All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, on Monday inaugurated a five-member fact-finding/reconciliation committee to look into the leadership crisis rocking Edo State over the choice of the party’s governorship candidate for the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
The five-member committee is chaired by former Osun State Governor, His Excellency, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Other members are APC National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso (Vice Chairman); Senator Ndoma Egba (Member); Hajiya Fatimah Mohammed (Member) and Alhaji Ahmed Abdullahi (Member).
The Edo state APC governorship primaries is scheduled for June 18, 2016 and Governor Adams Oshiomhole is bent on foisting Mr. Godwin Obaseki on the party while his deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu is also angling for the ticket.
Inaugurating the committee, Oyegun said: “I want to thank His Excellency, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; Senator Ndoma Egba; Senator Osita Izunaso; Hajiya Fatimah Mohammed and Alhaji Ahmed Abdullahi for agreeing at very short notice to undertake this very challenging assignment to arrest the unfortunately deteriorating situation in Edo state.
“It is a matter for concern at all levels of party and government that a state we hold so dear to our heart; a state where there has been a lot of breakthroughs in terms of development that the state has not witnessed for a long time; a state under an APC Governor who has done so much to uplift virtually every part of Edo State that suffered neglect over a long period of PDP administration that just a matter of months to an election and weeks to primaries should be engulfed, so to speak, in the kind of unfortunate intra-party disputes at virtually all levels, party level, government level and now the state Assembly.
“You have been very specially chosen because of the extremely high level of integrity and demonstrated support of the vision of the party, to go to Edo state, to restore normalcy within the fold of the APC.
It is important to emphasize the fact that for us, Edo is a critical state strategically. I hope I would not be mis-interpreted, if I say it is also a must win state. So your job in Edo is not just to restore peace and help restore normalcy in that state, but to also come out with suggestions that would restore the party in that state, to be a dependable political fighting force and ready to win the forthcoming election.
“I will also want you to go with a definite mandate and let everybody know that at the National level we assure them that there would be free and fair primaries, and there would be for all aspirants a level playing field. And we expect that in the run-up to the primaries, which we expect to hold on the 18th of June, that all aspirants must be given equal exposure by the party structures in Edo state. There is nothing wrong so to speak if influential individuals within the state, even the Governor to state a preference in terms of the aspirants.
“We are a party of change and we must emphasize that in everything that we do, the example that was set with our presidential primaries. That was one of the major event that catapulted the APC to where we are today. And we are not going to go back on the need, the necessity, for free and fair primaries, which mean that the party itself min the state must be as neutral as possible because all aspirants are their children.
“So this is the message I want you to go with and do everything that you can to arbitrate in the state Assembly, Party and may be even at the executive level. A lot rides with the success of your assignment. Infact, I would almost say don’t come back until you have succeeded in restoring the party and the Edo state APC to health. So I wish you the very best of luck. And God grant you the wisdom to undertake this assignment. Thank you very much for agreeing to serve.
Oyinlola said: “We want to start by thanking you on behalf of the rest of the committee members for finding us so worthy of this challenging assignment. We do realise that, it is very necessary for peace to prevail in all the state chapters of our party. And this is more expedient in Edo State where we have a serious gubernatorial battle to wage with the rest of the opposing parties very soon. I want to assure you sir that this assignment would be carried out diligently and without fear or favour.
“Whatever is the outcome will serve as the guidance to what would happen in our future engagement. So Your Excellency we assure you once again the trust you have in us to carry out this assignment would not be misplaced. God been our helper, we will finish on time and then deliver the outcome to you. We are indeed very grateful for finding us worthy.