A group, under the aegis of the League of Benin Professionals (LBP), has accused former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, of allegedly plotting to have the Minister of Health (State), Dr. Osagie Ehanire, removed from office with a view to replacing him.
A statement in Benin, yesterday, signed by Messrs Fidelis Osa Aibangbee, Festus Uhunoma Evbade, Osaretin Igbinigie and Imariabe Philips, for the group, said the latest scheming by the former governor is coming on the heels of his recent unsuccessful bid to oust Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, as the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC)
The group said: “It is important to bring to the notice of Nigerians that the moves by Oshiomhole to usurp the office of minister from Edo State currently held by a Benin man are not new but characteristic of the Oshiomhole persona.
“It follows that if the plot against Ehanire is successful, it would clearly represent the continuation of Oshiomhole’s gratuitous assault and penchant to humiliate our people. As an organisation of articulate and concerned Benin people, we will resist the untoward design against Ehanire. We are convinced that the ordinary Benin people should no longer accept further humiliations from the former governor.”
However, reacting to the allegation, media aide to Oshiomhole, Victor Oshioke, said: “If not for the respect and high esteem that Oshiomhole has for Ehanire, I would ordinarily not react to this baseless, speculative and unbridled attempt to merchandise falsehood by these jobless band of paper professionals.
“It is the same set of people, who are so obsessed with the name ‘Oshiomhole’, that their only preoccupation, apart from sleeping and waking, is churning out press releases and sponsored articles on Oshiomhole. Any intelligent Nigerian, who is abreast with the workings of government, knows that the appointment and removal of any minister is at the pleasure of the president of Nigeria.
“So, for anyone to allege that Oshiomhole is plotting the removal of a serving minister betrays a poverty of thought on the part of those making such an allegation. If I may ask, who is Oshiomhole plotting with. Is it with President Muhammadu Buhari or chairman of the APC to remove the minister? Can Oshiomhole remove a minister that he did not appoint? These band of never-do-well rumourmongers have finally exposed themselves as being behind previous speculations that Oshiomhole was plotting to oust Oyegun from office.
“It is obvious that in their bigoted minds and provincial mentality, they fear that it will only take the removal of a Benin man from office for Oshiomhole to be given a federal appointment. It has never occurred to them that after complying with the constitutional requirements of federal character spread, the resident has the powers to appoint anyone to any office, using a latitude of criteria.
“It is sad that apart from their pseudo ethnic laced arguments, they have never shown any reason Oshiomhole should not be given a federal appointment, which goes to reinforce the belief, by another school of thought, that with his performance, both as Labour leader and governor of Edo State, Oshiomhole has proven, meritoriously, that he has the capacity, attitude and clout to add value to the change agenda of the APC Federal Government.
“When a man has worked well, he deserves to be rewarded. Oshiomhole worked hard and helped APC to oust PDP from power, so, we are not shy to say he merits whatever position the president deems fit to appoint him to occupy.
“On the allegation that Oshiomhole as governor ‘took far-reaching decisions against the interest of the ordinary Benin people’, I will only say the final verdict on Oshiomhole’s stewardship as governor was unequivocally given by Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, when he hosted eminent Nigerians to a luncheon where he honoured and thanked Oshiomhole for what he did for the people of Edo State and the Benin people in particular. Any other opinion contrary to the royal acknowledgment is immaterial and noisemaking.
“Finally, the individuals parading themselves as members of League of Benin Professionals should go get their facts right and educate themselves properly. There is no School of Nursing in Iyamoh, Oshiomhole’s hometown. There is Edo University, Iyamoh which has a Department of Nursing that offer courses leading to the award of degrees in Nursing and Midwifery. This does not in any way conflict with the existence of a School of Nursing and Midwifery in Benin which offer courses leading to the award of Certificate in Nursing and Midwifery. A certificate in Nursing qualified one to study a degree in Nursing, so they should rather be thanking Oshiomhole if they are knowledgeable and sincere.”
The group, however, noted that when friends of Oshiomhole by words of mouth, in political meetings, publications in the print media and the social media platform canvassed that he, Oshiomhole, was the proper person to replace and unjustifiably usurp the office of national chairman of APC, he did not in the heat of the campaign against Chief Oyegun denied his interest in the position nor denied the sponsorship of the campaigners.
They stated that his current intrigues aimed at bringing down Ehanire will be not an easy walk over and assured him that, “we shall match his guiles and subterfuges with equal fervour; we will organise with unmatchable ardour to counter every move, subtle campaign or even open canvassing which Oshiomhole may hope to mount to take out Ehanire as minister from Edo State.”
They further accused the former governor of taking-far reaching decisions against the interests of the ordinary Benin people, citing the non-accreditations of the Edo State Schools of Nursing and midwifery both in Benin due to lack of funding only for him to have it approved at the Edo University, Iyahmo a School of Nursing.