Governor Godwin Obaseki has accused his predecessor and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of flouting social distancing order over COVID-19 in the state.
According to Obaseki’s Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, and Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Paul Ohonbamu, Oshiomhole broke the social distancing order by allegedly organising a factional mock primary.
In a statement by Osagie and Ohonbamu, they said Oshiomhole organised political gatherings through the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), a fraction of the APC in the state.
“It is not surprising that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has continued his doom-fated attempt to destabilise the Edo State chapter of the APC.
“But what is most unconscionable is that he is propagating this move at the expense of the safety and wellbeing of Edo people.
“By organising the supposed mock primary on April 30, 2020, with more than 50 persons in attendance, he is undermining efforts of different stakeholders at containing the spread of the virus and also dishonouring all those who have died from it.
“Those who organised the political gathering initially held at Lucky Imasuen’s residence in Benin City later moved to different locations to continue their inglorious show of shame, in the perpetuation of the wishes of their puppet master.
“The antics of Comrade Oshiomhole are well-known, but it bears repeating that he is on a mission to re-enact what happened in Rivers, Zamfara and Bayelsa in Edo State.
“He has continued to perpetuate the ‘factionalising’ of the party in the state, with intent to cause the party to lose its opportunity to participate in the forthcoming gubernatorial election,” the statement read.
It called on the Presidency and the APC leadership to call Oshiomhole to order.
Meanwhile, the Oshiomhole faction of the APC has denied the claim.
The faction’s Publicity Secretary, Chris Azebamwan, described the claim as part of the state government’s “desperation to smear the name and image of Comrade Oshiomhole”.
Azebamwam said, “As part of our corporate social responsibility, the APC in Edo State organised a forum for well-meaning individuals within our fold to put resources together to assist our government and the vulnerable in our society to cope with the challenges of partial lockdown.
“In doing so, we were mindful of the relevant guidelines by the World Health Organisation, the National Taskforce on Covid-19, and Edo State government.
“The latest in their litany of wailings is that Comrade Oshiomole caused a mock primary to be conducted in Edo State. Nothing could be farther from the truth.”
The latest bickering between Obaseki and Oshiomhole factions of the APC is coming as the party prepares for its coming governorship election primaries on June 2.
The two factions have been strategising on how to outsmart each other to win the APC’s ticket for the September 19, governorship election in the state.
While Obaseki is seeking for a second term, the Oshiomhole faction is poised to ensure that never happens.