Expectations that the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, would meet face to face with his estranged successor, Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, at the 23rd annual Auchi Day celebration, turned anti-climax yesterday, as Oshiomhole was absent.
His absence was attributed to tight engagement he had in Abuja, yesterday.
But supporters of the two main actors in the Edo State APC crisis had mobilised themselves around the venue apparently to capitalise on the arrival of their principals to showcase their solidarity.
Supporters of Oshiomhole positioned themselves inside and outside the arena waiting for any sign of Oshiomhole’s presence to take over the arena, while those of Obaseki stood few metres away from the entrance to the palace with customised fez caps and immediately thronged the road when the governor’s convoy arrived.
But a combined team of army, police, sister security agencies and local vigilante ensured the crowd was stopped from entering the venue. Only those who agreed to remove their crested caps were allowed in to prevent the arena being turned to a political ground.
Governor Obaseki and the Otaru of Auchi, Aliru Momoh Ikelebe III, called for peace in the state and country and advocated leadership for all, irrespective of political affiliation.
According to the Otaru, leadership is given by God and must be administered to all irrespective of the interest of those being led.
“God can use anything for what he wants to do. When you say you are after Auchi as a human being, watch it because what we think about ourselves is one thing and what we pray to God to do for us is another thing,” he said.
On his part, Obaseki promised to rebuild the dilapidated ICE/Igbe Road.
“As we observe this celebration, I want to use this opportunity to re-emphasise peace and lovely disposition of our people, I want to emphasise peace and love because these are the hallmarks which characterises the Muslim community.
“I agree we are not here on our own, we are not here on own accord and therefore anybody, particularly a leader, who believes he is here because of his own attributes or because of how special he is, is mistaking. God brought us all here. Our salvation is in the hands of the almighty Allah, whatever you will be, whatever you will achieve, rest in the hands of the Almighty because no man can play the role of the Almighty. God is God, He is the one who determines who will be what and what will be.
“As we enter the election season, I implore all of you to continue to be models of peace, regardless of your individual political leanings, I want to assure you, your royal highnesses, that as long as I remain governor, I will continue to pursue peace because there can be no development without peace. I want to promise you that no matter how humiliated I am, no matter the humiliation I receive, it will not deter me from pursuing peace,” he said.