From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Despite the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s ) shift of the Edo State governorship election from September 10 to 28, there are still calls for further postponement.
INEC had cited securityconcerns expressed by the police and the Department of State Security (DSS), as the reason for the shift.
Yesterday, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Osaro Onaiwu, urged INEC to further shift the polls to what he called “earliest possible date of October 1st”.
He premised his argument in calling for the shift on the fact that students in Edo who are participating in the ongoing General Certificate of Education (GCE) examination, would write Physics subject on September 28, the new date of the election.
He said if the date was further shifted, it would enable students take part in the election after writing their exams, adding that education was a priority in APGA’s manifesto. He also stated that some of the students have threatened to sue INEC if they were prevented from voting in the election.
Reacting to the claim by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), that the party was on the verge of winning before the election was postponed, the APGA candidate queried “how do they know? Do they have everybody’s PVC?”.
He slammed the PDP for insisting that the election should have been allowed to go on. He said: “PDP is crying foul because they know what we don’t know. Since security agencies said the election was not possible, everybody should believe them”.
Onaiwu said he is confident that he will win at least 12 out of the 18 local government areas of the state. He said: The candidates of the APC and PDP are unpopular, and the feeling that the two parties were front runners in the election, is a creation of the media.”
He also said that he has campaigned at the grassroots more than all the candidates in the election, expressing confidence that the Igbo speaking residents, whom he says constitute 48 percent of Edo voters were ready to vote for him because of their attachment to APGA.
He said that from his findings, 30 percent of the voters were undecided, out which 10 percent was ready to vote for him as the credible alternative. He said: “If we had gone into the election last Saturday, there would have been a shocker in Edo”.
Sallah: Ize-Iyamu salutes Muslims, promises inclusive government
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has promised to carry all Edo people along irrespective of their religion and and ensure a brighter future for all if elected governor.
In his Sallah message, he promised that he will not be a sectional or clannish governor who would pitch one religion or tribe against the other just to achieve selfish political gains, which he says is a threat to the unity and peaceful co-existence of Edo people.
He said he would use his SIMPLE Agenda, as his administration would focus on building a safer and secure state by taking concrete steps to create jobs for all young people in Edo, and equip them to be employers of labour.
One of the ways he said this would be achieved is reviving all the industries that used to provide jobs, but have been shut down by the government in the past eight years.
“I am prepared to work assiduously toward increasing your opportunities to be skilled. I would equip and empower Edo people at the grassroots with small business loans to ensure that they do an honest day’s work”, he said.
The PDP candidate assured that his government will immediately proceed upon assuming office, “to build the infrastructure of the mind and soul where brother cares for brother and sister cares for sister and we all care for our senior citizens. We cannot allow our senior citizens retire into penury”.
He accused the APC-led government in the state of promising change, yet there is a decline in the standard of living across the country.
He said:“the APC-led government is owing pensioners their entitlements; local government workers are being owed arrears of salaries and the government has refused to employ workers in the civil service to continue governance in Edo.
“I sincerely celebrate with all our Muslims brethren in Edo state on yet another Eid-el-Kabir. They must realize that this is a period for sober reflection and an opportunity to appreciate the fact that God is merciful and has provided the opportunity of the September 28 election for all Edo people to change the government in our dear state for good.
“It is a divine call on all of us irrespective of our faith to join hands together to rebuild our state and to love one another, to eschew all forms of violence, adhere strictly to the noble tenets of Islam and peaceful coexistence and play our part to achieve the Edo state of our dreams.”
Pray for peaceful polls, Oshiomhole appeals to Muslims
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has urged Muslims in the state to pray for a successful election on September 28.
In his Eid-el-Kabir message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Peter Okhiria, the governor said: “I rejoice with my Muslim brethren on the celebration of the Eid-el-Kabir.
“Even as we rejoice and thank Allah for finding us worthy to be part of this year’s celebration, the essence and significant message which Eid-el-Kabir signifies must not be lost on the faithful.
“I urge the faithful to use the opportunity to deepen their faith in Allah as we have learnt from His beloved Prophet Ibrahim, that there is an abundant reward for fidelity to Allah’s injunctions.
“The nation’s economy is going through turbulence at the moment, but with Allah on our side and with the prayer of the faithful for our nation and for our President, Muhammadu Buhari who is totally committed to making a positive difference in the life of the nation, we will soon get out of the woods and deliver the real change we promised the nation.
“Our dear state is on the eve of another election, an election which will determine if we want to continue on the path of growth and progress or return to the past. I urge the Ummah to use their PVC’s wisely and vote right. Also importantly, I plead with the faithful not to relent in their fervent prayers and spiritual intercessions for the peace and success of the gubernatorial election.
“In the life of this administration, the Muslim faithful have been our firm supporters, interceding for this government and her functionaries, offering suggestions and advice when necessary. I remain grateful to you and pray Almighty Allah will reward you abundantly for your good deeds,” he stated.
The governor also prayed for the safe return of the nation’s pilgrims to the Holy land of Mecca and Medina.
PDP’ll win election convincingly –Ikimi
From Tony Osauzo
Member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees, (BoT), Chief Tom Ikimi, yesterday said that his party will win the elections resoundingly.
He said the magnitude of votes that Edo people will use for the PDP will be beyond the imagination of the APC and its leadership will not contemplate contesting the victory.
Chief Ikimi who addressed journalists in Benin City at the weekend, said the new date for the elections guarantees security for all and so voters will be better assured that they can go out and exercise their franchise to ‘change the change’.
“There is nothing to fear. The security is good everywhere. The leadership of our party is equal to the task and we shall win these elections resoundingly. The level of winning will be such that APC will not be able to contest the victory.
“We are now at the threshold of the election. We brought Oshiomhole seven and a half years ago and we are now determined that Oshiomhole should give way for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as successor”, Ikimi said.