By Jethro Ibileke
Divergent reactions have trailed the resignation of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state, from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Obaseki announced his resignation from the ruling party Tuesday morning, while addressing journalists after allegedly meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Aso Rock Villa.
Recall that the embattled Governor was disqualified from contesting the governorship primaries by the screening committee of the party, over alleged discrepancies in his academic qualifications.
Edo APC has lost an asset – Ojezua
Reacting to Obaseki’s resignation, Chairman of the APC loyal to Obaseki, Barr. Aslem Ojezua, noted that APC has lost a huge asset in state.
Ojezua who spoke on phone however said that the development did not come as a surprise.
“It didn’t come to me as a surprise, though I am very saddened by the development. I think APC has lost a huge asset,” he said.
When asked if his faction would be going with Obaseki to whichever political party he decided to pitch his tent, Ojezua said he still remains the state chairman of the APC.
“We met last Saturday and the state working committee of the party is meeting tomorrow and after our meeting we will make a statement.
“At the moment, I am still the chairman of the APC, I was elected and the case is court and I will pursue it to a logical conclusion,” he said.
On his part, Chairman of the faction loyal to Adams Oshiomhole, Col. David Imuse (rtd.), described Obaseki’s resignation as a welcome development that was expected.
“It is a highly welcome development, in fact, it is much expected and it is a good riddance to bad rubbish.
“The party remains the party, we are preparing for our party primaries so by Monday all of you should be prepared to witness the direct primaries which is going to be a seamless operation because the major pollutant and irritant in our party has filtered himself out so the party is in a joyous mood, I believe you can feel it from my voice,” he said.
Imuse noted that Obaseki’s imminent defection to other political party will in no way affect the chances of APC in the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
“His membership of political parties is voluntary, so he can go to anywhere he likes, it is his constitutional right, it has no effect on APC,” he added.
We’ve resolved to go with him – Edo LG chairmen
Commenting on the development, the chairman of Esan south-east local government area, Mr. Peter Aguele, noted that Obaseki’s action is “what any democratic person will do as he was unjustly disfranchised someone.”
He added: “Basically, we are 100 percent with the Governor. You cannot unjustly disfranchise someone and expect him to remain. Wherever the Governor go, we will go.
Speaking in the same vein, the chairman of Owan West local government area, Mr. Frank Ilaboya, described Obaseki’s resignation as a welcome development.
“This is wonderful news and we expected it. We the local government chairmen have resolved that wherever the Governor goes, we will go with him.
“Rather than weaken the overwhelming support, the disqualification has caused a buoyant and enthusiastic response of support for the governor across the state.
“I met with all the leaders in Owan West, and we have resolved that we will follow him wherever he goes.
“As the Chairman of the Council, I will ensure that I drive the process to ensure that Obaseki succeeds.
A member of the Edo People’s Movement (EMP), Barr. Henry Idahagbon, in his reaction, agreed that Obaseki’s resignation will not affect the chances of the APC in the state.
“We wish him well, he is our friend. He became the Governor without follow processes, others did the job for him.
“After becoming the Governor, he abandoned all those that worked for him. We wish him well in PDP and we shall meet on September for the election,” Idahagbon said.
Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Frank Okiye, said with his right to freedom of association, Obaseki has the right to leave a political party whenever he wants, just as he also has the right to join any other party of his choice.
A former deputy governor of the state, Peter Obadan, said:
“If he thinks APC is no longer a place for him, and you cannot blend with the people, and you are not progressive, you may take a leave. I am not blaming him.
“His departure may even enhance the fortune of the party in his unit and ward. So, I don’t think it will affect the party in the forthcoming governorship election.”