ABUJA – Alhaji Lawal Shuaibu, Deputy National Chairman, North, All Progressives Congress (APC), returned to a rousing welcome to the national secretariat of the party on Wednesday, warning the party’s leadership against toying with Edo State governorship ticket.
He declared without equivocation that Governor Godwin Obaseki remains the strongest candidate for APC in the coming gubernatorial poll in Edo State.
According to him, no party drops a candidate who is performing, insisting that global practice cannot be jettisoned in the case of Edo State.
He said the party can learn valuable lessons from what is going on in USA where nobody is challenging Donald Trump among the Republicans.
Quoting President Muhammadu Buhari’s comment during the last NEC of the party, Alhaji Shuaibu maintained that the APC cannot afford to leave a performing candidate to experiment with a new person.
“Edo is not a time bomb. We all heard President Buhari during the last NEC meeting announce that any governor who has performed deserves a second term. There is no time bomb because why should you prefer any other person than the sitting governor?
“It is like that all over the world even in America that started this democracy. Donald Trump has no opposition and nobody is contesting against him. It does not make sense to bring another person to contest against the governor. Governor Obaseki is the strongest candidate of the APC we have in Edo State”.
Shuaibu’s comment seen as a big boost to Governor Obaseki’s re-election bid, is coming on the heels of Tuesday’s call by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, APC National Chairman, for reconciliation and forgiveness among NWC members.
Recall that Governor Godwin Obaseki and Adams Oshiomhole have been at daggers drawn.
The APC chieftain, who returned after one year absence following his alleged suspension, maintained that he was never suspended.
“Nobody suspended me, it was just a fight that I wanted to avoid. I don’t want to continue the fight and that was why I kept quiet. All I wanted to do was to raise my hand before the market burns because by the time the market goes aflame everybody may be consumed.
“All I have said in that letter have all come to pass. It is wrong to say that the war is over because to me, there was no war in the first place.”
He explained that the wrangling that engulfed the party would not have occurred had the national chairman paid heed to the warning in my letter.
“My letter to Oshiomhole was very personal to either save the party or allow it to collapse.
“The structures of the party, as a result of the inability of the leadership to reposition the party, has become very weak. From wards to the national centres, the structures have become weak and that was what I was trying to avoid.
“I told him to come back to the track and if he cannot do it, let him leave because some of us have suffered to build this party. However, as he said, in the spirit of reconciliation, all these are now bygone because there is nothing anybody can do when he said he has extended the olive branch.
“Oshiomhole is my very good friend and we have been very close friends but when something went wrong, I cannot sit down when the house is collapsing on our heads without telling the world what was happening.”
Asked what he recommends as measure to strengthen the weak party, he said: “There are ways of doing it. We are not new comers in this game, we know how to revamp the party but it only depends on whether they can listen to us. I am not the chairman, he is, if we advise and he does not take our advice and if he refuses to take, what do we do?”
Alhaji Shuaibu said he never reckoned with the Bisi Akande APC National Reconciliation Committee, saying that there was no basis for it.
“The pertinent question is who do you reconcile? You told me to come and buy expression of interest form for N2.5 million and I bought the form. But when it comes to the contest, you will say no that only this person will get the ticket, but you didn’t refund my money, how do you reconcile that?
“There are things you don’t return to, you better forget it. We have to create an avenue for a new beginning and move forward because human beings easily forget. Because of the love they have for this party, they will want to open a new beginning”, he said
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