…May shift poll again
From Jacob Edi, Abuja
Barring last minute changes, the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), will meet with security chiefs this week.
The decision to hold the meeting has heightened fears that the election may not hold as scheduled.
The election earlier slated for September 10 was postponed to September 28 due to security concerns.
But the latest fear, apart from the security situation, sources said, has to do with clash of date with the West African Senior School Certificate Examination.
No specific date has been fixed for the meeting expected to take place at the Presidential Villa but Daily Sun gathered that Tuesday has been tentatively agreed upon.
The meeting according to a highly placed source has only one agenda which is to consider issues surrounding the Edo governorship election.
IThe challenge of security chiefs, it was learnt at the weekend is not particularly about conducting the election but fears of post election crisis which will require more security forces to be stationed in Edo.
Sources in Abuja hinted that in view of the security situation around the country, it will be expedient to deploy security officers around the state at least one week before the Independence day celebrations.
This week’s meeting, it was gathered will have to strike a balance between the security concerns, INEC credibility in the eye of the opposition as well as logistics already committed to the aborted election.
When contacted, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, neither confirmed the meeting nor denied it.
“The security chiefs are already aware of the new date. They have been informed. You may want to check with them to confirm. The number of candidates writing the papers is small and consultations are going on. As far as INEC is concerned, we are ready ” he said in response to Daily Sun.
Ogbemudia endorses Obaseki
From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Former governor of Edo State and statesman, Samuel Ogbemudia on Sunday endorsed Mr Godwin Obaseki, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the election.
Ogbemudia gave the endorsement at a banquet organised by Gov. Adams Oshiomhole in Benin to celebrate his 84th birthday.
During the occasion, Oshiomhole announced the renaming of New Era College, built by Ogbemudia decades ago, as Dr Samuel Ogbemudia College.
The college fell into ruins before Oshiomhole rebuilt it.
It was the second time Oshiomhole honoured Ogbemudia, who was a former member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), until a few years ago when he quit.
In 2014, Oshiomhole’s government built an Ogbemudia Statue at the state-owned Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.
Oshiomhole told Ogbemudia at the birthday party, “you came, you saw and you conquered and Edo people are proud.
“Therefore, with your permission and in exercise of my privileges as governor of the greatest state in Nigeria, the only state that is up-to-date in payment of salaries in the entire South-South, the only state that increased minimum wage when others cannot pay, on behalf of government and people of Edo, New Era College will hereafter be named Dr Samuel Ogbemudia College”.
Responding, Ogbemudia was also full of encomiums for Oshiomhole.
He said: “my mission is not to come and praise you, but to catalogue your achievements so that the verdict of history will be in your favour.“You have done wonderfully well. Nowhere in this state, nowhere in this region, in all the six political regions can you find a building like this, the New Era College Hall, meant for a College.
“You have done wonderfully well. It is said that it is better to make history than to write it. You have made history today and you will always be remembered and your memory will never fail.”
Ogbemudia also canvassed votes for Mr Godwin Obaseki, the APC guber candidate in Edo.
The elder statesman said “I want to appeal to the people of Edo, through those who are here that Sept. 28 is a day of decision, a day on which we will decide our future.”
Rumour of my defection false –Onaiwu
The candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Osaro Onaiwu, has debunked rumour making the rounds that he has defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) or Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a statement in Benin, he explained that there was never a time he thought of defection from his party, APGA and urged all concerned Edo people and supporters not to be distracted and deceived by perpetrators of the rumour.
The APGA standard bearer said the rumour is only a wish of the APC and PDP.
He wondered how he could defect to two different political parties at the same time for one election.
Onaiwu emphasised that he is and remains the standard bearer of APGA in the forthcoming election.
He urged all eligible voters and supporters to stay resolute and entrust their mandate to him with their Permanent Voter Cards and vote him as the next governor of Edo State.
Oshiomhole, Onaiwu tackle Lucky Igbinedion over comment on election
The recent comment by former Governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, that his political family will produce the next governor of the state and that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will win the forthcoming election with a wide margin, has attracted reactions from Governor Adams Oshiomhole, and candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Osaro Onaiwu.
While Oshiomhole told his predecessor to simply go and rest and not worry about the outcome of the September 28 election, Onaiwu urged him to stay away from the electioneering campaigns if he (Lucky) does not want people to insult him.
According to Oshiomhole, it was not in the enlightened interest of Lucky ‘to say his political family will produce the next governor.’
