Tag Archives: Governor Godwin Obaseki

OBASEKI AND PDP’s WICKED PLOT TO PROCURE A COURT ORDER TO STOP APC AND IT’S CANDIDATE PASTOR OSAGIE IZE-IYAMU FROM PARTICIPATING IN THE  SEPTEMBER 19, 2020, GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION IN EDO STATE: A CALL FOR JUDICIAL CAUTION

~By Samson R. Osagie, Esq

Ahead of the September 19, governorship election in Edo State, the PDP and its emergency candidate Godwin Obaseki have ran out of ideas, as their campaigns loses traction with thousands of their members abandoning their sinking ship.

Perturbed by the reality of imminent and unavoidable defeat, they have gone on their kneels groveling before one of the South South Governors and a PDP godfather who describe the National leadership of their party as tax collectors to assist them procure a frivolous court order that will prevent the APC and its formidable candidate Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu from participating in the September 19 gubernatorial election in Edo State.

As a matter of fact two Senior Lawyers in Benin one in Edo State public service and the other in private practice have been given matching orders to liaise with another prominent Senior lawyer in Lagos to urgently seek for injunctive orders against the APC candidate by all means possible. This step is been backed by the payment of several millions of dollars and billions of naira by Governor Obaseki to the Lawyers and the PDP godfather in the south south.

As part of measures to achieve this unholy and devilish mission Obaseki having obtain assurance from the PDP’s godfather in Port Harcourt has been junketing from one judicial division to the other seeking for pliable judges to assist him with an order based on frivolous and unmeritorious application against the APC and its candidate.

This is why he is not campaigning or funding the PDP campaign, a situation which is alleged to have created a rift between him and his Deputy.

No wonder their media hirelings have been posting what looks like messages intended to prepare the mind of the public as to what they intend to achieve. In one of the Post a certain Jack Obiyan, Special Assistant to Governor Obaseki twitted that the suspended former State Chairman Anselm Ojezua as saying ” APC has no candidate”. The PDP godfather during their ill-fated flag off campaign in one of the changing rooms at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium re – echoed same.

Unfortunately, for the embattled party that sold its governorship and Deputy governorship tickets to Obaseki and his Deputy for several billions of Edo taxpayers money, many heads of courts across the country have issued stern warnings to judicial officers to refrain from entertaining frivolous politically motivated litigations aimed at derailing the democratic process which has characterized the Obaseki misadventure in Edo State governance since 2016.

Let it be known that Anselm Ojezua and Godwin Obaseki are living in fool’s paradise for assuming that they could put spanner in the works of the Edo APC from regaining its control of government in Edo State come November 12, 2020.

The APC gubernatorial primaries which Anselm Ojezua claims did not produce a candidate was ratified by the National Executive Committee which held in the Presidential Villa and which he virtually attended, albeit erroneously. How he now claim that after the ratification of the primaries which produced Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the party still has no candidate is a matter Mr President and the National Caretaker Committee of the APC must invoke serious disciplinary measures against by expelling Anselm Ojezua from the party.
It is no longer news that Anselm Ojezua and a few party chairmen at the LGA levels in Edo State are refusing to decamp with Obaseki to PDP with the intention of sabotaging the APC in the next election.

They will fail!!!

It is therefore important to state that Nigerian courts must be wary of the suits which are been filed with the aim of derailing the democratic processes in Edo State so as not to create a constitutional crisis as the tenure of the incumbent governor expires midnight of November 11(my birthday) and Edo people are not prepared to renew the mandate.

Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, candidate of the APC has undoubtedly fulfilled all legal requirements including incontrovertible academic qualifications and compliance with every statutory provisions spelt out in the Nigerian Constitution, the APC constitution and the electoral Act under which INEC has issued its guidelines.

Consequently, any order seeking to stop the APC candidate from participating in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Edo State can only be a product of judicial compromise and we are confident that the Nigerian judiciary will not lend itself to such an ignoble mission.

Let us warn the PDP godfather in the south south oil rich state that the APC is fully aware of his boasts to use the judiciary to achieve this unholy mission as he did to APC in Rivers State in 2019. By God grace and under God no weapon fashioned by him and his God son Godwin Obaseki shall succeed and Obaseki shall lose shamelessly to Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Needless to emphasize that the people of Edo State have accepted the SIMPLE AGENDA of the APC and its candidate and they are very prepared to run with it to guarantee security, quality infrastructure, Manpower development, public private partnership, leadership by example and employment cum empowerment. This SMART program is Specific, Measurable, Achievable , Realistic and Time bound so much so that Edo people can hold the APC government of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu accountable to it. On the contrary, the Obaseki government has no discernable agenda except bogus and incomprehensible litany of failed promises. Edo People cannot continue with his deceitful and hypocritical administration.
The task to reclaim Edo from the PDP tenant on September 19 is already a forgone conclusion and the Courts must exercise utmost circumspection not to yield to any unpatriotic, undemocratic, frivolous and vexatious applications relating to Edo elections particularly applications for injunctive reliefs against the APC and its candidate.

Finally, the Chief Justice of Nigeria should prevail on all superior courts of record to excercise utmost discretion and restraints in matters relating to Edo State governorship election before, during and after the election without prejudice to their powers to entertain post elections petitions.

Edo State is APC, and it’s people have decided to elect Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Mallam Gani Audu as the next Governor and Deputy Governor.
No more, No less.

~Hon Samson Osagie is a former Minority Whip of the House of Representatives and the Coordinator, APC Campaign Council in charge of Edo South Senatorial District.

Exclusive: Findings absolve Captain Hosa, Comrade Oshiomhole and other APC chieftains of blame in fight at Benin Palace gate

Feelers reaching our news desk from the findings of Patrick Osagie Eholor, President of the One Love Foundation and the Observer General, is that the fight between the supporters of the two frontline political parties in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Edo State – the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party – revealed that the brouhaha was actually started by the PDP supporters.

According to the findings, the Palace had fixed the traditional christening of the first son given birth to since His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare 11, assumed the throne in October, 2016, for Saturday, July 25th, 2020.

According to the story, the traditional christening is in line with the customs and tradition of the Benin Palace. The date was said to have been fixed long before the PDP fixed its governorship campaign flag-off. And that the party and its officials had actually pleaded to use the occasion to flag off their campaign and pay a courtesy visit to the monarch.

As it is the tradition, we gathered, nobody is restricted from been part of the day’s celebration as the Palace gate is left open and whoever is interested in partaking in the jollification is allowed into the palace ground to join the other numerous people of goodwill.

From history, people who originate from the adjoining community to the palace called Ogbe are known to lay strong claim to the edifice.

It was this, we learnt, that brought about the large presence of the community people led by one of their own Tony Adun(aka Kabaka) to the palace to join in the celebration.

We gathered that what was supposed to be a moment of celebration turned to a day of mourning when some PDP supporters, who felt that APC supporters were meddling unnecessarily in their affairs, allegedly turned violent, molesting those they considered as intruders at a purely PDP show leading to an orgy of destruction.

The APC supporters were said to have fought back in defence and to assert that they too have a right to be part of the palace celebration.

