The APC cannot afford to lose Edo state because of its significant and critical position for national direction, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has said.
The APC leader stated this in Abuja today while presenting the certificate of return to Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the APC governorship candidate in Edo state at the party’s national secretariat.
“We want to hope that you will work in unity in Edo state because we cannot, in a sense, afford to lose Edo state. That thought must never arise. We have to win in Edo state. It is no longer a local politics. It is very significant for national direction at the APC. It is not only in Edo State.
“So, I want you to take it and have it clearly in your mind that the totality of the party is surely 100% behind your candidature as governor of Edo state. We will swing into action now.
“We have to set up a campaign council committee to include governors at national level. You can go on now with your campaign. But we will have a truly national event in Edo state, which would bring virtually the totality of the leadership of the party to Edo state to underscore that fact; that this is an election we intend to win. We will not capture. There is nothing to capture. We will ensure that there is a very resounding win. We will retain control of Edo State,” said Odigie-Oyegun.
He reiterated his calls on all party stakeholders to unite and work for Obaseki, stressing that the victory of the party is an option that must be accomplished.
The APC governorship candidate, Mr Obaseki, in his remarks while fielding questions from journalists, defended the choice of Mr. Philip Shuaibu as his deputy, saying the decision was taken after wide consultations with party leaders.
Obaseki stated that he did not take the decision alone being a personality who believed in “party structure and discipline”.
He said the pedigree of Mr Shuaibu as a former President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), a former Majority Leader in Edo state House of Assembly and the incumbent member of the House of Representatives was enough to consider his choice.
“So, a young man with such pedigree, I’m assured that he will be able to handle politics, while I focus a lot more on the workings of economy for Edo state,” said Obaseki.
The selection of Shuaibu, who hails from Edo North Senatorial District just like Governor Adams Oshiomhole, was believed to have received strong opposition of some party leaders from Edo Central Senatorial District who were currently being calmed down with the position of Speaker.
Reacting to the purported dissatisfaction from Edo Central APC leaders over his selection, Obaseki said the issue was “discussed intensely” with an agreement that every part of Edo state must be carried along in his administration.
The APC governorship candidate had earlier expressed his willingness to bring all co-contestants on board during the campaigns despite the refusal of one out 11 aspirants to work with him. While expressing the hope that the aspirant would still join them during the rally, he voiced optimism about the party’s victory during the September 10 governorship election.