Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
A coalition of 35 political parties in Edo State, yesterday, endorsed the re-election of Governor Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Phillip Shaibu for another four years.
The political parties that collapsed their structures for the endorsement are Social Democratic Party, SDP, Accord Party, AP, KOWA, and 32 others.
Addressing journalists during the endorsement in Benin, spokesman for the coalition, Mr. Collins Dare Oreruan, said their endorsement became necessary in order to give them the opportunity to consolidate on the good work Obaseki has already started in the state.
He said to sustain the rapid development that is currently going on in the state, it is very important for others who have indicated their interest to contest in the forthcoming governorship election in the state to jettison such idea and support Obaseki to actualize his dream for the state.
“The coalition of 35 registered and the recently deregistered political parties in Edo State have joined their structures together to endorse and massively support the reelection of Governor Godwin Obaseki and Phillip Shaibu for another four years.
“We resolved that instead of acting as individual entities, it will be more effective to support the governor as a block with our existing party structures across the state. We also resolved to advise our individual governorship candidates to withdraw and join hands with Governor Obaseki to build on the growth and developmental legacies and foundation he has laid in his first tenure”, he said.
Oreruan stated that the forthcoming election is not about religious titles but about the civility, order, very peaceful atmosphere pervading the state under the current administration of Obaseki, just as he said that it is about the liberation of “our market women and men from multiple levies/taxes and harassment by touts”.
He reiterated that their campaigns shall be issue-based, highlighting the visible projects and programmes of the state governor, devoid of lies, false propaganda, insults and character assassination and violence.
Reacting to the endorsement, the State Media Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress for the Edo governorship election, accused the political parties involved of doing so in exchange for cash payments.
The Council in a press statement signed by its Chairman, Mr. John Mayaki, said the ‘motley of parties’ have sold out their platforms and done irrevocable damage to their potential for growth in the state by agreeing to offer their support to a widely rejected governor.
“These parties, which ordinarily ought to present themselves to the people of Edo State as viable alternatives to build the necessary followership required for future relevance, have decided to instead cash in on the greed of their leaders and offer their platforms in exchange for an initial down payment of five million naira each, and an additional promise of 65 million naira to support a governor widely rejected in his state for his non-performance.
“With this act of betrayal and greed, it is safe to say that these parties have successfully and irrevocably done damage to their integrity and placed a final barrier to any potential for growth and relevance in Edo State.
“It is shameful, and unfortunate, how these persons negotiate with platforms that should contest with the major parties and force through policy changes if at all they cannot, by themselves, form the government in the interim.
“They make no attempt to increase their followership, present logical ideas to the people, or even make the most basic preparations for elections, whether statewide or grassroots. Rather, their entire existence is to negotiate and declare support for the highest bidder.
“Luckily for them, they have found a good client in the desperate and rejected Godwin Obaseki. As we have repeatedly said, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is not in the business of paying for support. This is why he has focused on selling his manifesto to the people through an issue-based campaign devoid of name-calling and propaganda. The support he enjoys now from the millions of people in the state, advocacy groups, political parties, and the many others that will endorse him in the immediate future is organic and based solely on their conviction.
“Obaseki can enjoy the few headlines and news mentions that these procured endorsements will fetch him but he must never lose sight of the fact that, in the final analysis, they are irrelevant and incapable of changing the minds of the majority of Edo people who will be voting the All Progressives Congress on the 19th of September”, the statement said.