Oshiomhole Meets Buhari at the Villa, Makes Requests Ahead of Edo Gubernatorial Poll

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Oshiomhole Meets Buhari at the Villa, Makes Requests Ahead of Edo Gubernatorial Poll
Nwolu Obiajulu

Former National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, sought audience with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Villa where he requested for security to be beefed up in Edo State ahead of the September 19 gubernatorial poll in the state.

His visit marked the first time Oshiomhole would meet with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa since his sacking by the Court of Appeal which sat in Abuja on June 16, prompting the dissolution of the APC National Working Committee (NWC), headed by him.

Oshiomhole debunked speculations alleging that he was scheming to return as the national chairman of the APC and claimed that at 68, he has no intentions of returning to the position. He tagged those peddling rumours of his intentions to return as cowards who lack the courage to reveal their identities.

Responding to questions from State House correspondents after the meeting with Buhari, Oshiomhole said he was at the villa to tender his loyalty to the president and also intimate him on efforts being made to ensure victory of the ruling party at the Edo governorship poll. He also said that he requested that president deploy more security personnel in the state to forestall violence as the election draws closer.

Oshiomhole expressed optimism at the chances of the APC to reclaim Edo state judging by the level of support received thus far during campaigns. Replying to speculations of his plan to reclaim the APC national chairmanship, Oshiomhole said he would rather not respond to the allegation made by Dr. Salihu Lukman, the director-general of the Progressive Governor’s Forum (PGF). He said he would not engage in a war of words with Lukman, whom he claimed was imposed on the PGF by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) and the Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi.

In a recent communique, Lukman had claimed that some unscrupulous elements within the APC had been strategising to retur Oshiomhole as the party’s national chairman. He said such forces are seeking to deploy every power within their reach to manoeuvre and manipulate the system to pave the way for Oshiomhole to stand for election at the forthcoming national convention of the party and foist him on the party.

Lukman had said: “In other words, everything is being done to ensure that the internal politics of the party is manipulated to create situations whereby Oshiomhole is forcefully made a contender for the position of the national chairman at the extraordinary APC national convention.”
But Oshiomhole dismissed the allegation yesterday, wondering why he would seek to return to the office at the age of 68.

But Oshiomhole wondered if the essence of such a return bid would be to resit an examination.
aiming a dig at some APC governors who he claimed to be Lukman’s sponsors, he described such highly placed individuals as cowards who are afraid of coming out to attack him.
He stated that asking him to respond to what he described as “the noise” being made by Lukman and his principals was dragging him into a pig fight.
He added that he would not descend so low because he has a pedigree, which transcends being the national chairman of APC.

The former national chairman of the APC termed Lukman a failed politician, adding that responding to his allegation will amount to condescending to his level. Oshiomhole said: “You want me to engage in a fight with a pig? If you engage in a fight with a pig, the pig already is stained by its nature and you will wear your white garment, and in my own case, khaki to go and wrestle with a pig? I will not.
“When I was removed as national chairman, Edo was APC. So, do I have to win Edo to become the chairman? Do I look so unemployed?

“I’m 68. So, what they don’t understand is that it is not the office of chairman that made me who I am. It is my pedigree from my days as a labourer in the textile industry to becoming the general secretary of textile workers all over Nigeria and becoming the president of NLC.
“There is no village I go to that people do not know me and it is this that I used to override the godfathers in Edo State for two consecutive terms and even became governor through elections – no violence before becoming the national chairman.

“So, if you remove the office…is like our president now, though I cannot compare myself to him. But it is like President Muhammadu Buhari by 2023, when his tenure would have lapsed as president, but those who believe in him, in 2024 and beyond, each time they see him, that trust they have in him will always be there.

“He bonds with the people. That bond was not created by the fact that he is the president. In fact, he became the president because of that bond. So, it takes an empty brain to suggest that I only want to stage a comeback to become the national chairman. For what? To go and do a resit?

“So, my attitude is not to reply to the noise and it is coming from somebody who says he is an employee and appointee of Progressive Governors’ Forum. He is just like the cowards that are using him that are not able to come out. Otherwise, you should ask this guy who is now an election expert.

“He contested for Senate against (Senator Ahmed) Makarfi. He lost. He even contested against Governor (Nasir) el-Rufai during the primaries and he lost before Fayemi unilaterally appointed him the DG.
“So, if he is now the spokesman, abusing me and all of that, you want to drag me to his level? No! A gentleman does not wrestle with a pig. If you do, you will always be stained and I don’t want to get into that,” he said.

Source: This Day

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