Going further, the sources revealed that top personalities and chieftains of the APC like the former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, business mogul, Captain Hosa Okunbo and many other notable individuals that are been accused of sponsoring the ‘fight’ at the palace vicinity were actually victims of circumstances who had found themselves in the vicinity at that point in time as they joined the royal family and people of goodwill in partaking in what was supposed to be a historic day of celebration.

I don’t know about attack of Gov Obaseki at Oba of Benin Palace – Capt Hosa

PRESS STATEMENT:

There have been reports of an ugly and unfortunate booing incident that took place outside the palace of our revered Royal Father, the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, on Saturday, July 25, 2020, during the visit of members of the National Campaign Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The PDP entourage, including the Edo State Governor and governorship candidate of the PDP in Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, were reportedly booed while going in and out of the palace by a motley crowd of mostly young boys, according to media reports.

Some members of the crowd who reportedly embarrassed the PDP team and the State Governor were said to have been subsequently attacked allegedly by some gun-toting thugs and sustained varied degrees of injuries in the attack.

While I condemn the booing of the governor and the PDP team, and the reprisal attack, I am particularly pained that some ungodly insinuations in some quarters have linked me with the unfortunate saga. It is against this backdrop that I have deemed it necessary to make the following clarifications:

1. That I was invited to the Palace of the Oba of Benin for a very private ceremony, which I did not even attend with my friends; and that the private ceremony, which had no bearing at all with politics, took place hours after the booing incident happened outside the Palace;

2. That I was not privy to the ugly incident during which Governor Godwin Obaseki was reportedly booed;

3. That as a responsible citizen and elder statesman who respects constituted authorities, I would not subscribe to any act that tends to disrespect or denigrate any constituted authority whether in Edo State or any other State in Nigeria;

4. That I sincerely frown at the brazen act of disrespect for constituted authorities by the crowd of young men who reportedly became unruly on sighting the entourage of the PDP National Campaign Council and Governor Godwin Obaseki at the palace of the Oba of Benin;

5. That I will never, ever be a party to any plan, plot, action or inaction to embarrass our most revered father, Oba Ewuare II, who is non-partisan; and who plays the role of a father to all sons and daughters of the great Benin Kingdom;

6. That I was not associated with the activities of the unruly crowd and therefore could not have been sent to the palace by me to embarrass the PDP entourage, including the State Governor whom I respect as the number one citizen of the State;

7. That I have equal measure of respect for other State Governors who were on the entourage with Governor Godwin Obaseki, some of whom are my personal friends; and could not have encouraged any plot to boo or embarrass them;

8. That just as I was not privy to the ugly incident outside the palace of the Oba Of Benin, our revered Royal Father, Oba Ewuare II, was also not even aware of what transpired outside until later after he had been briefed about it;

9. That those who made insinuations linking me with the ugly incident were just trying to drag me into their politics and create the impression in certain quarters that I was responsible for their rejection by the people;

10. That I state solemnly that, in my position as a role model to our teeming youths who look up to me for guidance and support, I cannot, under any guise, undertake directly or sanction indirectly any action that will place me in a position of disrepute before them and other well-meaning members of the society;

11. That, for the records, our revered Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, will not, at all times, condone any act of indiscipline by the youths;

12. That I urge my good people of Edo State, associates and supporters to rest assured that I remain the person they have good neighborliness who is committed to the promotion of peace, security and orderliness in our society;

13. That I have always preached to the hearing of everybody that the ambition of any man is not worth the blood of any Edolite;

14. That I call on all Edo people to join hands to ensure that they eschew violence in the electioneering by the political parties and in the forthcoming September 19, 2020 governorship election;

15. God bless Edo people; God bless Edo State; God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria;

Oba Gha to Kpere, Isee!
Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo Sunday, July 26, 2020

Captain Hosa to Buhari: Pls tell Governor Obaseki to leave me alone

PRESS STATEMENT BY CAPT. (DR) IDAHOSA WELLS OKUNBO (CAPT. HOSA)

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI AND THE GOOD PEOPLE OF EDO STATE: PLEASE, URGE GOVERNOR GODWIN OBASEKI TO LEAVE ME ALONE

I have, for some time now, experienced an unprecedented dose of orchestrated bashings and campaign of calumny calculated to malign my person and cast aspersions on my hard-earned reputation.

This spate of coordinated attacks, with their attendant mode of vicious execution, can best be described as the unconscionable actions by attack dogs and hirelings of desperate Edo State Government on the watch of Governor Godwin Obaseki.

After a deep evaluation of these seamless attacks and poisonous bitterness against my person, I have come to the conclusion that, as a good-hearted Edo son, I do not deserve the embarrassing treatment. My pedigree will never, ever allow me to deliberately concoct any wrong against my State and its Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki who, today, by the grace of God, enjoys the mandate of the good people of Edo State to preside over their affairs.

I am, however, shocked, bewildered and pained to observe that despite my very sincere, robust and stated commitment to support the anticipated pace of infrastructure development, progress and other social investment initiatives through the deployment of my modest goodwill and network of capital, for which I am eternally grateful to God, alas, the response has been to paint my person with a tar brush of public odium that verges on mischief.

I have, regardless of this very unpleasant experience, remained a lover and promoter of peace and will continue to be at peace with myself and most members of the society, but which by the Governor’s actions and inactions, it has become impossible.

My contributions to peace, progress and visible development of the economy of the state pursuant to our collective aspirations and shared commitments remain a fait accompli. These contributions are self-sacrificing without necessarily expecting any iota of reciprocal gesture or patronage from the Government of Edo State.

I, therefore, find it sickening and incomprehensible to understand or accept any justification for the series of sustained virulent attacks against my person in the social and print media by some agents of Edo State Government.

My long and trusted acquaintances of very many years will attest to my unrepentant fidelity to principles and facts. They know that I will not, through distortion of facts, destroy the integrity of such values to gain undue relevance, unnecessary attention and sympathy.

To be sure, I state the facts of matters as they are to the best of my ability, good conscience and the fear of God. It is therefore in this context that I set out to address contending issues in this statement.

Pursuant to my personal convictions and without any fear of contradictions, I have solidly supported the administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki without employing rhetoric but verifiable evidence of actuality in the last three years of his administration. These very modest contributions of solidarity include but not limited to:

1. In 2016, on assumption of office, I met with Governor Godwin Obaseki to discuss several ways of driving foreign investment and ultimately making Edo State an investment hub. Pursuant to this objective, I immediately sponsored the Governor and his team of officials on an investment pathfinder’s trip to China. This was done pursuant to my firm conviction in private sector-led participation as being the key to economic and industrial development of the State.

2. As a show of reinforcement of solidarity for the Governor’s mandate when I was invited to the Edo Convention in Toronto, Canada, I again demonstrated my support for the Governor by my speech where I encouraged everyone to support his administration and also, on that occasion, donated 5 (five) houses worth N50m (Fifty million Naira) to support his housing project located in Benin city towards helping our Edo brothers and sisters in the Diaspora, all in a sustained campaign to share his vision, because I believed in the development template, which he sold to me and this I wholeheartedly accepted.

