Scared of getting Ambode treatment, Obaseki’s loyalists suspend Airhiavbere
Based on speculations that General Charles Airhiavbere (rtd) is working behind the scene to activate his governorship ambition, especially given his purported closeness to the national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. APC stakeholders in Oredo Ward 1 last Monday suspended Gen. Airhiavbere for alleged anti-party activities.
The perceived loss of camaraderie between Governor Obaseki and Oshiomhole reared its head during the last state congress of the party, when nearly all the aspirants for party offices loyal to the governor were stopped.
Sources within APC headquarters in Abuja disclosed that during the exchanges between the former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and party leaders over the rationale of denying Governor Akinwunmi Ambode a second term, Oshiomhole was nodding in approbation when Tinubu declared that henceforth no person would serve for two terms as governor in the state.
“Some of those who were at the parley said Oshiomhole actually saw reason in Tinubu’s argument that allowing a particular political godson enjoy two terms in office as governor predisposes the governor to attempt demystifying his benefactor,” the source stated.
He noted that when the conversation between Tinubu and APC stakeholders, led by Oshiomhole, over the fate of Ambode was narrated in Benin City, some politicians loyal to the Edo governor insisted on moving fact to build a strong base preparatory to the governor’s second term election.
However, leaders of the party in the state have come out to deny that Airhiavbere’s suspension received the approval of the party, stressing that those who suspended the former governorship aspirant are on their own. The state’s publicity secretary of the party, Mr. Chris Azebamwan, told journalists that the purported suspension of Airhiavbere does not hold water.
But APC Oredo Ward 1, in a press statement signed by its chairman, Hon. Felix Ehigiegba and 21 others, alleged that the retired general worked against President Muhammadu Buhari and other candidates of the party in the just-concluded presidential and National Assembly elections in the state.
Ehigiegba said: “We wish to bring to the notice of the party hierarchy anti-party acts/actions carried out by one of the leaders of Oredo Ward 1 APC – General Charles Airhiavbere during the last general elections held on February 23, 2019 (Presidential and National Assembly).
“Sir, it will interest you to note that on March 3, an enlarged APC leadership meeting was held. In that meeting, one of the leaders from Ward 1, Hon. Samson Abu, openly revealed how Gen. Airhiavbere was involved in anti-party activities against APC.
“Though Gen. Airhiavbere was unavoidably absent in that meeting, but based on a series of complaints from different quarters about Gen. Charles Airhiavbere’s actions of late towards the party, an investigative panel was set up to find out the true picture. The panel, having sat and carefully investigated the allegations, came up with these findings and recommendations:
“General Charles Airhiavbere, on the day of election, deliberately withheld tags and other party tools meant for agents and APC faithful, thereby hindering their work on the field.”
The ward executives added that the embattled Airhiavbere openly canvassed for votes for the opposition PDP and thereby worked against APC candidates, especially the president and our National Assembly candidates, stressing that the suspended chieftain “openly told our party agents and loyalists that they should make sure APC did not win the presidential and National Assembly elections.”
The ward chairmen added: “Based on Gen. Airhiavbere’s unpardonable actions against APC and coupled with hard evidence against him, the undersigned executives of Oredo Ward I met have moved a vote of no confidence on General Charles Airhiavbere and he is therefore suspended indefinitely from All Progressive Congress with immediate effect.”
While responding to the purported suspension, Airhiavbere, in a statement through his media adviser, Mr. Edosa Okunbo, said the illegal action is the handiwork of persons who are terrified of his interest in the 2020 gubernatorial primaries of the party.
Airhiavbere stated: “I am not shocked by the claims and allegations contained in the letter and it does not come to me as a surprise because I am aware that it is the handiwork of persons who are terrified of my interest in the 2020 Gubernatorial primaries in our great party.
“I hereby call on all our party members in the ward and local government who have been served this unsavory news to be calm and be rest assured that the best will come out of the development as a few cannot hold the majority to ransom.”
He denied knowledge of any disciplinary committee set up by the party in Ward 1, Oredo, saying as a member and leader he ought to know if indeed he was “supposedly invited to defend myself on the allegations contained in the letter.
“Even if such a committee was set up, I am not aware of its members and whether it ever sat and held proceedings where it came to conclusions contained in the letter. For the records, I was not given any money by the party for the purpose of any election and I did not chair any campaign committee for election purposes.”
Airhiavbere warned that enemies of democracy and Edo State APC were determined to cause chaos in the party for their selfish interests.
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