Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Mankinde, yesterday, said the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, stands the chance of winning the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
He stated this in Benin City, shortly after a brief meeting with the leadership of the party on how to conduct free, fair and credible ward congress in the state.
Makinde said the meeting with the leadership of the party is centered around the people and at the end of the exercise, it is their right to decide who govern them.
“This is electoral committee put together to conduct the ward Congress and delegate election for Edo State.
“This is a process we are starting and it is centered around the people and at the end of the day no matter what people do, it is the people of Edo State that will determine who will be their next governor.
“We have been talking to the aspirants and there have been serious engagement sessions since yesterday and we are hopeful that Edo is going to be for PDP in the next election”, he said
The Oyo State governor assured the party faithful in the state that the process of electing their ward leaders will be transparent and devoid of any ambiguities.
“We have taken out time to ensure that the process is transparent, free, fair and credible. So, you cannot say a process is not going to end well when it is just taking off”, he said.
He urged the PDP members not to give a listening ear to what the ruling party in the state is saying but to be focused and determine as the party (PDP) is solidly behind them.
“The opposition and their pessimist will say what they have to say but we have to do what we have to do to give confidence to our party members, the people of Edo state and Nigeria”, he said.
Commending the leadership of the delegation for his good job, governorship aspirant of the party, Engr. Gideon Ikhine said the process has been very transparent but warned that those whose tenures have past should leave the stage quietly and should not try to skew the process to his favour.
He called for smooth process in the party’s Congress which kicked off yesterday in the state.
He said the PDP has a golden chance to take over Edo State, but that that chance can only be brightened by a free and fair Congress that will usher in new State Working Committee for the party.
“We have a bright chance now to take over Edo like never before but the foundation for that chance is a successful Congress that will unite the party and make us strong. If we can get it right in this Congress, then the governorship primary and the election will be a walk over”, he said.
Ikhine appealed to the youths especially, not to allow themselves to be used by anybody to fan the embers of discord and disunity in the party adding that, such has cost the party a great deal in the past and should not be allowed to repeat itself.
“I think we should learn from our mistakes in the past and I strongly believe that we are learning from that mistake because we just cannot afford to miss this chance again. Edo State is a PDP state and everybody knows this. As you can see, the ruling party, APC, has demonstrated enough incompetence in managing the affairs of the state and in PDP we have brilliant hands in all the aspirants jostling for the post of Governor of the state so what excuse are we going to give this time around,” he said.
The aspirant appealed to the party leadership in the state to avoid imposition of any candidate either in the Congress or in the governorship primary and allow the best man to emerge.
“As you know, I am an aspirant from Edo Central and my people have made it clear that they will go for nothing less than the position of the governor of the state. That is Esan agenda because Esan is the home of PDP in the state and we have never had the opportunity to be Governor of this state since the inception of the fourth republic in 1999. Now is our chance and there is nothing stopping us. Remember Esan is the home of the late Chief Annenih our great leader and PDP has always won all the election here.
“Let me also let you know that we have always suffered persecution because of our loyalty to the PDP because each time the PDP is not in government we have always been the first casualty so we deserve the government house at Osadebe Avenue”, he said.
Speaking on the outgoing chairman of the party, Mr. Dan Orbih, he said the best legacy he can leave for the party is for him to allow a free and fair Congress and primary adding that the party should be able to produce a proactive and winning team as SWC.
He said the incoming SWC should have only one goal and that goal should be to enthrone a PDP governor in the coming election.
“They should be determined to do this without losing their focus and they should also be honest with the way they go about it because democracy is not only a game of number but also of process. If the process is correct of course the result will be correct. I know that as an engineer that if you follow the process you will get the desired result,” he said.
A visit to ward 1 in Oredo Local Government Area of the state, the outgoing ward chairman, Oduwa Igbinosun said that they all agreed on a consensus candidate.
On his part, the new chairman of the ward, Paul Osula said the exercise was peaceful.