From Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led Government of Governor Godwin Obaseki are engaged in a war of words over the management of the COVID-19 crisis in the state.
The Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the All Peoples Congress, (APC), Col David Imuse (rtd) fired the first salvo when he alleged that ‘governance in Edo state has finally ground to a halt’ at a time of an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases, with many dying.
Imuse ‘blamed the sad development on infighting between the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) and the Governor Godwin Obaseki administration’, in a statement signed by Victor Ofure Osehobo, the party’s State Assistant Publicity Secretary.
‘Our party finds it ludicrous that in the face of the deadly second wave of the coronavirus, the PDP and the Governor in Edo are engaged in such a deadly fight,’ Imuse said, alleging that the infighting over positions and booties of victory has already thrown the state into confusion, as the wheel of governance has since stopped in all its ramifications.
The APC Chairman described the PDP in Edo State as harbouring self-centred politicians who do not care about the people, calling them ‘power mongers and tax collectors’, whose only interest is the Edo State Treasury.
‘It is five months after the election. There are bitter fighting and hostilities in the Edo State Government apparatus. This is as a result of the confusion that has enveloped the PDP and Governor Obaseki regime over the sharing formula for positions in the administration.
‘The vicious war for positions as ‘booty’ of a mandate which is the subject of a petition at the Election tribunal further exposes the PDP and the cabal in the Obaseki regime as power mongers who are only interested in power-grabbing and mortgaging the collective patrimony of Edo.
‘Edo people are watching the PDP tax collectors, as they are locked in this shameless conduct, with its leaders fighting openly and shamelessly over the spoils of office: this is so soon after facilitating the emptying of the state treasury and now are coordinating the Governor’s resolve to dubious loans from every source to sustain their greed, and milk Edo people dry,’ he further alleged.
Imuse stressed that the alleged infighting is a confirmation that Obaseki ‘has no plans for Edo State,’ adding that ‘the harsh reality is that, with the situation at hand, there is no hope in sight for our state under the PDP and the Obaseki regime.
‘Nevertheless, the APC stands with millions of Edo people in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19 and advises all to observe the NCDC regulations for their individual good health and safety.
‘We call on all Edo people to keep Physical distance and wear nose masks whenever they are outside, wash your hands as often as possible with soap and running water, and use hand sanitisers and stay at home if you do not have genuine reasons to go out,’ the Edo APC said.
Responding to the APC, the Edo State Government chided the party in the state for resorting to insensitive remarks in its public interventions, noting that by its statements the party has shown itself to be an irresponsible opposition.
In a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, Esq., the Government said: ‘The Edo State Government has continued to perform its statutory responsibility of delivering good governance to the people in the face of economic shocks and social dislocations caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
’Civil and public servants’ salaries are being paid as and when due; contractors are being mobilized monthly and are back at sites; retired workers are getting their pensions and operators of businesses are paying their taxes. We are also making good progress with the management of the COVID-19 outbreak, particularly in reducing the infection rate. We have also gotten commendation from the Federal Government on our case management regime, and they have sent emissaries to understudy our home-care protocol as a result of its efficacy.
’The government in the last two months has undertaken comprehensive capacity building programmes for workers in the civil and public service to prep them up to deploy technology in governance. A widely-publicised recruitment exercise has also been ongoing to inject not less than 1600 professionals into the public and service. In the last thirty days, thousands of Edo people and investors have processed their Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) through the Edo State Geographic Information Service Agency.
’If all of these are symptoms that government has grounded to a halt, the EPM faction of Edo APC and their godfather have no business in governance and politics.
’We really need not look too far to know why Edo people rejected them during the last governorship election. It is as a result of this insensitive and ridiculously infantile thinking couched in criticism that they display every other day in matters of governance and policymaking that out them as poor candidates for public office.’
Ogie said that ‘rather than show empathy and concern at this time, they [the APC} resort to playing cheap politics. It is the most despicable and condemnable way to show the people that you care about them in the face of an epidemic.’