A former governorship aspirant of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) 2016, Major General Charles Airhiavbere, has protested the suspension handed on him by the State APC leaders. He was of the view that his interest to run for the governorship election in Edo State in 2020 is the reason for his suspension from the All Progressives Congress, (APC), not the allegation leveled against him.
Retired Major General Airhiavbere described his suspension from the APC by the party leaders in Ward one, Oredo Local Government Area, Edo State over allegation of anti- party activities in the 2019 presidential and national assembly elections in Edo State as an attempt to scuttle his ambition to contest the governorship election scheduled for next year.
Major General Airhiavbere who contested the governorship election in Edo State in 2012 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before defecting to the APC, at a social event in Benin City vowed he will sustain his governorship race at every given opportunity. Apparently, Airhiavbere is prepared to challenge the incumbent Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, for the APC governorship ticket in the state next year. The retired General is seen to constitute an obstacle to the second term of the Governor Obaseki.
There have been allegations and counter-allegations in Edo State APC over the roles some chieftains of the party played in the February 23rd presidential and national assembly elections that led to the poor performance of APC in the state. PDP won the presidential and the National Assembly elections in Edo South Senatorial District. That poor performance has become the hunting tool of APC leaders in the senatorial district to bring down Arhiavbere who is already lubricating his political machine to challenge incumbent Governor Obaseki for the APC ticket in 2020.
Political leaders in the APC in Oredo Local Government Area insist that General Arhiavbere was involved in anti-party activities in Edo South. This was the basis the party leaders resolved to suspend the General.
Meanwhile, the State APC leaders were gathered to have said that they are not aware of the suspension of the former governorship aspirant. Invariably, the suspension order may not have been ratified by the State Executive from where it would be communicated to the national leadership.
There are insinuations that APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, may be sponsoring General Arhiavbere to unseat Governor Obaseki in 2020. The APC national chairman is being perceived to be preparing for the Lagos State treatment on Governor Akinwumi Ambode against the Edo State Governor in the battle for the APC governorship ticket in 2020.
Those who claimed to have suspended the General are also believed to be fighting for the incumbent Governor Obaseki to strengthen the governor’s political forte and weaken the camp of the opposition within the party in the state.