The crisis between Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has deepened.
The alleged latest move from the Oshiomhole camp is the plot to impeach Obaseki.
Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), reportedly told some of his loyalists “it is now or never” in the attempt to remove Obaseki from office.
The move, the governor’s camp, believes may have influenced the setting up of the 13-man ad-hoc committee by the Femi Gbajabiamila-led House of Representatives, headed by AbdulrazakNamdas (APC-Adamawa).
Oshiomhole’s camp is using a multi-pronged approach to actualise the project.
His camp believes if the governor stays in office till next year when Edo governorship election holds, “it will be difficult to deny him APC ticket, whether direct or indirect primary is used to pick the candidate”.
The camp is said to working on using the National Assembly, some of his loyalists in the Edo House of Assembly, security agents and anti-graft agencies.
So far, the anti-graft agencies – the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) – have gone through the financial records of the state government “and they are yet to find anything indicting”.
From the home front, the 12 state lawmakers loyal to Oshiomhole have moved to Abuja, citing security reasons.
It is believed they are in the nation’s capital to perfect the impeachment plot.
“The lawmakers are heavily guarded in Abuja,” said a source.
Last Sunday, they signed a letter indicating their intention to commence impeachment proceedings against Obaseki.
The letter titled ‘PRIVATE MEMBER RESOLUTION’ reads: ‘Be it resolved that this honourable House has no confidence in the government of His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki, to effectively carry out the duties of his office throughout the remainder of his tenure and hereby moves the motion for the immediate impeachment of the governor based on the following grounds:
1. Sabotaging the activities of the legislature by actively preventing the legal swearing in of elected members of the State House of Assembly.
2. Masterminding an attack on elected members of the House of Assembly.
3. Masterminding the unlawful swearing-in of selected members of the State Assembly to further his personal agenda without the knowledge of the grand majority of the members-elect.
4. Acts of severe intimidation, bribery and high-handedness.
5. Gross insubordination towards the All Progressives Congress, her chairman and the very ideals that make up this great party.
6. Lack of transparency in the awarding of government contracts.
7. Mismanagement of state funds.
8. Gross incompetence especially in the areas of security, job creation and rural development.
9. Establishment of state agencies without due consent and approval from the House of Assembly.
The lawmakers are lodged at the Penthouse Suite of Wells Carlton Hotel and it is alleged Captain Hosa Okunbor is a major financier.
The same day, a meeting reportedly held with Oshiomhole presiding at the Abuja hotel to finalise strategies for the impeachment.
The plot was the National Assembly would have pronounced the Edo State House of Assembly unsuitably constituted so that the 12 remaining members would be sworn in in Abuja to commence impeachment plans.
But the National Assembly only established a committee to investigate the circumstances leading to the impasse in Edo State, leading the legislators-in-waiting and their sympathisers to suspend their impeachment plans temporarily.
Some of the members-elect have been shuttling between Abuja and Benin with air tickets funded by the sponsors.
At a meeting on July 1 at the residence of an Edo APC member of the House of Representatives in Abuja, it was resolved that Edo House of Assembly members-elect from Edo South will be specially rewarded as leaders of the impeachment drive.
The representative of the caucus of the Edo South lawmakers-elect was informed at the meeting that arrangements have been concluded to ensure that their role in the impeachment plan will be preferentially rewarded far more than what their colleagues from Edo North and Edo Central senatorial districts would be paid.
A clear resolution was adopted at the meeting regarding specific strategic moves and timeline of action for the impeachment plot.
But, since Oshiomhole doesn’t control majority of the 24-member House of Assembly, attention has shifted to the House of Representatives to perfect the plot.
This led to the setting up of the Namdas Committee, after a motion under matters of urgent national importance by Julius Ihonvbere (APC-Edo), at plenary on Tuesday.
Ihonvbere, who is close to Oshiomhole, expressed concerns over the improper inauguration of the 7th Edo State House of Assembly on June 17.
Ihonvbere prayed the House to take over affairs of the Assembly as provided by section 11 (4) of the 1999 Constitution.
But Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila mandated the Namdas Committee to investigate the matter and report back within one week.
The committee members will visit Benin City, the Edo State capital on Friday to get first-hand information.
It was gathered there is pressure on the committee members from the Oshiomhole and Obaseki camps to influence the outcome of their recommendations.
In this wise, some former governors such as Senators Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Rochas Okorocha (Imo) and former Governor Abdulkadir Yari of ZamfaraState are already talking to federal lawmakers from their states not to join the ‘Oshiomhole crowd’.
Obaseki is also close to many governors and the governors (APC, PDP and APGA) are also using their influence to stop the plot “at the federal level”.
Some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) believed to be indisposed to Oshiomhole’s leadership style are also against the impeachment move.
Oshiomhole is also said to be facing some challenges from the Bini, the largest ethnic group in Edo State.
“Governor Obaseki is Bini and everybody in Bini Land is supporting the governor in this fight. It will be difficult for anybody to impeach Obaseki now.
“You can even see that some of those lawmakers with Oshiomhole have moved to the governor’s side.
“The Bini affinity has really depleted the Oshiomhole camp. I can categorically tell you that we are going to organise a mass rally on Friday against Oshiomhole,”he said.
The source said that Obaseki’s deputy, Philip Shaibu, “is in a sort of dilemma because he is loyal to his principal but Oshiomhole, who brought him to be the deputy governor, is putting him under pressure to come to his side”.
But, an APC chieftain and one of the conveners of the popular Edo People’s Movement, Henry Idahagbon, is allegedly mobilising support for the plot to impeach the governor.
The former Attorney-General and Justice Commissioner of Edo State declared that Oshiomhole reportedly directed his group to commence the immediate process of seeking a replacement for Obaseki.
Idahagbon said that the APC in Edo State was sure to lose the governorship elections of the state if it presents Obaseki as its candidate for a second term in the 2020 elections.
He blamed the governor for his intransigence and arrogance in dealing with loyal party members who fought tirelessly for his emergence in 2016.
It is, however, believed that some members of the movement are already backing out of the plot to remove Obaseki.