3. My advocacy to the political class and other critical Edo stakeholders on the need to embrace the virtue of patience with Governor Obaseki as he settled down for governance and infrastructure development remains legendary. This I did with a lot of passion without the least expectation for reward in any form. I was filled with ecstasy that Edo State had a new sheriff in town, an illustrious son, with a private sector background who had stepped in the saddle to pilot our dear State in the direction of development and prosperity. I never knew all these were ILLUSORY.

4. Only very recently, I joined some well-meaning sons and daughters of Edo State to donate generously to the Governor’s COVID-19 relief fund campaign. How more supportive could I have been?

It is instructive to mention that when the Governor requested my daughter to work with his administration, I obliged him even though the little allowance which was only sustained for 5 months and stopped, had to be subsidized from my office and none thereafter. In a bid to reinforce my support for the Governor, I purchased a brand-new Toyota Hilux van to enable her discharge her responsibilities effectively on the project she was assigned. From then on, she has neither earned from Edo State Government nor does she owe the State one kobo to the best of my knowledge.

My dear People of Edo State, the fundamental question, yearning for answer, is: WHAT WRONG DID I COMMIT FOR IDENTIFYING WITH GOVERNOR OBASEKI AND GALVANIZING SUPPORT FOR HIS ADMINISTRATION?

In the course of time, I heard he started having issues with former Governor, Comrade Adams Aliu Oshiomhole and, I was quite worried and vehemently pleaded with him to settle whatever the issues were and embrace the path of peace in the interest of the good people of Edo State. As a stakeholder in the state, I advised on the need to allow wisdom drive his decision-making processes. I emphasized the critical position of leadership he occupies. I further espoused the virtues of patience and sacrifice in public service as I considered these as sine qua non to achieving one’s vision. Following a series of complaints of abandonment by his friends and associates from the political class who knew my relationship with the Governor, I recommended to the Governor to bifurcate between politics and Governance.

I recommended the need to appoint a trusted and experienced politician to bridge the gap and manage his relationship with the political wing of his administration so as to avoid distraction as he faces the onerous task of steering the business of moving the State towards economic and developmental prosperity.

He, however, rejected my proposal and insisted politicians were rogues and would not patronize them or see them in Government House. Governor Obaseki told me without mincing words. He emphasized he would not be moved an inch about their responses or feelings on this particular issue, reiterating he did not need their support either. He told me clearly that he was not interested in pursuing any SECOND TERM agenda.

At a time, I spent almost three hours of my precious time in the Governor’s house, explaining to him the need to build synergy between him and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the then APC National Chairman, in the best interest of the development of our State. He was blunt that he was not interested in any peace talk and that he was embarking on a fight to the finish with Comrade Oshiomhole. Again, to prove that he meant every word of his threat, he sent a mutual friend to me that night when I got home with a warning that I should steer clear from the ensuing fight between him and Comrade Oshiomhole, else, he would inflict severe collateral damage on me. In fact, I was stunned by his message, yet I put a call to him the next morning to confirm the veracity or otherwise of this message delivered to me by our mutual friend. He confirmed it.

It is however interesting, as an aside, to mention that the Deputy Governor Philip Shuaibu, who I have always known as Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s political son, did not, on his part, help matters. While efforts were on by various personalities for reconciliation, he announced that Comrade Oshiomhole should be arrested by the Police.

Following a series of very disturbing, ugly and unacceptable developments, I decided to hands off the matter. Indeed, I felt I had done all I could possibly to engender a peaceful atmosphere for governance and development of our state.

To God, my Father in Heaven, I am speaking the truth and will have no reason whatsoever to do otherwise. I am blessed beyond measure and expectations to His Glory. My pedigrees remain an integral influence on my conduct and character.

I have always believed in the virtues of Hard-work, Uncommon Service Delivery powered by exceptional personal integrity. These are the values I remain totally and irrevocably committed to. My passion for lifting the quality of lives of our people and developing our environment remains an existential imperative for me.

I am also totally committed to supporting our Traditional and rich Cultural Heritage which is the pride of the average Edo man. For my age, I am stoutly and irrevocably committed to certain intrinsic values that include but not limited to Honesty, Integrity, Peace, Progress and Support for Humanity. “Faith in God gives meaning and purpose to human life. It is also incontrovertible that POWER belongs to only God Almighty and no man will share His glory with HIM.”

Now, to hazard a guess as to why I became a target of unconscionable attacks by agents some of whom have claimed to be working for Edo State Government: it is true that overtures were made to me by well-meaning Nigerians from within and outside Edo State to run for the office of governor in 2020. I made them realise that there are several ways one can be of service to his people, not necessarily by holding public office and that I am satisfied with the business trajectories that I had charted for myself right from the outset and wasn’t interested in the office of the governor.

I believe, on getting this hint, the Governor decided to bare his full fangs, seeking to tear me apart. He did not want me to run for the position; yet he never sat with me at any point in time to solicit for my support and vote for his second term bid. The only time he made a remark about the governorship to me was at a reception in Lagos where he mockingly addressed me as “IN-COMING GOVERNOR”, which I immediately dispelled and told him, like I was telling others, that I wasn’t interested in the office of the governor.

Coincidentally, on that same day that the reception held in Lagos, the story of Nigerian Ports Authority’s move against my company, SAA, was published in THISDAY newspapers. The story insinuated I was interested in the Edo governorship race and numerous reports have come back to me that Obaseki was the one behind all of that.

As God would have it, while in the company of some friends in the governor’s house in Benin, on one occasion, I confronted him that he was the one behind the attack on my company. In a bid to defend himself, he put a call through to someone in Lagos and, perhaps, mistakenly, left the phone speaker on. He asked the person at the other end: “Why is the MD of NPA worrying Captain?” and the man replied: “Godwin, I thought you said this man was fighting you. The MD of NPA is fighting your battle for you.” I quickly told him that I had caught him. On this occasion, I had witnesses and, if further probed, names could be mentioned.

Secondly, Governor Obaseki was the Chair of the National Economic Council’s Ad-Hoc Committee on Oil Theft and Pipeline Vandalism and I got a feeler that a damaging report was going to be written about my company by the Committee. I was then given an opportunity to address the Committee on the matter to defend my company and its job. My defence was excellently delivered, but at the end of the day, when the report came out, it was still damaging even when I had complied with my threshold and responsibilities.

It is sad that Governor Obaseki has been paranoid about me even before he became governor, for reasons best known to him. I have since got to know that the disagreements between Comrade Oshiomhole and myself during his eight-year administration in Edo State were orchestrated from the background by Governor Obaseki who was at the time Chairman of that administration’s Economic and Strategy Team. But with patience, maturity and forgiveness from Oshiomhole and myself, we were able to, once again, rekindle the spirit of brotherhood and trust in our relationship.

So, I keep wondering what Oshiomhole must have done to Governor Obaseki to make it impossible for him to embrace reconciliation such that he would irrevocably commit himself to the project of pulling Oshiomhole down from the top of the very high Mountain Olympus, according to Honourable Patrick Obahiagbon, just because he had state power and resources. As my people would say: “Na wah oh!”

