The embattled governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has resigned his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Obaseki, who until his resignation as a party member was the only APC governor in the South-South geopolitical zone, disclosed his decision to leave the party to State House Correspondents on Tuesday while on his way out of the Presidential Villa.
The governor, however, did not state where he would be heading after leaving the APC, but hinted that he would be announcing his next line of actions in a matter of days, including the political party on which he would be contesting the gubernatorial election.
He also debunked the allegation by the APC that his contents of his credentials were inconsistent, explaining that he had earlier misplaced original copies of his credentials, prior to the last governorship election, and had deposed to an affidavit for the purpose.
He, however, disclosed that he had found the misplaced original copies, which he said he now had in possession.
“You remember in my last tweet, I said that I’ll make a decision, after my disqualification was announced by APC, that I’ll make a decision after I’ve consulted with the leadership and my supporters in Edo State and also having informed the President.
“Just here today to inform you that I have now decided, formally, to resign my membership of the All Progressives Congress. Having done that I will now announce in the next few days my specific line of action and what platform I will be contesting the gubernatorial election on.
“I’m sure the whole country knows and is aware of what has gone on with me and the party chairman and party leadership, which culminated in my disqualification as a gubernatorial aspirant and upon that unfortunate decision by the chairman of the All Progressives Congress, I’ve decided to go and seek my gubernatorial aspiration on another platform”, he said.
Speaking on allegations of inconsistencies in his credentials, the governor said “someone who hasn’t gone to school, who doesn’t have certificate himself, will not know and understand what inconsistencies in certificates are, that’s the starting point.
“What is the inconsistency? There’s no inconsistency in my certificates. The issue was in 2016, when I contested for gubernatorial election, I could not find the originals of my certificates because I hadn’t required them for more than two decades. So I deposed to an affidavit that I couldn’t find the originals.
“Subsequently, I found all the original copies of all my certificates and they are with me. So I don’t understand what’s inconsistent about that.
“Maybe the inconsistency in the Youths Corps certificate where he said my surname was missing an ‘i’ at the end, but if you look at that it was like a cursive, it was written in a cursive manner. So if that’s inconsistency for him, then it’s really sad that people of that quality are leading the Nigeria’s ruling party.
“For him it was just to look for an excuse to take whatever decision he wants to take and it’s really sad that the party structure today gives him that sort of authority without checks, that is dangerous for any system or any institution.
“When you give authority and responsibility to people who don’t have character, people who do not have finesse, a sense of justice, then that institution is imperilled”, he said.
Asked what he thought his chances would be, contesting for the office of the governor on a platform other than the APC, he said “I’m sure if you’ve scanned the environment, you’ve scanned the media, you’ve scanned social media, the reaction from people across the world, particularly Edos at home and in the Diaspora, has for me has been unbelievable. They’ve said to me, ‘wherever you go, we go”.
He accused the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, of using the party machinery to intimidate those he considered educated and had more substance, adding that his disqualification from contesting the governor’s office on the party’s platform was driven by fear.
“He has not provided a level playing ground even in the selection process, the disqualification process: what is the basis for disqualifying someone like Chris Ogiemwonyi?
“You are afraid of people who are educated because you didn’t go to school. You are afraid of people who have something to offer because all he knows how to offer is brigandage, crisis. So for us, Nigeria has to move forward beyond some of the characters who are currently overseeing our political polity and they are scared.
“They are scared that when people of substance, when people who are proven, when people who have succeeded in other aspects of life come into politics, they will be history.
“For me, this fight is not about grabbing political power, it’s not about me, it’s not about trying to prove a sense of importance, no. It’s for us, 21 years into this Republic, democracy must mature, but as democracy is maturing, we now need to begin to show that politics cannot and should not be the preserve of a certain character of people.
“People of accomplishment, people of knowledge, people of character must also be accommodated in the political space. You don’t have to be a ruffian to be a politician, you don’t have to be a brigand to be a politician, you don’t have to be a thief to be a politician”, he said.