Some governors of Nigeria’s ruling party, the APC, under the umbrella of the Progressives Governors Forum, have met with a leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, to deliberate on the internal crisis rocking Edo and Ondo chapters of the party ahead of the governorship elections in both states.
The Edo State governor’s spokesperson, Crusoe Osagie, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that seven governors met with Mr Tinubu in Lagos on Sunday but he could not categorically confirm all that was discussed at the meeting.
“I’m aware that some governors met with Tinubu yesterday in Lagos, where they were sort of doing consultation ahead of the coming elections in Edo State,” he said.
He said he believed the feud between the governor and Adams Oshiomhole must have topped the discussions at the closed-door meeting, “since everybody knows that Oshiomhole has been at dagger-drawn with the governor for almost a year and half now.”
The power tussle between the party national chairman, Mr Oshiomhole, and Mr Obaseki has created factions within the state branch of the party.
Amidst this feud, the party has slated June 22 for its direct primary election, a method the Obaseki-led faction chairman in the state, Anselm Ojezua, earlier kicked against.
However, in his recent interview, Mr Obaseki, expressed indifference on the mode of party primary as he boasted of emerging victorious.
“It doesn’t matter whether it is direct or indirect primary, I will win because I know what we have done in Edo State,” this newspaper had reported him saying.
In recent development, a faction believed to be loyal to Mr Oshiomhole adopted Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a founding member of the party in the state, as its consensus candidate.
Quoting an unnamed source, the Punch newspaper reported that the seven governors making a case for Mr Obaseki before Mr Tinubu admitted that “mistakes had been made, especially with the governor’s refusal to pave the way for the swearing in of 14 elected APC members as members of the state Assembly.”
The governors in attendance reportedly include the chairman of the party governor’s forum, Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State; the governor of Kano, Abdullahi Ganduje; the governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwu-Olu; the governor of Jigawa State, Mohammed Abubakar, and the governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola.
The Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, alongside the governor of Ogun state, Dapo Abiodun, and Mr Obaseki were also reported to have attended the meeting.
Efforts to reach Mr Tinubu’s spokesperson, Tunde Rahman, through phone calls and text messages for comments were not successful.
No deal with Tinubu
PREMIUM TIMES learned separately that the governors departed Mr Tinubu’s home on Sunday dejected after the party’s national leader insisted there would be no automatic candidate ahead of the gubernatorial election in Edo.
The governors had hoped to secure an automatic ticket for Mr Obaseki, a source who was privy to the discussions at the meeting told PREMIUM TIMES.
“The governors visited Asiwaju (Tinubu) to plead that Obaseki be given the right of first refusal for the governorship ticket,” a source, who did not want to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said.
“Obaseki himself told Asiwaju that if he had offended him in any way, that he should forgive him. Asiwaju said he has not offended him.”
The governors, it was learnt, also asked why the party was pushing for direct primaries, instead of the indirect method
“Asiwaju told them that when there are more than two candidates running for a position, there has to be a primary. That he can only guarantee them that the primary will be free and fair,” a source said.
The source said having failed to convince Mr Tinubu, the governors left the party leader’s home dejected.