It is no longer a secret that the crises of confidence that has rocked the Edo state chapter of All Progressive Congress between a faction loyal to the Edo state Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, and another faction loyal to the National chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, is threatening the chances of the party in the forthcoming governorship election in the state that is scheduled for September, 2020. The crises, which broke out after the conclusion of the 2019 general election that was held on 23rd February and 9th March, have seen the party in the state to balkanised into two factions, with each pledging allegiance to the respective side of the divide that aligns with their interest.
Before the crises, Mr Obaseki was a trusted lieutenant of Comrade Oshiomole all through thr latter’s eight year reign as governor of Edo state between November 2008 and November 2016. During that period, Obaseki was assigned the influential position of Chairman, Edo State Economic Team. In 2016, Adams Oshiomole was instrumental to the emergence of Mr Obaseki as the flagbearer of APC for in the state’s gubernatorial primary, and singlehandedly ensured that he won the governorship election same year to emerge as governor of Edo state and successor of his now estranged godfather. The pair continued to enjoy robust relationship and mutual respect for each other until Comrade Oshiomole was elected National Chairman of APC in 2018.
Obaseki and Oshiomole, when the going was good
Since the fallout, loyalists of the APC National chairman accused Governor Obaseki of destroying the legacies of Comrade Oshiomole, sidelining Oshiomole’z loyalists in appointments and patronage, and demolishing the political structure of Comrade Oshiomole that brought him to power.
On the other hand, Comrade Oshiomole has been accused by loyalists of Governor Obaseki of abusing his powers as party national chairman by using his office to undermine the interest of the Governor, the Edo state government and the state’s chapter of APC. The Governor’s loyalists also accused Adams Oshiomole of undermining the peace in the state and furthering his personal interest at the detriment of the interest of Edo state APC.
In fact, both groups have taken steps to undermine each other in their bid to emerge victors of this political battle.
Oshiomole Not Legally Qualified To Participate In Edo APC Primary
In November 2019, 23 out of 28 members Ward 10 Executive Committee of APC in Etsako West local government of Edo state, where Adams Oshiomole is registered. The Ward leaders suspended and passed a no confidence vote on him, which was upheld by the Edo State Executive Committee of the APC. Till this moment, the suspension handed on Adams Oshiomole by his Ward is yet to be vacated by any of the authorities that is empowered by the Constitution, Electoral Act and APC Constitution, which include, a court of competent jurisdiction, APC National Executive Committee, and the party’s National Convention.
In fact, it was based on the suspension from Oshiomole’s Ward that an FCT High Court ordered his suspension from the party in March, 2020. Although a court of Appeal granted Adams Oshiomole’s prayer for stay of execution of the High Court order and restored him to office two weeks later, the Appellate court did not quash the suspension handed him but only restored him as National chairman. As such, Oshiomole by law remains suspended from his Etsako Ward 10 and Edo state chapters of All Progressive Congress, and is therefore not entitled to enjoy all rights and privileges accrued to members of the party in Etsako Ward 10 and Edo state chapters of APC as those rights are suspended by virtue of his suspension.
The consequence of this is that except Comrade Adams Oshiomole approach appropriate authorities to vacate the suspension handed him by the Etsako Ward 10 chapter of APC where he is registered as member, he is legally unqualified to participate as a delegate nor voter during the APC gubernatorial primary election that is scheduled for June 22, 2020 as such privilege is reserved exclusively for bona fide members of the party according to the Constitution of APC and electoral Act.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu Also Legally Unqualified To Participate In APC Primary
On Thursday, May 28, 2020, the 18 local government chairmen of APC across the entire local government of Edo state, disclosed that Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the anointed gubernatorial candidate of Adams Oshiomole who was picked as the consensus candidate of Adams Oshiomole faction, is not a duly registered member of the Edo state chapter of APC.
According to Mr Benjamin Oghumu, the APC Chairman of Orhionmwon Local Government where Pastor Ize-Iyamu hails from, the governorship aspirant joined the factional Edo Peoples Movement, a group in the state that is loyal to Comrade Adams Oshiomole but parallel to APC in the state and not Ward 10 chapter of APC. Non registration with the party’s Ward Chapter contravenes the provisions of the APC Constitution which made registration at Ward level mandatory for a someone to be deemed a bona fide member of the party in his state in order to enjoy the associated privileges.
The implication of this is that Pastor Ize-Iyamu can’t be said to be a member of Edo state chapter of APC, and is not entitled to enjoy rights and privileges, and these include standing as holding position within the party in his Ward, Orhionmwon LGA and Edo state chapters, voting as delegate from Edo state chapter and aspiring for the nomination of the party for for his Ward, Orhionmwon LGA and Edo state chapters of APC for any election.
A second factor that disqualifies Pastor Ize-Iyamu from contesting at the APC primary is centered on Waiver that he is yet to lawfully obtain from the party’s National Executive Committe.
The APC Constitution stipulates that a member of the party can only be entitled to aspire as candidate of the party after a minimum period of two years of his registration as duly registered member of the APC except the member is granted a Waiver by the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC.
Article 31 of the APC Constitution that deals with Waiver, stipulates that the APC National Working Committee may grant waiver SUBJECT to approval of the National Executive Committee, NEC. In fact, Article 31 (1)(2) clearly state that the APC NEC must meet and approve any waiver for it to be valid.
Furthermore, Article 31 (3ii) of APC Constitution, stipulates that for any member of the party to be granted waiver, he must apply to the party’s NWC through the Ward, Local Government, State and Zonal Executive Committees of the party chapters that he is registered.
What the aforementioned means is that for Pastor Ize-Iyamu to be granted Waiver, he must apply through his Ward Chapter Executive Committee, his local government Chapter Executive Committee Executive, Edo State Chapter Executive Committee and zonal chapter executive committee. But there is no record that he applied to his Ward, LGA and Edo state state chapters executive committee before he was granted Waiver by APC National Working Committee as stipulated by the APC Constitution. Mr Benjamin Oghumu and Anslem Ojezua the chapters chairmen of Orhionmwon local government and Edo state of APC respectively, disclosed Pastor Ize-Iyamu did not apply to their respective executive committees for waiver. There is also no record that the APC NEC met and granted Waiver to Pastor Ize-Iyamu to contest the Edo state gubernatorial primary election as stipulated.
The consequence of this is that the Waiver granted to Pastor Ize-Iyamu by APC National Working Committee to contest the Edo state gubernatorial primary of the party contravenes the Party’s constitution, specifically Section 31 (3), and can not be said to be valid for non compliance with due process.
Therefore, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s is legally unqualified to participate in the Governorship primary of APC as delegate and aspirant except he returns to his Ward to register as member of the party AND he follows the provisions of Article 31 of the APC Constitution to obtain waiver.
Conclusively, except the aforementioned concerns are addressed, both Adams Oshiomole, the APC national chairman and his anointed for APC governorship ticket, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu stand legally unqualified to participate in the APC Governorship primary of Edo state.
Written by Tamunotonye Inioribo || Tonyebarcanista@gmail.com