Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The All Progressives Congress (APC) flagged-off its campaign for the Edo State September 19 governorship election at the University of Benin Sports Complex, Ugbowo in Benin City, with 11 state governors and one deputy governor in attendance.
The Governors who attended the event include Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State and Chairman, APC National Caretaker Committe, Atiku Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, Governor and Chairman, APC Governor’s Forum, Chairman Edo APC National Campaign Council and Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Jigawa State Governor Abubakar Badaru, Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Imo State Hope Uzodinma, Governor of Kaduna State Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai; the Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, Governor of Ondo State Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ogun State Prince Dapo Abiodun, Sani Bello of Niger State, and the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Chief David Onoja.
Other dignitaries include Deputy Senate President James Omo-Agege, Minister of Transport Chibuike Amaechi, Minister of State Mines and Steel Uchechukwu Oga, Prof Julius Ihonvbere, representing Owan Federal Constituency, Peter Akpatason, Johnson Oghuma, representing Akoko-Edo and Etsako Federal Constituency, respectively, former deputy governor of Edo State Dr Pius Odubu, Dr Chris Ogiemwonyi, General Charles Airhiavbere, Abdul Oroh, Razaq Bello-Osagie and Pally Iriase, former Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives and Secretary, Edo APC Campaign Coumcil.
Flagging-off the campaign, the APC National Campaign Council Chairman, Abdulahi Ganduje, said: ‘Our Council has met several times and we completed arrangements for successful election and, Insha Allah, we will win this election.
‘Our own responsibility is to create enabling environment for the mobilization of voters for the presentation of our candidate and his manifesto especially his SIMPLE agenda for the good people of Edo State.
‘We are highly impressed with the State Council for the election. We are impressed with the performance of the Election Committee at the state level. We have seen elections and campaigns going on from hamlet to hamlet, from village to village, from town to town and within the metropolitan of Benin.
‘From the crowd we have seen we have to conclude that this election will be won by the APC. Also, I have to congratulate you; listen to me. I have to congratulate you for the swearing in of 14 elected State Assembly members and also the election of the new principal officers of Edo State House of Assembly. We do congratulate you and we pray Almighty God to guide them for successful deliberations in Edo State House of Assembly.
‘In fact, we were astonished, we were surprised, we were shocked for 13 good months 14 members were not sworn in. But now, we have succeeded. Three other legislators including the deputy speaker have now joined the successful 12. Now, they have 17. Seventeen is more than three quarters of 24 legislators. We have more than three quarters. We thank you for that.’
Also speaking, the Governor of Yobe State and APC Caretaker Committee Chairman, Mai Mala Buni, said the ritual of the flag presentation by the party to the party candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, was performed on Friday by President Mohammadu Buhari in Abuja.
‘You have seen the presidential endorsement yourselves.
‘We are here to present to you our candidate, Pastor Ize-Iyamu. We are here to take back our mandate, to take back our state. Four years ago, we were here; you have voted for APC and we have no doubt in our minds you are going to vote for APC and return our mandate back in Edo State.
‘We are here to admonish you not to be violent throughout the campaign processes and the election because victory is ours. We are here to win and not to fight. But we must ensure that every vote must count. With these few remarks, let me use this opportunity to present to you our in-coming governor of Edo State, Pastor Ize-Iyamu,’ he said.
In his speech, Pastor Ize-Iyamu thanked the good people of Edo State, the governors of APC present and absent.
‘My job is just to thank all our National leaders for coming to identify with us. With the people (crowd) we are seeing today will anybody say we are in opposition? Can anybody say we will be intimidated? Who will win the election.
‘I want to assure that in this election, we will not only win; we will win the 18 local governments. Let me assure you that never again will we have a governor that is ungrateful; we will have a governor that will respect Edo people, a governor that you can access, a governor that can empower our people and by the grace of God I will do it.
‘You know people ask me why did you come back to the APC and I sing this song, there is something that makes me come into your presence…
‘From Monday, we will begin to move from local government to local government. I want to encourage you to go back to your units. The operation is operation win,’ Ize-Iyamu said.
Also speaking, the ex-governor of the state and former National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, commended the APC governors for devoting time to attend the flag-off.
He accused Governor Godwin Obaseki of describing Edo youths as miscreants when his duty as a governor is to build the capacity of the youths and empower them.
He also accused the Governor of closing down educational institutions in the state viz College of Education, Ekiadolor; State School of Nursing, College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi and failing to build Tayo Akpata University of Education after the State House of Assembly had passed the Bill into law.
Oshiomhole, who also slammed Obaseki for purportedly deceiving the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo to perform groundbreaking of an Industrial Park in the State which is now overgrown with weeds, accusing the Governor of privatising the Specialist Hospital his (Oshiomhole’s) administration had built to a non-Edo consultant.
The former APC National Chairman urged the people to be peaceful and shun violence during the election.