From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Almost all the aspirants for the Edo State governorship elections have beaten the deadline for the return of nomination and interest forms ahead of the commencement of the screening schedule for Wednesday, June 8.
The headquarters of the ruling party was a beehive of activities yesterday as one aspirant after the another, ranging from the Deputy Governor to the alleged anointed candidate, Godwin Obaseki, stormed the secretariat with supporters, hired crowds and members of the State and National Assemblies.
However, one factor that took shine off the glamour was the allegation from the camp of Charles Ehigie Airhiavebere (Rtd) accusing the Obaseki camp of buying up Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) from the delegates expected to vote at the primaries.
Airhiavebere, who levelled the allegation, said: “That information is very correct. Delegates have been reporting that some members of the public have been moving around, buying PVCs for N5,000.
“There are two sides to it. It is a gross abuse of human rights probably because N5,000 means a lot for the delegates. So, you look at the contract involved, the considerations for you to part with what is your fundamental human rights. It is delicate, it is a challenge a leader has to face in the future.
“It is painful. In fact, one of us recently had to put it on television that our people should not sell their birth right. The media is working against it. People called me yesterday from Esan and said that they had to refuse and drive away the member of the party that came to pick those PVCs.
“Sincerely speaking, I don’t know what they want to do with it; it could be probably for cloning, a very dangerous precedence, definitely fraudulent and will not be acceptable by those of us that are standing before you especially myself’’. Defending when confronted with the allegation, Obaseki, said: “I don’t think Chris Ogiemwonyi can say that; he is too responsible to say such a thing; I was in Auchi yesterday where Hon. Philip Shuaibu hosted about 400 delegates and we were all seated there and they all (delegates) have their voter cards.”
Sept 10 election will be easiest for APC -Oshiomhole
From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Governor Adams Oshiomhole, has expressed confidence that the forthcoming election in the state would be the easiest for his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), to win.
Speaking at the APC South South Zone Solidarity Rally tagged “Consolidate the change Mantra”, in Benin, the governor hinged his optimism on the performance of his administration in the state and defection of key members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC.
“As far as I am concerned, the coming election in Edo State will be the easiest. The key people who have electoral value have left PDP to join APC. I believe that the way to victory we have identified it early, which is performance”, he said.
The governor who reeled out the performance of his administration in different sectors, including regular payment of salaries and new minimum wage of N25,000, declared: “we have shown that government is about what is possible, not what is not possible.
“Edo people believe that they have a government that is working for them. So, I believe that we have laid foundation for what will make us to continue to control the government of this state”, he said.
Governor Oshiomhole while disclosing that the state government has paid mobilisation fees for the construction of two new roads in Esan West and Owan West local government areas, assured that the APC governorship primaries for Edo State to be conducted by the National Secretariat of the party, will be free and fair, adding “proper primaries have always worked for APC and we will repeat that”.
He said that reconciliation after primaries was unnecessary, stressing that whoever wants to be governor must know that “whatever you cannot sacrifice, don’t give it”.
He also stated that the idea of solidarity rally for the election was premature for now, adding that it would have been proper if a candidate for the election had emerged.
Don Pedro quits APC, alleges governorship primaries compromised
Worried that the Edo State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primaries may not be free and fair, an aspirant in the contest, Don Pedro Obaseki, yesterday announced the withdrawal of membership from the APC. He also announced that he would contest the September 10 governorship election under a new platform which he is yet to disclose, adding that he was still consulting and that in few days time, he would declare his next destination.
Pedro Obaseki is a nephew to Godwin Obaseki, a leading aspirant in the APC in the state.
He told journalists yesterday that he has lost faith in the forthcoming primary of the APC but insisted: “I am undoubtedly running for, and shall contest the 2016 Edo governorship election slated for September 10, 2016”.
According to Obaseki, a former Managing Director of DAAR Communications, it was becoming obvious to him that the outcome of the primaries was already pre-determined to favour a particular aspirant and that the delegates were just awaiting to rubber stamp the aspirant.
“I have lost faith in the primary process. Unfortunately, I was in Abuja on Thursday and I stumbled into a document that I cannot divulge to the public for security reasons that makes it obviously clear that all those who are buying or who have bought their forms to contest the primaries of the APC are wasting their time. As an academic and someone who is guided by thesis, antithesis and syntheses, I elected to withdraw my intention to contest the primaries of the APC; I will not tell you that I am no longer a member of the APC but I am more interested in being an E.D.O. (Empower, Develop and Opportunities) man than an APC man, I will rather be an EDO man than being a PDP. I am not running for the election as an APC candidate anymore. I am running for the election as EDO candidate on September 10.
“I have therefore elected upon wide consultations with my immediate and extended family, supporters, friends and well wishers, not to pay the unwholesome sum of N5.500,000 for the expression of interest, and nomination forms of the APC”.
He alleged that the coming primaries of the APC would be the most expensive in the history of the state as he alleged that the about 3,000 delegates would be bribed with N200,000 each.
“As a progressive, this is a painful, heart-wrenching decision for me. But I will rather sacrifice my APCness, so as to raise the banner of my EDOnes. Edo is my life and lifeline. Edo is in my DNA. I call on our youth, women, elders, traditional and religious fathers to aid us in this herculean task of making Edo truly great”, Obaseki said.
His withdrawal from the APC in spite of assurances from the party that the prrimary will be free and fair, has raised questions ahead of the conduct of the primary.
I’m not desperate to be governor -Ize-Iyamu
By Ndubuisi Orji
A Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) aspirant, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has said that he is not desperate to be governor.
Speaking in a recent interview, Ize-Iyamu, who is a former Chief of Staff and Secretary to the State Government, said he means well for the state, noting that anyone who genuinely want to serve the people cannot be desperate.
He, however, stated that he has all it takes to make a positive difference in the administration of the state if voted in as governor. The gubernatorial hopeful is jostling for the ticket of his party alongside three other aspirants.
“It is when you have an ulterior motive that you are desperate. I want to be governor, but it cannot be at any cost, it cannot be at any cost. I want to assure you that I mean well.
The period that I was chief of staff and secretary to government opened my eyes to the workings of government. I am not a novice; I am not somebody that would need to learn the ropes; I don’t need months to understand how the government functions. I know what to do,” he said.
Ize-Iyamu added that:” What our people want today is somebody that is sincere, somebody they can trust, somebody who is accessible, somebody who understands the problem of the state and I can tell you honestly, I fit those requirements.
He said if elected governor, he would run a SIMPLE agenda, under which his administration would address security, social welfare, infrastructure, man power development, pursue public-private initiative , lead by example and create employment and empowerment for the people.