The APGA candidate, Osaro Onaiwu, in his reaction said Edo people have forgiven Lucky but warned him to be prepared to accept any attacks from the people if he does not stay away.
“Lucky is my friend. He has governed this state for eight years. He should stay away from the political terrain because the candidate he is promoting does not have integrity. Edo people have forgiven Lucky Igbinedion. If he wants people to go back to history, whatever attacks he gets from people, he should accept it.
“Does he control people’s PVC for him to say the PDP will win with a wide margin except he has decided to clone people’s PVC.
He should stay away so that he does not get bullets. Ize-Iyamu does not have integrity to govern Edo State”, Onaiwu said.
On his part, Oshiomhole who spoke to reporters in Benin City at the 84th birthday celebration of Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia said he has made up his mind not to talk about his predecessor but that ‘God got Lucky under alcohol to make the comments’.
He said it was now for Edo people to choose whether they want the House of Igbinedion as represented by Pastor Ize-Iyamu to continue or they want to sustain the break from the House of Igbinedion, adding that they had to break the House of Igbinedion to deliver on all of democracy dividends across the state.
“The people have clear choice to make. You want Igbinedion era back because Ize-Iyamu has been straight forward on it that they want to change this change to the Igbinedion era. Lucky has confirmed that one of their own would be used to reverse the clock back.
“Edo cannot return to the House of the Igbinedion. Ize-Iyamu said Igbinedion birthday will now become state sponsored birthday. They want to use tax payers’ money to celebrate a man who has never served Edo State. I am proud to speak to Ogbemudia record. He is worth celebrating because everybody can point to what he did in every part of the state.
“Edo people have seen the light. They cannot go back to the dark era which the Igbinedion house represents. They will consolidate the present gain and raise it to a higher level by voting for Godwin Obaskei who is not and will never be part of the Igbinedion”, Oshiomhole declared.
Why I ‘ll be better governor-Ize-Iyamu
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has again appealed to eligible voters in Edo State to cast their votes for the PDP in the coming election because he is a better candidate having lived all his life in the state and knows the challenges and how to address them.
He was addressing stakeholders during flag stops at Umogun-Nokhua, Evboesi, and surrounding communities in Orhionwon local government area of the state, in continuation of his campaign tour to solicit votes for the PDP in the election.
He also said he is better equipped to govern the state because his interest in politics is not selfish but borne out of a desire to ensure that the commonwealth of the people is administered in the best possible way for the wellbeing of a greater number.
“I was born in Edo State. I schooled in Edo State. I worked in Edo State. I married from Edo State. My business is in Edo State. In fact, I have lived all my life in Edo State. To me, this means that I am completely committed to the prosperity of Edo State.
“I believe that we can make Edo better and greater than it is presently, so that our children can agree to live here and in turn help in contributing their own quota to the growth and development of our state.
“I ventured into politics because I am concerned about the situation of our state and the condition of our people. And that is because no matter the much you do as an individual, you can only scratch the surface.
“The only institution that has the capacity to contribute meaningfully to the welfare of many is the government. Government is the custodian of our commonwealth. So anybody with such passion like mine must be in government so that our commonwealth is used for the good of more people”, Ize-Iyamu told the people.
My plan for Edo health sector –Ize-Iyamu
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has disclosed that the government of Edo State under his leadership will make the good health of all the people its priority by working harmoniously with Medical Doctors.
Speaking at an interactive session with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), at the weekend, he promised to immediately pay them the one month outstanding salary owed them by the state government for participating in a nationwide strike called by the association early in the year.
“Anybody who values human life will not want a strike action from doctors not to talk of one lasting two months. Whatever arrears the Edo State government is owing the doctors, the outgoing governor has about a month or two to pay them, but if he fails which is very likely, it will be my priority as one of the liabilities we will inherit once we assume office”.
“For me, doctors are key to the success of my administration and we will do everything possible to work harmoniously with them. They are extremely important to the wellbeing of our state and it will make a lot of sense to deal with issues affecting them decisively”, Ize-Iyamu told the Doctors.
He promised that under his Simple Agenda, the State’s Comprehensive Health Plan would ensure that Primary Health Centres all over the state are rehabilitated, so that healthcare facilities become more accessible as well as get well-equipped with personnel, drugs and living quarters so that even medical doctors can accept to serve outside urban centres.
The PDP candidate painted a very gloomy picture of the state of the health sector in Edo State, lamenting that the State Sickle Cell Centre set up by the present governor’s predecessor in office has been bastardized with sickle cell sufferers left on their own.