In the face of all these developments, I had maintained a high sense of equanimity, without taking it out on the governor. I stayed out of their politics, and made it publicly known I was not interested in the office of the governor because I knew from the outset that these attacks were, largely, politically-motivated. I guessed there were also shades of envy involved.

Validation: There was an occasion when the Governor wanted to frustrate the President’s visit to inaugurate my greenhouse farm in Benin and I had to reach out to the President directly to please oblige me on this occasion to inaugurate my farm, only for the Governor to call me that the President would not come out of his car. Of course, I knew that was improbable.

However, the movement of the Army Week celebration to Maiduguri was what then made it impossible for the president to come for the inauguration since that was the main assignment that the President was on a visit to Benin to accomplish. That singular act has discouraged me from the expansion programme for my farm coupled with the fact that the Governor had earlier pleaded with me to do a proposal on fish farming, which I directed my junior brother, who runs my farm, to embark on.

Following his successful submission of the proposal, having invested so much hard work, resources and time, he was blocked out after the money was collected from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its actualization and, as a matter of fact, the project never happened to our greatest surprise. All these and more had discouraged me from further investment in the expansion of my farm and also further investment in Edo because the business environment was now looking a little bit too toxic and harsh for my liking.

When Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu returned to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Obaseki and his men attacked me for facilitating his return to the Party, which came as a surprise to me. Pastor Ize-Iyamu is not unknown to many people as a politician and as a Nigerian; everyone knows he has his constitutional right like everyone else to join any party and legitimately play politics. So why attribute his return to me?

My dear people of Edo State, what have I done wrong to deserve the barrage of invectives being ceaselessly hurled at me by agents of the State Government? Even for the purpose of argument, don’t I have a right to associate with and support a candidate of my choice?

I have built enormous goodwill in Edo State, which money cannot buy. Regardless, I had issued statements severally calling out for them to leave me out of their politics. It is very regrettable and saddening that my name has now been dragged within Edo State political firmament where I have never, ever harbored any personal interest to run for any political position.

I wish to make this save-my-soul appeal to all well-meaning Edo indigenes and Nigerian citizens both at home and in the Diaspora to tell Governor Obaseki to stop these continuous attacks on me, my family and my business. I have been told how they intend to burn my farm and revoke the Certificates of Occupancy of all my houses in Benin City. I have already alerted the Police to this heinous plot. But, what have I done to deserve this bellicose treatment?

My good people of Edo State, I have always wished for a state where we can have a desirable atmosphere to bring about investment opportunities and create employment for our teeming youth population. There is nothing I desire from the State Government other than to create enabling environment for me to bring investments back home, create opportunities for employment and, in the long run, retire peacefully in my old age.

I call on our people to tell Governor Obaseki and his team to leave me alone to exercise my fundamental human rights and, in particular, allow me exercise my freedom of choice without intimidation and blackmail. I am sincerely worried about the desperation and intolerance of the Governor. I am honestly worried that these agents and hirelings may go beyond the limits of their mandate at the risk of my life and that of my family, including the destruction of my personal and corporate investments which have taken me decades to put in place. I have never before experienced this high level of intolerance, wickedness and envy from anybody in my life, until now from a so-called friend and fellow Benin Man.

My dear people of Edo State, I plead with you to save my soul from the hands of the Edo State Government. As it is, I cannot fight any government and even if I can, I am not interested in doing so and, if so pushed, will surely fight within the ambit of the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Edo government should, therefore, be told to leave me alone. Today, those who are fighting me have the machinery of government to do so on spurious claims that I have been funding all activities of the opposition against the Governor.

My philanthropic gestures, charity works and compassionate heart to bless fellow human beings is not tantamount to misplaced spending. These are humanitarian enterprises to which I have committed my entire life. I am not, in any way, associated with imprudent spending on sponsorship of opposition against the Governor or anybody for that matter. It’s also very sad that they kept hammering on financial sponsorship while underrating my enormous wealth of goodwill, which is far more than money they solely rely on.

Against the backdrop of these scenarios, and regardless of the attacks on me, my admirers and the teeming youths who see me as their role model and Goodwill Ambassador need not be told, as they know where I stand on the critical issue of choice of the next Governor of Edo state in order to move our state forward towards rapid development and economic prosperity.

If, therefore, on the basis of my personal conviction and the exercise of my fundamental rights of association and choice, Governor Obaseki and his team carry through their threat to burn my farm and revoke the Certificates of Occupancy of my houses in Benin, it will be a worthy price to pay for my conviction and the courage of my choice. It is imperative for me to categorically state that if that, indeed, happens, it will only facilitate my resolve to excuse myself from Benin as long as this wickedness remains directed at my person, family and my businesses.

I also believe that our dear state has had a fair share of discriminating treatment in opposition politics as witnessed during the Oshiomhole era. It is therefore important that Edo State reorders its priorities and works in concert with the Federal Government rather than drift, once again, to the oppositional flank.

This press statement, which I have tried to make as detailed as possible, has become necessary in order to present my case to the good people of Edo state to enable them to know what I have been going through in my sincere effort to galvanise support for the Obaseki administration. It is pathetic that our State, under the Obaseki administration, has become a laughing stock, a butt of jokes about violence, disrespect for processes, rule of law and outlandish character assassination being the orders of the day. We must rise to reject these negative profiles.

I am, sincerely, wondering that since the last election and the atmospherics in Bayelsa State, where we had ex- militants, have become more peaceful than what is playing out in Edo state, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic challenges, there is a need for collective reasoning to embrace peaceful conduct. Human lives are sacred and the governorship ambition of any man-caring and God-fearing candidate should not be more important than the blood of any man or woman. We need peace and harmony in the coming days, months and perhaps years ahead.
It is significant to place on record the fact that I am NOT using this medium to seek for settlement because I have already chosen my path, to wit: to align with the Federal Government of Nigeria, in this circumstance, in order to realise the goal of developing our dear state.

My dear brothers and sisters of Edo State, without a modicum of doubt, I have remained steadfast, resolute and irrevocably committed to the peace, progress and development of our State through various initiatives. I have graciously, to the glory of my Creator, gleefully shared God’s bountiful blessings to my deserving brothers and sisters in the face of the plethora of challenges and hunger that I see on the faces of my fellow citizens who manage to reach out to me.

This has remained my hallmark and imperative with a view to alleviating poverty while also reducing huge dependence on Edo State’s perceived lean resources following ceaseless lamentations about the ingratitude of the State Governor to a large community of those who helped him to power but who he abandoned on assumption of office. My assistance to deserving citizens has been carried out within the limits of God’s compassion and mercy on my life and I have never been noisy about it. Yet, Governor Obaseki seeks to destroy my personal and business interests that I have solidly built in the last thirty-two years when I retired as a certified commercial Pilot at the age of 30 to chart the business trajectory.

