…Obaseki is real target, source says
Two days after news reports of a looming face-off between councillors in Oredo Local Government Council and the Chairman of the Council, Hon. Jenkins Osunde, over claims of delayed execution of projects, Ibotanews can report that the gathering storm at the council is being instigated by the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), a splinter group of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, working against Governor Godwin Obaseki’s reelection.
Also up in arms against their chairman, are councillors in Ovia North East local council, who, on the prompting of the EPM, have drawn the battle lines with Hon. Scott Ogbemudia, the chairman.
Allegation of huge bribes collected by the councillors from EPM leaders to execute the plan exists in the council and was yet to be denied by them as of the time of filing this report.
We gathered from reliable sources that Hon. Ogbemudia, a staunch supporter of Governor Obaseki, is seen as a threat to the EPM agenda, after severing ties with some notable EPM members.
Investigations by Ibotanews revealed layers of schemes designed by the EPM to infiltrate the ranks of the law makers and woo them to join their onslaught against Governor Godwin Obaseki’s reelection ambition as preparations for the APC primaries reach fever pitch.
A strong member of the EPM, who pleaded anonymity said, “we are politicians and the stage is set to show Obaseki that we are old in this game. Anything and everything is possible considering our desperation to stop the governor’s second term bid. The fight in Oredo Council is just one of our strategies and more such crises are being cooked as I speak. Nothing should surprise Edo people from now henceforth.”
Validating the threat by the EPM member, an aide to one of the councillors, who wouldn’t want his name mentioned because of the sensitive nature of the issue, said he was “aware of clandestine meetings held by some councillors and top EPM leaders in undisclosed location, who promised to pay the furniture allowance owed them by the council, if the councillors will switch and commit their loyalty to the EPM and its agenda to stop Obaseki’s second term ambition.”
The aide added: “The plan is to first move against the council chairman, Hon. Jenkins Osunde, who is a staunch supporter of Obaseki and his reelection bid. After that, the councillors will, hand in gloves with the EPM, go after Obaseki.”
He expressed fears that this same plot may have been extended to councillors in other local government areas, and advised Obaseki’s campaign team to watch their back.
He alleged that “the so-called furniture allowance has been paid to some Oredo by the top EPM leaders.
“Others have been promised more money if they will support the plot to remove the Chairman, Jenkins Osunde, who is believed to be committed to Obaseki’s reelection.”
The source added, “this is about Obaseki’s reelection and nothing more. It is very glaring. You may ask yourself why the councillors have chosen few months to the end of this administration to raise issues of project funding and counterpart assistance etc.
“Did they just realise that these projects have not been completed? Why didn’t they raise these issues a year ago? They know if they discredit Jenkins Osunde and bring him down, they would have depleted Obaseki’s support base and if this trend happens in all the 18 local councils, then Obaseki’s bid for a second term will be threatened.”
However, further checks with some political leaders in the council, revealed that there is yet another group of councillors who are afraid that Obaseki may not win his reelection bid and would want to be paid all monies owed them before they lose such entitlements to a new governor that may become the Egyptian Pharaoh that will not know Joseph.
One of the leaders said: “Some of these councillors are only interested in their pockets. For this group of councillors, the hullabaloo is about the fear that Obaseki may not return as governor, so they want all their allowances paid now before that happens.”
He however criticised the councillors’ move as “self serving, considering the state of affairs in Nigeria at the moment, with the economic hardship foisted on everyone by the Coronavirus pandemic”.
The party leader added: “Mind you, their request is not their monthly salaries and allowances. They receive those regularly. My problem with their request is that Nigeria is broke. Oil prices have crashed. The country is borrowing money to stay afloat. Why should these councillors chose this period to make these demands?” He queried.
According to him, “At the federal level, national assembly members have forfeited their allowances, some state assembly members have done same, so we expect the councillors to follow this trend and put the wellbeing of the people they are serving ahead of their personal interest.
“These are critical times in which we have found ourselves. Many people can’t find food to eat. Businesses have been impacted negatively by the lockdown and no reasonable elected servant of the people should be agitating for allowances for chairs, curtains, rug carpets in the midst of a hungry population.
“This is the time for leaders at various levels to demonstrate love for their people who elected them to serve them and sacrifice excessive personal comfort for the good of the people in the council and state,” he advised.