He will see that the things he said about the party’s screening process, after his dramatic disqualification, ironically describe his own governance style.
The governor, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, described his screening as a “mockery of democratic process” and “an unfortunate, disheartening and dreadful spectacle.” He also said it was an “open display and enthronement of illegality,” and called it an “open show of shame, illegality and travesty of justice.” He described his disqualification as “unjust,” and accused the APC’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, of “maladministration of the party.”
Talking of democracy and democratic process, Obaseki conveniently forgot his spectacularly undemocratic role in the sidelining of members-elect of the Edo State House of Assembly who were not in his camp, and were loyal to Oshiomhole, also a former governor of the state and his political benefactor with whom he had parted ways.
After a deliberate delay, he eventually transmitted a letter of proclamation to the clerk of the house, which was necessary for the inauguration of the legislature. However, only 9 of the 24 members-elect, loyal to Obaseki, were first inaugurated, then 2 others, in June last year, in questionable circumstances.
With the deliberate exclusion of the others, who were not inaugurated, Obaseki’s loyalists took control of the legislature. What could be more undemocratic than such weakening of a critical arm of government?
It is noteworthy that the political crisis in the state worsened in December 2019 when the House of Assembly declared vacant the seats of 12 lawmakers-elect yet to be inaugurated.
Suddenly, Obaseki remembered democracy when the governorship primary election drew near. He was ready to do anything in order to get re-elected for a second term. He showed his desperation by choosing Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Simon Lalong (Plateau) and Senator Ehigie Uzamere to work out a peace deal with the sidelined legislators-elect. ”The exclusion of the… members-elect is one of the issues behind the virtually intractable crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC),” a report said.
Why did Obaseki wait till the approach of the governorship primary election, scheduled for June 22, and the party’s decision to conduct a direct primary election, which he was opposed to, before trying to normalise the anomalous situation he had helped to bring about in the state legislature?
Obaseki’s wailing after his disqualification shows that he has not been looking in the mirror. It may well be that he reaped what he sowed.