by PDP; whether is the chairman’s state or not. The law is blind to those sentiments. I believe by the end of the day, the solution is return to the rule of law.

“Let’s properly follow the law; let the parliament do what they have to do, but people have the right to lobby for people they want and whom they prefer. This is also legitimate. Like you saw in the National Assembly, after all the lobbies, people have the right to vote and you saw them in the National Assembly conducting secret ballot.

“We have an APC Senator, who in spite of all the efforts invested by all our leaders, including Mr. President, insisted that he will contest. The law allowed him so, we couldn’t stop him. The President could have said okay SSS (State Security Services) please find excuse to invite him for questioning the day before; put him away until the elections are over.

“But we won’t do that. That is not the change we promised. The change we promised is to try to improve in the ways public institutions are managed and how rules are implemented. I believe that it will be resolved,” Oshiomhole said.

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