The Presidency has said the All Progressives Congress is capable of handling the crisis in its Edo State chapter.
The Presidency’s position came on Sunday, barely 24 hours after the raging political dispute between the National Chairman of the party, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, and the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, turned violent on Saturday.
Before Saturday’s attacks, violence broke out in Ivbaro, in the Owan East Local government area of Edo State as an armed group alleged to be from the state government attacked the meeting of the Edo Peoples Movement, holding in the residence of an APC chieftain, Ibrahim Bawa.
Several persons were injured and property worth millions of naira were also destroyed.
On Saturday, some rampaging youths had attacked the convoy of Obaseki, shattering the windscreens of some vehicles.
While Oshiomhole blamed the state Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, for the attack, the later denied involvement in the attack.
The attack had taken place at Oshiomhole’s Iyambo country home when the governor was driving to the national chairman’s house in company with the Oba of Lagos, Rilwanu Akiolu; and the Pro-Chancellor of the Edo University, Prof T.O.K. Audu.
The governor and the Lagos monarch were said to have visited Oshiomhole’s house to honour an invitation to have lunch with the APC national chairman after they had attended the maiden convocation of the university.
Presidential spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu, responding to enquiries by The PUNCH on Sunday on what was the Presidency’s reaction, simply said, “Let them go and talk to the party.”
Shehu declined further comments on whether it was necessary for President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the crisis.
However, a Presidency source told the The PUNCH that Buhari would not be personally involved in everything as there were organs responsible for performing certain duties.
The source said, “The President doesn’t have to be everywhere; he is not like some others; Buhari is different. “
Meanwhile, the attack on the monarch and Obaseki attracted further criticisms on Sunday. The Edo State Chairman of the APC, Anslem Ojezua, described the incident as disgraceful.
Ojezua, in an interview with The PUNCH, said “If they thought they wanted to bring disgrace to the governor of the state, I think they have succeeded in bringing that to the national chairman.”
On his part, a former Political Adviser to Oshiomhole, Charles Idahosa, said, “The incident was an embarrassment to Edo State, Nigeria and an embarrassment to democracy. Oshiomhole and I were in government for eight years. I was his political adviser and we were in opposition. There was nothing he did not say to the late Chief Tony Anenih and the Peoples Democratic Party.
“The fact that Oshiomhole as a national chairman, should write a petition asking the police to come and pick the APC members from Edo is an abnormality.”
But a group, Edo Youth Volunteers through its coordinator, Anthony Osagie, said the incident was provoked by the action of Shaibu and Oshiomhole should not be blamed for the incident.
He said “I am shocked that people are talking about Oshiomhole and the incident in his house and they are not talking about the actions that led to the incident. Our investigations showed that Oshiomhole actually told his aides that he was expecting some visitors and dropped the names of the people he was expecting.”
‘Edo deputy gov mobilised 200 okada riders, thugs’
But Oshiomhole on Sunday insisted that the deputy governor mobilised over 200 commercial motorcycle riders (okada riders) and thugs to the venue of the convocation of the Edo University, Iyamho, to embarrass him and his guests.
Oshiomhole said the whole essence of the attack on him was to create an impression that he was no longer popular at home.
At a news briefing on Sunday in his Abuja residence, Oshiomhole urged Obaseki to caution Shaibu, whom he accused of having “high propensity for violence.”
He said, “I decided that I should use this medium to speak to the unfortunate incident that happened in my community on (Saturday) after the convocation at the Edo university. Like I already directed my press secretary to do yesterday, obviously it was my decision to invite the chancellor and his entourage including His Royal Majesty, Oba Akiolu, Oba Otudeko and other dignitaries.
“I personally invited them to join me for lunch which they graciously accepted and so it is unthinkable that I will invite people for lunch and I will make arrangements to disrupt or prevent my guests from coming to my house.
“When I discovered that something had gone wrong, I went to the gate and by then they had gone. I tried to speak with the governor. I called him, the phone rang out but at least I was able to speak with the chancellor and his wife and I am happy that they fully understood.”
Oshiomhole said he did his best to save the situation when he heard that the state government had imported thugs into the venue of the convocation.
He said, “However, this whole thing was unfortunate because it was organised by the state government. By Thursday evening, and you can cross-check with the Inspector-General of Police, I had information that the deputy governor asked some people to organise 1,000 people to the university community.
“The whole idea was for them to boo me and celebrate it in the media that the comrade-chairman was booed in his own community. The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who delivered the convocation lecture was also a witness.”