My dear good people of Nigeria and Edo state, in particular, IN CONCLUSION: if I could suffer all this injustice for no just cause, so you can imagine how many innocent citizens of Edo State that Godwin Obaseki and his agents would have been STANDING ON THEIR NECKS THAT CAN’T BREATHE.

God bless you all.
Long live my good people of Edo State!
Long live Edo State!
Long the live the Federal Republic of Nigeria

OBA GHA TO KPERE! ISEE.

Signed
Captain (Dr) Idahosa Wells Okunbo (JP)

Protest Greets Obaseki’s Plot for a N20billion Capital Market Loan

By Osehobo Ofure

Edo State today has a domestic debt profile that stands at N84.76 billion. In addition to this sum, the state comes first, in the rankings of states with huge domestic debt in Nigeria-second only to Lagos State. Even on foreign debts, Edo state as at March 2020, with a debt of $257.92 milliion comes first in the ranking of states with high foreign debts in the entire South-South of Nigeria.

Last week, the news broke that the Edo state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki was planning to take a loan of N20billion from the capital market to finance his reelection campaign. This is at the time, the State currently services another $150Million credit earlier obtained from the World bank in 2016 and 2017.

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the Edo State governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who raised the alarm said the alleged plans coming after the governor has drained the state treasury is worrisome. He called on the EFCC, ICPC, CBN, and other financial regulatory bodies to pay close attention to what is going on in Edo State.

He also condemned what he termed the Governor’s shortsighted and irresponsible manner of accumulating debts for the state “for desperate and personally-beneficial political activities”, while also warning financial institutions against granting fraudulent loans to the Edo State Government.

According to him, “After draining the state treasury with his corrupt N15 billion payout to the PDP tax-collectors for the party’s ticket, it has come to our notice that Governor Obaseki is now scurrying around to embark on another borrowing spree with a planned N20 billion bond loan from some financial institutions.

“We find it shocking that after the many tribulations Obaseki’s directionless and incompetent administration has caused in Edo State, the Governor is hatching fresh plans to mortgage the future of the state and her youths with additional loans to fund his desperate political agenda to foist himself on the people for another four years.

He said, “Obaseki already racked up foreign loans that propelled Edo State to number two on the states with the most indebtedness in the country without any commensurate gain in infrastructure, the economy, and security. Efforts to get the Governor to offer accountability on what he did with the loans and the role his private firm, AfrinInvest, played in their acquisition all fell on deaf ears.

“It is therefore heartless, irresponsible, and unconscionable for such a man to even conceive obtaining another loan in the tune of N20 billion for his political godfathers in the PDP who are cashing in on his desperation and lack of integrity”.

Ize-Iyamu then urged all financial institutions to honor the age-long freeze practice observed during election seasons and possible change of government and refrain from granting any loan to the heartless Godwin Obaseki who appears to now be on a mission to completely, ” sell-out our state and the future of our youths”.

Concerned citizens of Edo state under the aegis of Joint Forces for the Defence of Democracy(JOFDES) have also been protesting the N20billion loan plot by Mr Obaseki. In protests along major streets in Benin City, the Edo state capital they described the move by the governor as an attempt to mortgage the future of Edo youths.

Messrs Felix Osemwengie Isere, and Marxist Kola Edokpayi speaking for the protesters however, agree with Ize-iyamu that, “if there is any genuine reason whatsoever to approve such a loan for Edo State, it can be considered after the forth coming Edo governorahip election to forestall the mismanagement of the funds under the tension that accompanies elections”.

They said, “the inglorious attempt by the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki to obtain another loan of N20,000,000.00 (Twenty billion naira) from the Nigeria stock market exchange few weeks to the Edo State Governorship elections” is a disappointing and must be condemned.

The development they said is not only worrisome, wicked, reckless, irresponsible and ignominious, “because Mr. Obaseki is fully aware that Edo State is already heavily overburdened by excess debts”, and that at not time in the history of our dear state have we come under the volume of indebtedness that we face today”.

They also said the Godwin Obaseki’s government have displayed glaring cases of financial mismanagement and they, “find no justification for the Government’s desire to acquire another N20 billion naira loan few weeks to the governorship elections”.

The Defence of Democracy(JOFDES) insisted that Edo State’s funds is not meant for financing elections not to talk of money borrowed from sources that will become a lasting yoke on the good people of the state. They described the projects the loan hopes to fund according to the governor as, ” a mere facade and failed projects serving as conduit for siphoning funds for the coffers of the good people of Edo State”.

They called on the President, Muhammadu Buhari Secretary to the government of the federation, the Minister of state for Budget and National Planning, Director-general, Debt Management Office (DMO) Abuja, the Chairman Senate and House of Representatives committees on Local and Foreign Febts, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and the Attorney General of the federation, all well-meaning Edo sons and daughters who, “to do everything within their powers to stop this loan from being approved for the governor of Edo State”.

Meanwhile, Governor Godwin Obaseki has denied that there is such thing as N20 billion loan proposal by the Edo State Government.

Osehobo is Secretary, Edo State APC Media Council Sub-committee on Traditional Media.

Edo 2020: 18 council chairmen reaffirm support for Obaseki’s reelection bid

…say gov’s disqualification ‘a theatre of political fraud’

The Chairmen of the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Edo State have reaffirmed their support for the re-election bid of Governor Godwin Obaseki, noting that they are fully committed to the progressive ideals of the governor and his battle against godfatherism, thuggery and impunity.

In a statement signed by the Chairman, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Edo State, Hon. Jenkins Osunde and the 17 other council chairmen in the state, the association described the disqualification of Governor Obaseki from the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election as a theatre of political fraud staged with predetermined outcomes and decisions sponsored by the surrogates of the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

The chairmen noted, “We the undersigned Local Government Chairmen of all the 18 area councils in Edo State have held an emergency meeting to review what we consider an outrageous and undemocratic process of both the screening exercise as well as the prejudiced decision consequently reached.”

According to the ALGON, “We therefore observe and resolve that the entire screening exercise prior to the beginning and during the process itself was submerged in various surreptitious conduct which in fact cast thick clouds of doubts on the legitimacy and fairness of what should have been an otherwise historic and democratic step for our party.

“That various actions by the Screening Committee, particularly by the way it sought to specifically create malicious publicity regarding Governor Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, has thus confirmed the previously held impression that the screening exercise was a theatre of political fraud staged with predetermined outcomes and decisions sponsored by the surrogates of the APC National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole.”

They added that on closely reviewing the activities of the screening committee, it was infallible to posit that the decision to disqualify the Governor constituted a profound affront to decent internal democratic practices of a respectable political party, noting, “The result of the screening exercise was incontestably aimed at diluting the mass-base electoral support for the incumbent Governor by engendering the perception that His Excellency had doubts to clear about his profile.”

The LGA chairmen said that rather than weaken the overwhelming popular support for the Governor, the dubious disqualification by the committee has caused a buoyant and enthusiastic response of support for the Governor across all the senatorial zones of the state.

