Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, yesterday, accused the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state of planning violence and importing arms to intimidate and harass his supporters ahead of the September 19 governorship election.
The governor, who made the accusation while receiving Muslim leaders at Government House, in Benin City, expressed his readiness to stand with the people, defend their interests and develop the state.
“I am not afraid of any man but God. I know the gang up is to provoke me and my supporters but we will not fall for their tricks as God will help us. As I speak to you now, you can’t imagine that Police from Abuja are already in the state and have been paid to arrest our supporters. They have been paid by a billionaire to arrest Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) supporters in the state. This billionaire sponsored the attacks on me and other PDP governors at the Palace. This is to tell you the level of corruption and impunity we face.
“They are planning violence, bringing arms, intimidating our supporters as part of their strategy. They know that if we have a free and fair election, they stand no chance. Their strategy is to continue with their propaganda and lies. They know they don’t have a record of performance; their plan is just to intimidate our supporters and ensure they stay off the polling booth.
“They attacked my supporters and wanted me to react to the attacks. I will not attack them back because as the Chief Security Officer of the state, my responsibility is to maintain peace. We would continue to do that at all costs”, the governor said.
He assured Edo people that the developmental strides in the state had just begun as the first four year of his administration were used in laying the foundation which will be built on in the next four years.
“What Edo people have witnessed in the first four years is only the beginning of greater things. The first term is for laying the foundation for greatness. The foundation has been laid; we will build on it to make life better for Edo people.
“We have improved education, healthcare, agriculture, roads, infrastructure, environment, civil service and the economy of Edo State, ensuring that the life of every Edo man is improved for the better”, Obaseki added.
But reacting to the allegation, the State Chairman of APC Media Campign Council, Mr. John Mayaki, said in a statement that “Governor Godwin Obaseki is a confused man merely projecting the criminal plans his divided party, the PDP,is perfecting following the dawning realization that they have been rejected by the people of Edo State.
“The APC is the only party campaigning on its documented manifesto because our sole strategy to win the election is by winning the hearts and goodwill of our people through well-thought-out programs and policies that will bring relief and erase the failures of the past four years.
“Despite spending four years in office, Obaseki has neither achievements nor plans to show. He is campaigning largely on empty rhetorics, revisionism, and shameful blackmail and propaganda.
“Election may be weeks away but the truth has finally dawned on Obaseki. He is on his way to a sound, comprehensive defeat so like all failures, he is already preparing the grounds for his defeat with false, ridiculous accusations.
“He is also trying to deflect attention while himself and his party, already renowned for violence, continue to ferry thugs and cultists into the State to rig the election. But he will be resisted. Together with our people, we are going to keep watch and ensure the votes to return Obaseki to where he came from are protected and made to count”.
The Chief Imam of Benin Central Mosque, Alhaji Fatai Enabulele, who led leaders of the Islamic community drawn from different parts of the state to pay Sallah homage to the governor, said Muslims in the state are proud of Governor Obaseki for the developmental strides recorded in the state.
He said the governor has done well in the last four years of his administration, reassuring that the Muslims in the state will reward him with their votes come September 19, 2020.
Enabulele noted: “You have scored distinction in your first term and we will overwhelmingly reward you with another four years in office by casting our vote for you in the forthcoming governorship election.
“The election is not about religion or tribal sentiments but about understanding the vision and mission of Edo people and Obaseki understand this.”
“Your administration has provided progressive, pragmatic, dynamic policies and programmes to touch the lives of millions of Edo people across the state and beyond,” the cleric added.