Deputy Governor of Edo state, Hon Phillip Shaibu, is in the eye of the storm over the alleged imposition of Andrew Osigbe as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Owan east local government council election of Edo state.
The deputy governor, a former member of the House of Representatives, was alleged to have led some impostors to Warrake ward 10 out of the 11 wards in the council where he allegedly made the leader of the 3 man panel, Hon Emmanuel Agbale, the state commissioner for science and technology to declare Andrew Osigbe as the consensus chairmanship candidate.
The ward where the deputy governor visited also produced all the councillorship candidates, brazenly side tracked the other 10 wards which produced Victor Ohiosumuan as the popular and consensus chairmanship candidate of the party in the local government.
Prior to the primary, the caucus of the party in the LG had met on the 21st January , 2018 to consider the issue of chairmanship candidate having earlier at its meeting of 15th January zoned the slot to axis one of the council comprising ward 1, 2, 3, 4 10 and 11.
It gathered that the caucus in the spirit of equity, justice and fairplay unanimously zoned the chairmanship to ward 3 because it has never occupied that position either through election or by appointment.
As it is now, the parallel congress held and presided over by the deputy governor is currently generating tension in the local government as majority of the party leaders are threatening fire and brimstones if what they considered as outright rape of democracy, abuse of due process and flagrant disregard to party guidelines is not urgently addressed.
Fear of an alleged imposition was earlier raised at about 2:00pm, Wednesday to the shock of delegates who had gathered at Afuze mini stadium, the official venue of the primary were taken aback when news filtered in that the deputy governor had allegedly forced the leader of the three man panel to Warrake where he (Andrew Osigbe) was announced as the candidate of the party.
As the said parallel primary was going on at Warrake, the two other members of the panel, Pastor Isigbe Kadiri and Yakubu Jarafu, security personnel, member representing Owan federal constituency and Deputy Whip of the state House of Assembly, Pally Iriase, and Majority Leader of Edo State House of Assembly, Hon Folly Ogedengbe, who is a member representing Owan east constituency and other top party leaders from the local government were seated patiently waiting for Agbale but to no avail.
Addressing the large crowd of delegates at Afuze, venue of the primary, Yakubu Jafaru, one of the panellists expressed satisfaction on the affirmation of Victor Ohiosumuan as the consensus candidate and assured the delegates that they would report their findings to the party secretariat in Benin.
“We will go back to Benin and report what we have seen and state the truth that Barrister Victor Ohiosumuan is affirmed as the consensus chairmanship candidate” Jafaru declared.
However, speaking with Journalists, one of the leaders of the Warrake primary, Alhaji Abdul Lawani, claimed that the congress which produced Andew Osigbe as their consensus chairmanship candidate and supervised by the state deputy governor, Phillip Shaibu, stands.
Alhaji Lawani noted that the primaries was conducted at Warrake because the party leadership believes in transparency.
“Edo State govenrrmnt has carefully watched activities in the local government and made a choice. It is baseless to say we held a parallel congress. The deputy governor came to supervise the primary.
On why he reneged in the consensus reached at various meetings of party leaders in Owan east, he said, “All the meetings held were kangaroo meetings because I disagreed with the outcomes.
Meanwhile, leaders of APC in the locality have condemned the presence of the deputy governor at the venue of the parallel primaries.
The APC leaders said the recognized primaries was the one conducted in Afuze, headquarters of the local council where Mr. Victor Ohiosumuan emerged as the party’s candidate.
They said the illegal primaries presided over by Hon Shaibu at Warrake which produced Andrew Osigbe was nullity.
Organizing secretary of the APC in Owan East, Mr. Fred Uanzekin, said they were surprised that the deputy governor could snatch away the commissioner for science and technology, Barr. Emmanuel Agbale, who was assigned to conduct the primaries.
Mr. Uanzekin said party executives from 10 wards gathered at the venue of the primaries waiting for Mr Agbale for over 10 hours before they heard that a kangaroo primaries has been conducted in Warrake.
He said it was a dishonorable thing for Shaibu to want to take over the leadership of Owan east when he was yet to take full control of Estako west where he hails from.
Continuing he said: “You can see for yourself. We have been here and nothing is happening. The deputy governor hijacked and kidnapped Agbale to Warrake tô conduct a parallel primaries. Our recognized leader is Pally Iriase.
“We held meetings where we agreed on consensus that Hon Victor should be the chairman but only one ward disagreed. We said they should come for full primaries but they ran away.
Also speaking, the party’s Publicity Secretary in Owan East, Paul Emehigie, described the action of Shaibu as shameful.
Reacting, state chairman of the party, Anselm Ojezua, said the party was yet to look into the report submitted by the committee sent to conduct the primaries in Owan East.
Ojezua said that some candidates would be disqualified over alleged discrepancies in their educational qualifications.
“We have internal mechanism to deal with issues. We have room for appeals. What I saw outside is not one of the mechanism. If the LG charirman wants to protest, he should do a letter to me.
“We constituted committees to go and conduct primaries across the state. The venues were decided by us. No LG chairman was authorized to conduct primaries anywhere. The committee went to Owan east and they have submitted their report.”
Spokesman for the deputy governor, Mr. Musa Ebhomiana, said the primaries at Warrake was the genuine one recognized by the party.
Musa said his boss was present at the parallel primaries as the deputy governor and leader of the party in Edo North.
He said the deputy governor does not determine venue for primaries but to ensure peace across the state.
His words: “The deputy governor does not fix venue for primaries. He did not hijack anybody. It is EDSIEC in collaboration with the party executives that fixed venue for primaries.
“He went to Warrake just as he visited other local government areas where primaries were conducted in Edo North. The deputy governor is a leader in Edo North and he went there to supervise the primaries.”