The chairmen reiterated their support for Governor Obaseki’s reelection bid, noting, “That as the chairmen of the third tier, people-oriented paradigm of Nigeria’s Federalism, we carry with us the hopes and aspirations of our constituencies as we reaffirm our commitment to the progressive agenda of continuity till 2024 for the Governor. All the way with Obaseki and Shaibu.”

EDO: APC Founders Accuse Tinubu of Backing Oshiomhole, as Party Promises Fairness at Screening

Following concerns raised by the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki that he will not get justice from the screening committee of the All Progressives Congress APC, the party has assuaged his fears, asserting the independence of the committee.

Obaseki had on Wednesday night in Abuja shortly after he was screened ahead of the June 22 governorship primary election of the party expressed reservations at the conduct of the committee, saying with his arch political foe and National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole steering the ship of the APC, justice would not be done to him by the committee.

He said; “The last time I came here, I asked that Oshiomhole recuse himself from the process in the interest of peace and justice. But as a party man, I have had to go through the screening like everybody else. Since he is the judge and the jury in this matter, I will just wait for the outcome of the screening. I have given them all the information they need; the controversial certificate from the University of Ibadan has been tendered.

“Like I said, as a party man I have gone through the screening process but I do not believe that I will get justice because Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is an interested party in the Edo process. One of the questions that were asked was why did I issue a gazette that will prevent the party from performing direct elections in Edo. That did I not see it as an anti-party activity? I just felt that if we put politics above the lives of the people of Edo State, we may be missing the point”.

However, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu told Vanguard on Thursday night in Abuja that the Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee NWC of the party had from the outset decided to allow the committee operate freely.

The screening committee was scheduled to round off its activities yesterday (Thursday). While its operations had largely been shielded from the media, it had earlier in the day finalised the screening of the sixth aspirant in the Edo governorship race, Mathew Iduoriyekemwe.

Asked when the committee would submit its report to the NWC and whether the submission would be done in the open, Issa-Onilu said; “Let them submit first. The decision is to make everything transparent. I do not know if they have submitted because I am not at the secretariat. I am not following up on the committee because we are not supposed to do that. They are supposed to be given a free hand to do whatever they want to do”.

12 members challenge Tinubu’s silence

Twelve founding members of the APC have however weighed in on the crisis in the party, challenging a former governor of Lagos state and national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to call Comrade Oshiomhole to order.

The 12 members made their position known in an open letter addressed to Tinubu and made available to journalists Thursday in Abuja.

Those who signed the letter were Alh. Salihu Mustapha, Chief Polycap Udah, Captain Mohammed Bala Jibrin, Ray Morphy, Alh. Umar Kachalla Zubair and Dr Sylvanus Amechi. Other signatories were Alh. Shaba Emangi, Chief Emeka Enechi, Hon. Charles Idahosa, Hon. Mohammed Aboki Mahmud, Prince Mackor Shaka Momodu and Alh. Yesufu Omonemi.

They described themselves as “founding members of APC and many of us were leaders of legacy parties that merged to establish the APC”.

According to them, when Tinubu and President Muhammdu Buhari pulled political energies together to form the APC, the expectations of both the political class and the citizens alike were that Nigeria had entered a new era of genuine democratic politics.

They said; “Since 2015, President Buhari has so far concentrated his energies, and rightly so, on building an enduring framework for good governance and the turning around of the national economy. By implication, much of the political engineering has become the forte of the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Partly in recognition of that, in January 2018, President Buhari gave the task of reconciling leaders of the party to Asiwaju. Again, the expectation was that party members irrespective of their background would get justice through fair and transparent reconciliation process because the National leader had experientially tasted in real life and politics what it means to be at the receiving end of official injustices and impunity. It is against this background that we believe that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has a historic duty to come out and assure party members and indeed the Nigerian citizens that he still stands on the pillars of equity, fairness and justice”.

The members said they expect that by now Tinubu should be able to “provide incontestably fair leadership to all party members, through which some specific actions of the APC National Chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomhole can be moderated and made to conform with internal due processes as provided in the provisions of the APC constitution, no matter how loosely defined given the motto of our great party –Justice, Peace and Unity”

Oshiomhole did not immediately respond to Vanguard’s attempt to get his reaction. Since his Chief Press Secretary, Simon Ebegbulem was named a Commissioner in Imo State, the APC national chairman has not named a replacement.

2023 Presidential ambition
The members also spoke on Tinubu’s presidential ambition, saying his actions now would have a great effect on his future aspiration.

“We are also making this demand, bearing in mind that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is eagerly desirous of continuing from where PMB stops in 2023, and his response to issues of the day within the APC, will signpost how the soup will eventually taste. We made this assertion with all sense of responsibility based on the belief that our party deserves the best and we are proud to have some of the best democrats Nigeria has produced as leaders of our party. Therefore as one of the best democrats in the history of our country, Asiwaju needs to categorically declare his position on many of the contentious decisions of the Comrade Oshiomhole’s NWC. This calls to question the democratic credentials of our party and with it the democratic orientation of our leaders in the party. Will our leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, be on the side of fairness and democracy? The side of justice and reconciliation, or the side of impunity and disunity perpetrated by no other person than the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole?

“We would recall that the APC has set up a powerful reconciliation Committee under the revered former National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande. However, to date, nothing has happened. Moreover, is that how we will keep trudging till 2023? No reconciliation, only acrimonies, engineered by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole? Is that how we want to pay the sacrifices made by the duo, President Buhari and Asiwaju? Clearly, as the National Leader, Asiwaju Tinubu will be doing party members a great deal of injustice without coming out and providing reconciliatory direction on this crucial matter of internal party disputes.

“We would not like to entertain the idea that the moral authority of our National Leader cannot be activated now, to put the APC on an even keel for more exploits in 2023 and beyond. We should not forget that we have suffered incalculable losses since 2015, and even more crucially by sheer mismanagement of our affairs, we are inadvertently giving oxygen to the PDP, a failed political formation that we thought we had castrated in 2015.

Tinubu subtly supporting Oshiomhole

“However, can there be a reconciliation in an atmosphere of impunity perpetrated by the National Chairman of APC, which could not have been possible without the tacit green light from the National leader himself? We find it bewildering that just within a space of one month, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole had serially and violently violated the APC Constitution; that the silence of Asiwaju, the National Leader is disconcerting.

“Could it be that now we should forget about constitutionalism and due process in the affairs of APC? First, Adams Oshiomhole has constituted himself as a one-person National Working Committee of APC. It is distasteful and undemocratic that Adams Oshiomhole has subordinated the entire NWC to his whims and caprices such that the team spirit and canon of collective responsibility envisaged by the APC Constitution are no longer there.

Edo politics

“Who gave Comrade Adams Oshiomhole the power to convey the decision of the NWC to INEC, as critical as that of the mode of primaries for Governorship election three bright days before the meeting of the NWC on the matter? The implication of this illegal, nay irresponsible action is that the NWC did not meet to approve such a decision. At best, the NWC was convened to rubber-stamp his illegalities.

