By Ikhili Ebalu, Benin City
APC leaders in Edo state have called on the governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki to demand for the arrest of his predecessor in office who is now the National Chairman of the party, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, following allegations of corruption against him.
Speaking on behalf of the APC leaders after a meeting, recently at a press conference in Benin City, Mr Baba Franco said one of the allegations is that Mr Adams Oshiomhole personalized government properties after using state funds to purchase most of them while in office.
“The records are there. He should be arrested. Before he became governor in 2007, Oshiomhole was a tenant at Gapiona Road, Benin City. Today he has properties all over the world; hospital in Atlanta, USA, a N10billion mansion in his village, Iyamoh and a property at Okoro-Otun.
“Oshiomhole converted a lot of state properties into his personal property. Take the case of the house along Reservation road and the controversial former University of Benin Staff quarters in Okoro-Otun which he took over forcibly from the state but he has now converted into his personal use.
“No governor in the history of Edo state has taken over state land and property for himself like Oshiomhole did especially prime properties which I think the governor should now look into in the public interest and as well as for justice sake”.
Mr Franco also called on the state Governor to unravel the circumstances which resulted in the burning down of the records section of the State Ministry of Education at Iyaro, Benin City, in June 2013 at the time Mr Oshiomhole was facing allegations of not possessing a primary six school leaving certificate which was leveled against by Maj Gen Charles Airhiavbere.
“Oshiomhole swore to an oath as governor to protect lives and public properties in Edo state, but he failed to protect the Mintsry of education. So we are calling on Governor Obasekk to prosecute him for the arson which took place at that Ministry while he was in office”.
On the festering crisis involving the governor and Mr Oshiomhole, Mr Franco said it boils down to the National Chairman of the APC wanting to be a godfather and through Governor Obaseki serve an unconstitutional third term as Edo State Governor.
“The man wants to be a godfather but we killed godfatherism in Edo State when the late Chief Anenih wanted to play the godfather. Oshiomhole stood and said No to godfatherism and we all joined him to say so; how can he now turn around and say he wants to play the godfather with our governor?.
“It does not seem like he knows he is no longer the governor because he sees his new office as National Chairman as a means to unduly exert himself in Edo State. Chief John Odigie-Oyegun served as National Chairman at a time when Oshiomhole was the governor but he never interfered with his activities as Governor.
“Oshiomhole is not Bola Tinubu and Obaseki is not Ambode. Oshiomhole cannot lead us. He has done his eight years as governor. He should allow a Democratically elected governor like Obaseki to govern the state”.
Commending the Benin monarch, Oba Ewuare II for his efforts at seeking a peaceful resolve out of the APC crisis which he also blamed on the greed of a few party members, Mr Franco called on the President Mr Muhammadu Buhari, to call Oshiomhole to order.
He said this is because leaders and members of the APC in the state and all peace loving Edo people want the governor to serve a second term of another four years because he has performed creditably in his first term.
“I also appeal to President Muhammad Buhari, to call him (Oshiomhole) to order, before the reputation of our great party is muddled with mud due to the undemocratic credentials of the National Chairman, which has found expression in multiple crisis in several states in the country including imposed congresses and skewed primaries”.
It will be recall that roperties worth millions of naira were destroyed on that fateful day in 2013 during a fire outbreak that gutted the building of the Edo State Ministry of Education, Benin City, capital of Edo State, southsouth Nigeria.
About 20 office apartments where certificates and examinations records of the primary school and Teacher Training Grade two leaving certificates were kept were destroyed.
Mostly affected by the fire were the exams and records offices where Primary School Leaving Certificates belonging to the defunct Bendel State, now Edo and Delta states, and that of then incumbent governor Oshiomhole were kept.
The certificates affected were said to be dated back to the Mid-Western region period as well as those of the the Edo State governor.
The State Commissioner for Higher Education, Barrister Washington Osifo, who described the fire incident as unfortunate, promised thst a panel of inquiry would be set up to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the fire outbreak.
“I want to say I don’t know why it is happening at this time, though there is no time that is good for anyone to experience what he/she has laboured for to be destroyed by fire.
“We are disheartened to know that the educational records dating back to the time of Mid-Western region to date were destroyed. I was not even born then. I met these records here.
“Even those who are in the tertiary institutions who still have their primary school leaving certificates here can no longer lay claims to such certificates. It is sad. They should be sad, Edo people should be sad, I am sad and humanity in general should be sad.
“A panel of inquiry would be set up. Its mandate would include investigating the causes of the incident. It must find out why, how and when the fire started,” Osifo said.
It is curious to note that six years after the promise to investigate the inferno, he failed to set up any panel to unravel the mysterious fire that consumed the entire exams records in the Edo State ministry of education.