Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says the party cannot bend its rules in favour of Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo state.
The APC screening committee had disqualified Obaseki from participating in the governorship primary election in Edo scheduled for June 22, but it cleared Osagie Ize-Iyamu believed to be supported by Oshiomhole for the exercise.
There are now speculations that Obaseki, who is seeking a second term, will be defecting to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), after he had met with some PDP governors.
Oshiomhole after meeting with Ibrahim Gambari, chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, said he does not know the governor’s move, and that the APC has rules governing it and everybody irrespective of status is expected to abide by them.
“I don’t know about exit. What we see from your media, electronic and print, is that he visited a number of PDP governors. We read from electronic and print that those consultations may have to do with his plan and so on. But we are not here to speculate,” he said.
“Our party is not a party of big men. It is governed by rules. Both the small and the big are subjected to those rules. I’m sure you will agree that our president led by example when we conducted the direct primary in the last presidential election. We still went to Eagle Square for affirmation.
“So, if the president did not have the right of first refusal because our constitution does not provide for it, we cannot under any circumstances now bend the rules when it comes to some people and change the rules when it comes to others.
“Our duty as the management board of APC is to ensure that we strictly obey the provisions of our constitution, which empowers the National Working Committee to conduct primaries for president, governors, national assembly, and state houses of assembly.”
The APC in Edo has had factions since the governor fell out with Oshiomhole.