“Also, the APC National Chairman wrote a letter to INEC to change the official address of the Edo State chapter of APC contrary to Article 8 (page 6) of the APC Constitution, which also requires the approval of NEC. In the same vein, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole drafted a PDP loyalist into APC, a person that is being prosecuted by EFCC as we speak, a person that fiercely fought against the election of President Buhari in February 2019 elections in Edo State using the stolen arms money President Buhari is currently retrieving, a person with no clear allegiance to President Buhari and the APC, and unilaterally gave such person a waiver to contest Governorship primaries without NEC approval.

“Now, if this had been the practice, then we can say that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has not only emasculated the NWC but put the NEC in one corner. Thus, by refusing to convene the meeting of the National Executive Committee of APC to consider critical decisions, Comrade Oshiomhole has murdered democracy in the APC. As democrats, we believe that such actions are reprehensible and condemnable. No leadership will condone such illegal actions that can only undermine the democratic ethos upon which APC stands. They are already tarnishing the image of the party, creating disillusionment and apathy amongst party members and destroying the beautiful legacies of President Buhari which frees the atmosphere for healthy inter- and intra- party contestations.

“So, where is the National Leader when one man is desecrating the APC Constitution and at every turn killing the party? Is that the kind of party we would want to ride on in 2023? Is Nigerian politics about to witness the rebirth of former President Obasanjo’s draconian control of party structures as we move closer to 2023? It is time for Asiwaju Tinubu to demonstrate his democratic leadership. It is time he gives life to the institutionalization of APC and not create the perception that he is behind this brigandage that is tearing the APC apart, with severe consequences for the capacity of the party to hold on in one piece as we inch towards 2023. 2023 in APC must be about strengthening internal democratic rules in APC, it must be about ensuring that all APC leaders respect internal rules as provided in the constitution, and it must be about fairness and justice for all members”.

Vanguard

Edo: Oshiomhole, Obaseki’s camps fight hard, dirty

By Clifford Ndujihe, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Ozioruva Aliu

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, yesterday, intensified his re-election bid with a move to get his main challenger for the All Progressives Congress, APC, ticket, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, out of the contest via the law court.

This came on a day his Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Paul Ohonbamu, resigned his appointment.

Meanwhile, former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, has advised National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and Governor Obaseki to put the interest of the party first as they go into the governorship election in Edo State. On the accusation that the party’s national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole unilaterally decided the mode of primary election, the party yesterday said that its National Working Committee, NWC, had taken a decision on the matter.

Court adjourns suit seeking to stop Ize-Iyamu to June 17

One of the strategies the Obaseki camp is working on is to get Ize-Iyamu out of the contest on the platform of the APC through the courts.

Meanwhile, journalists who converged on the court premises were yesterday prevented by security operatives from covering the suit, filed by Mr Benjamin Oghumu, a loyalist of the governor and chairman of Orhionmwon Local Government.

Oghumu is seeking an injunction to restrain Ize-Iyamu from parading himself as an aspirant to participate in the state APC primary election fixed for June 22 to select a candidate in the governorship election slated for September 19 because he is not a member of the party.

Members of the Public Work Volunteer, PUWOV, personnel of the Edo State Traffic Management Agency, EDSTMA, and the state special anti-robbery security outfit, Operation Wabaizigan had as early as 6:30 am cordoned off all entry roads to the state high court complex. The move created gridlock in parts of the city.

It took the intervention of the court registrar, Mr Idemudia Aziegbemhin before some journalists were later allowed to enter the court mid-way into the proceedings.

Joined as defendants in the suit are the APC, Oshiomhole, sued for himself and on behalf of the National Working Committee of APC, and Ize-Iyamu.

Pastor Kenneth Asekomhe on behalf of the factional state executive loyal to Governor Obaseki, Mr. Oghumu on behalf of himself and Executive Committee of APC in Orhiomwon local council and Mr Matthew Ogbebor, on behalf of himself and the executive committee of Ugbogbo Wards 5, (all plaintiffs/claimants) in the suit are asking the court for an order, restraining Ize-Iyamu from parading himself as an aspirant entitled to participate in the APC primary election fixed for June 22, 2020, to select a candidate to represent it in the Edo State governorship election fixed for September 19.

The claimants also prayed for an order of the court, restraining Oshiomhole from recognising Ize-Iyamu as an aspirant of the APC in its primary election scheduled for June 22 or any other date to select a candidate to represent it in the Edo State governorship election.

The plaintiffs/claimants, who were represented by Ken Mozia, SAN, and Santos Owootori, sought to know whether Article 31(2) of APC constitution is not in conflict with Section 177(c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, as it relates to qualification for election to the office of a governor of a state.

However, an argument ensued when defendants’ lawyers led by H. Ogbodu, SAN, and Victor Oyosuma appeared in the matter, demanded to be served the motion papers and originating summons.

Meanwhile, the trial judge, Justice Emmanuel Ahaomoje declined to grant the ex-parte motion but instead gave the defendants 10 days to file their response while counsel to the plaintiffs/claimants were given two days to reply.

Justice Ahaomoje adjourned the case to June 17, 2020.

Ohonbamu out, Stewart in

Meanwhile, Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Ohonbamu, announcing his resignation, said: “I hereby tender my letter of resignation as a commissioner in Edo State to His Excellency, Mr Godwin Obaseki this June 4, 2020. Without setting a precedent, I have decided to step aside as cabinet member and operate outside it for the general good of Edo State and pursuit of happiness for the citizens.

“I remain eternally grateful to His Excellency, the governor for indulging me in his purposeful and sophisticated administration. I greet you sir and the ever loyal members of the state executive council. I am particularly delighted that His Excellency’s second term bid is firm and sure-footed,” Ohonbamu wrote.

Contacted, Ohonbamu confirmed his resignation but declined to make further comments.

However, Governor Obaseki has approved the appointment of Mr Stewart Efe as Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation.

In a statement, Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, said the appointment takes “immediate effect.”

Efe, until his appointment was the Public Relations Officer, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Uselu, Benin City. He hails from Ward 9, Egor Local Government Area of the state.

He was a top contender as chairman, Egor LGA, in the last council elections, but stepped down for party interest.

Put party ahead, Yari advises Oshiomhole, Obaseki

Speaking to State House correspondents, former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who said he was at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on a private visit to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, called on Oshiomhole and Obaseki to tolerate each other no matter what their personal interests might be.

He said: “I think as a party man and pioneer party person, life is about tolerance.

“We have to tolerate one another and no matter what interest we have, we must put the interest of the party in our hearts. We should also look at the interest of the party as superior to any other interest.”

He said that there are laid-down procedures of the party, insisting that such procedures must be followed in resolving issues in the party.

“The laid-down procedure is there; the rules are there; the constitution is there. Let us respect the constitution of our party and let us respect one another because the issue of party is not about me, it is not about the chairman, it is not about the president. It is a collective responsibility.

“Therefore, I think it is important for both the governor and the chairman to fine-tune how they are going to work for the safety of this party and for the purpose of winning election in Edo State.”

It will be recalled that similar squabbles among party leaders cost the APC the governorship, state and National Assembly positions in Zamfara State in 2019. It also made the party’s candidates in Rivers State to be disqualified by the Supreme Court.

