Members of the youth wing of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo state have in the last few days been enmeshed in verbal war over the performance of the almost two years old administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki who in the eyes of non party members have performed creditably in terms of infrastructure, sanity in public behaviours, traffic management and others. Edo State Governor,
Mr. Godwin Obasek His performance believed to be under-reported gave him the sobriquet “wake and see governor” by residents who most times wake up to see roads being constructed or already rehabilitated overnight However, as popular as this style has been, it seemed not to have gone down well with some youths who incidentally were all part of the process that brought Obaseki to power. Insider sources say the outburst of the aggrieved youths was a reflection of the division among party members as many share the grievances of the youths looking at themselves as being schemed out after enthroning the government. But for the emergence of former governor, Comrade Adms Oshiomhole as national chairman of the APC, some party leaders were on the exit route. Among the parties that the aggrieved youths had been in talks with were the Action Democratic Party (ADP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and some other parties by some leaders of the party. In fact a source in ADP told news men that a former deputy governor recently approached the party to be given the senatorial ticket of the ADP in his senatorial zone but he was told that it was not vacant. But the emergence of Oshiomhole paused the charged exit agitations as they believed he would bridge the gap. “We were already gone, there is big disconnect between the government and the party members but we had to retreat when Comrade emerged as national chairman of the party. We believe he would be able to sort out things for us in the party”, a leader of the party confided in news men. Observers and political watchers were shocked when last week, some of the aggrieved youths led by Tony Adun popularly called Tony Kabaka addressed a press conference where they carpeted the Obaseki administration. They alleged that they have been used and dumped by the ruling party and the state government. Revolt against Obaseki They also threatened to revolt against Governor Obaseki during his re-election if he continues to neglect them just as they blamed Oshiomhole, for their predicaments, saying that he (Oshiomhole) “brought them to work for Obaseki.” “We want to inform the public of what the APC youths in Edo State are facing after helping Governor Obaseki to win the governorship election in 2016. “We don’t want what happened in Ekiti State to happen in Edo State where the then governor, Kayode Fayemi in his first term neglected all those who worked for him. “Those who worked for Obaseki to ensure that he succeeded in the election have been neglected. The first appointment we got from the governor was to be sent to the prison,” Adun fumed. He lamented that their lot would have been better if other persons like the former deputy governor, Pius Odubu or Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi or the current Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Barrister Osarodion Ogie had been given the governorship ticket of the party. He listed politicians in the State that Governor Obaseki has forced into political retirement as Mr. Charles Idahosa, Gentleman Amegor, Rev Mike Egharevba, General Charles Airiavbere among others. He threatened that they would withdraw their support from future engagements. The angry APC youth leader said after one year and seven months in office, the only empowerment Governor Obaseki has given to them is the imprisonment of the party leaders. “If we cannot benefit from the government we worked for now, then, there is no time we will benefit from it. If you talk, you will die, of you don’t talk, you will die. “Obaseki said that the deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, will be in charge of youth in the state, but how is he representing the interest of the youths today? Let him come out and tell us,” he said. But in a swift reaction, thousands of youths from across the seven local government area that make up Edo South Senatorial District with the youth leaders of the APC in the areas in their thousands besieged the premises of the Edo state council secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists to denounce Adun and his team. Led by the state youth leader of the party, Valentine Asuen, the youths said Obaseki has demonstrated the capacity to lead the state and the party. Asuen said they were disassociating themselves from the press conference addressed by Adun and his group. Vote of Confidence on Obaseki He told journalists that “The youth wing of the APC hereby dissociates itself from statements credited to him. We also herewith pass a vote of implicit confidence on His Execllency, Mr Godwin Obaseki and his administration” On the allegation that the governor has forcefully retired some leaders of the party, Asuen said “People do not retire from party membership as claimed. Party membership is voluntary and all our leaders are all accorded the respect they deserve. Since the inception of this government, Edo youths have been involved in virtually every policy initiative and programme in every sector of the state through various organs on the APC.” He said Obaseki has established Edo jobs portal through which thousands have been gainfully employed while several others have been trained on several skills. “The Edo APC government ensured that all political appointees; namely commissioners, special advisers, senior special assistants and special assistants amongst others were nominated by the party structures in the 192 wards in the state” He said many of the youths have been engaged through the Public Works Volunteer headed by Muktaru Yusuf, Edo State Traffic Management Agency (EDSTMA) and several others and therefore advised that the allegations of Adun should be disregarded. “Edo youths with the right skills set and qualifications are being employed and trained through Edo Jobs and the Edo Innovation Hub without knowing people in government. “Never again will individuals do the jobs that are constitutionally reserved for local or other tiers of government. Revenue allocation at the local level is the sole function of local councils and as sticklers for the rules, the Obaseki administration will not negotiate good governance with dissidents. We have learnt from our past mistakes and the rule of law and the rule by law will not be mortgaged. “Never again will we allow the harassment, intimidation and assault of our market women and men in the name of revenue collection, moreso, when technology based revenue collection system abound. The leadership of the party is also said not to be happy with the development which led to series of meetings among top party and government officials. But news men reliably gathered that a meeting called by Obaseki on Saturday to pacify Adun and his team ended in deadlock as Adun and his team rejected the welfare package proposed to them by the governor. The governor was said not to be happy with the public denouncement Adun has taken against his government. It seemed that Adun’s action has emboldened some distraught party leaders who may publicly abandon the party “for the governor and the national chairman” this week. However, the means for resolution is again being shifted to Oshiomhole who till now still command the respect of all in the party. Many of the party members believe that it is only Oshiomhole that can talk to everybody and the party and they will all listen.