We can’t trust Oshiomhole – Idahosa

Meanwhile, Chief Charles Idahosa, a former Commissioner for Information in Edo, who is backing Obaseki, said those in support of the governor cannot trust Oshiomhole to mid-wife a free and fair primary because he is an interested party and major cause of the rift in Edo APC.

Commending President Muhammadu Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and some APC governors for their intervention in the political tussle in Edo State ahead of the June 22 primaries, Idahosa also commended Governor Obaseki for listening to wise counsel of party leaders and making peace moves.

Despite the peace moves, Idahosa, a one-time political adviser to Oshiomhole, said APC leaders in Edo State were not taking things for granted because the former labour leader and his loyalists in the Edo Peoples Movement, EPM, are determined to oust Obaseki, not because of non-performance but because he refused to share the state’s resources to them.

His words: “The issue is that Oshiomhole cannot be trusted and that is why we are not leaving anything to chance here in Edo. The governor has performed creditably well. Even those fighting the governor under the acronym of Edo Peoples Movement led by Oshiomhole have not accused him of non- performance. The only allegation they levelled against him was that he is not giving them money to share. If that is the only sin the governor has committed, not that he did not perform, we are very happy about that.”

“But the problem that we envisage and we are suspicious about is that Oshiomhole is not consistent; he will say something and do something else. For example, he told the whole world that he did not receive any communication from Edo State APC that they didn’t want direct primary. But available records showed the resolution of the whole party structure in Edo State, where they sent a letter to him. The letter was received in his office and signed by one of his staff with the mobile number on it. So, how do you trust such a man?

“He wrote INEC on May 19, saying the NWC has decided on direct primary. However, the meeting of the NWC took place on May 22, three days after he wrote to INEC. This means that Oshiomhole has decided on what he wants even before the meeting of the NWC. How can such a man be trusted?”

“So, when the Governor said Oshiomhole should excuse himself from the whole process, I totally agree with him. Oshiomhole cannot be a judge in his own matter.”

NWC okayed Oshiomhole’s letter to INEC – APC

The National Working Committee, NWC of the APC has exonerated Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of allegations of taking unilateral decision on the mode of primary election to pick the party’s standard bearer in Edo state.

While Comrade Oshiomhole had written a letter dated May 19 to the INEC intimating the electoral umpire of the decision of the party to conduct direct governorship primary in Edo on June 21, the NWC of the party had met on May 21 to ratify the decision on the mode of Primaries.

Idahosa and some party chieftains alleged that the APC National Chairman imposed the option of direct primary on the NWC having written INEC before the NWC meeting where the decision was formalized.

Contacted, APC National Vice Chairman, North-East, Comrade Mustapha Salihu declined comments saying he would try to get necessary briefings before he could comment on the matter. He added that the party was exploring a political solution to the situation in Edo State.

However, National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu in a telephone interview with Vanguard said the NWC had already taken a decision on the mode of primary before the May 19 letter and that it wrote a second letter to INEC on May 22 to affirm its first letter.

He said: “It was not a unilateral decision. That was not what happened. Our meeting of May 21 was actually to ratify the decision. Because of this COVID-19, we had had our formal assessment of what is on ground and it is best for us that we adopt direct primary. And for good reason, we had to write the letter immediately since we already had that conversation. We also know that if there are other issues that we have to amend, we can always amend but there is a time-frame to communicate to INEC before the time you are going to have your primaries. That is one.

“Two, many other parties are picking dates. If we delay, we may be forced to pick a date that is not convenient for us. So, we said put this letter since we had a provisional agreement on direct primary. Write the letter and let us now meet. In fact, that meeting was just to follow procedure because we already have been having conversations. In fact, with this COVID-19, you try as much as possible to reduce the time you have physical meetings. So, after that one when we were sure we were not changing anything, we now wrote another letter on May 22 to ratify and confirm what we had earlier written, but, people are not looking at that letter, it is the first one they are circulating. It is a non- issue”, he said.

The NWC also declared that the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki cannot hide under the guise of COVID-19 restriction of gatherings to not more than 20 persons to stop its direct primary.

It said the primary election is a constitutional obligation that is time bound and its conduct must override any local orders made by the state’s chief executive.

“The issue of the primary is a constitutional one. So, if we are implementing the Constitution as INEC has directed, there cannot be any order that can supersede that. That election must hold at a particular time and that a Government terminates at a particular time is a constitutional matter,” Issa-Onilu added.

Copyright VANGUARD

DSS, Police, thugs storm residence of Edo Gov’s ex-Chief of Staff

…abduct personal staff, cart away personal belongings, including children’s papers

A team of the DSS, Police and thugs suspected to be under the instruction of the embattled governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki, has stormed the residence of his ex-Chief of Staff, Taiwo Akerele, and arrested his domestic staff(names yet unknown) and Personal Assistant, Jasper Olowojoba, while also carting away his personal belongings including documents such as driver’s license and certificates of his children.

Taiwo Akerele announced his resignation as Chief of Staff to the governor yesterday on ‘administrative and governance’ grounds. The press quoted him to have said he decided to part ways with Obaseki based on principles, a claim that immediately cast a shadow on the actions of the government, especially with increased accusations trailing the administration on the management of resources and abuse of office.

Sources in the government house say Akerele’s resignation is also connected to the seizure of machinery of government by Obaseki’s volatile Deputy, Philip Shaibu and SSG Osarodion Ogie, both of whom have instigated and insisted on a political war in the state as a means to gain unfettered access to the state treasury knowing that the politically-limp governor relies on them for survival.

Akerele’s constant call for peace and focus on matters of governance was said to have angered both actors who connived to usurp powers of his office and isolate him as a disloyal member of the administration.

The actions of the Deputy and SSG nonetheless, the resignation of Taiwo Akerele came as a major blow to Obaseki and further solidified his image as a weak governor incapable of maintaining discipline within his ranks or exert authority in his own administration.

Worse, it came at a moment when the governor is swimming in allegations of fraud and incompetent management of the coronavirus disease in the state.

In a clear act of retribution, the governor is reported to have, today, mobilized a team of the DSS, Police, and thugs who stormed the private residence of his ex-Chief of Staff today and effected the arrest of his cook, gateman, and Personal Assistant, Jasper Olowojoba.

The property has been sealed and taken over by this team, after making away with some of the private belongings of Taiwo Akerele.

Coronavirus: Obaseki’s rapid diagnostic test is negative, as he awaits PCR test result

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state has tested negative for coronavirus.

The news of his test was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie.

The statement noted that the result is that of the rapid diagnostic test, while the governor awaits the result of the PCR test.

It added that the Governor however decided to remain in self-isolation.

According to him, “I can confirm that the Governor tested negative for coronavirus when he ran the rapid diagnostic test for the virus. However, we are currently awaiting the result of more conclusive PCR(polymeric chain reaction)

test.”

“In the meantime, the Governor has decided to continue to work in self-isolation and he is asymptomatic.”

Recall that Governor Obaseki went into self-isolation and sent his samples for testing after two persons he met some days ago, tested positive for coronavirus.