From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Reactions, Wednesday, trailed the demolition of the houses of ex-Deputy Governor Dr Pius Odubu, Prof Julius Ihonvbere and Mike Itemuagbon, by the Edo State Government, with the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) condemning the action and describing it as ‘wanton, unwholesome and sacrilegious.’
The party, in a statement by its Edo State Publicity Secretary, Chris Azebamwan, said that Governor Godwin Obaseki’s resort to ‘regularly and wilfully demolish properties belonging to perceived opponents, and dissenting or critical voices in the state,’ is meant ‘to foist a siege mentality on the citizenry.’
The statement reads:
‘We recall that Governor Obaseki about this same time last year demolished the private property of another APC chieftain, Mr Tony Kabaka Adun. Unchallenged he has taken a step further, all in a bid to intimidate, suppress, hound, crush and silence his perceived enemies.
‘No doubt, it is part of the governor’s ‘Make Edo State Great Again’ agenda to regularly and wilfully demolish properties belonging to perceived opponents, and dissenting or critical voices in the state, in the bid to foist a siege mentality on the citizenry.
‘It is on record that Governor Obaseki had earlier this year revoked the Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) of the various properties, but the demolition carried out while the case is in court, is unacceptable because it amounts to a subversion of the rule of law.The proper thing is for the state government to wait for the outcome of the court process but apparently because it knew that it was pursuing an illegal agenda, it demolished the properties.
‘We urge Governor Obaseki to perish the idea of trying to use false claims and propaganda to justify this wicked act, as such cannot hoodwink Edo people from the truth. We also reject this constant invasion of citizen’s privacy and demolition of their properties, as it is not only wicked, but cowardly; it is a direct recipe for crisis in our state.
‘We caution against future action in this guise, because it is borne out of hatred and political intolerance in furtherance of the larger plot by the PDP and its administration to destroy the fabric that binds Edo people, and eventually overheat the polity.
‘We dismiss the latterday reasons given by the Edo state government as dastardly, baseless, false and incongruous, because they fail to justify the unwarranted invasion, harassment of these innocent citizens who once served the state meritoriously, and demolition of their properties.
‘Edo people know how that the PDP and its government is unduly hounding, harassing and demolishing properties of citizens for daring to be among compatriots at the forefront of the quest to rescue our State from misrule and strangleholds of a cabal, that do not mean well for the people.
‘The Edo APC stands with Dr Odubu, Professor Ihonvbere, Mr Tony Kabaka and Mr Mike Itemuagbon, and cautions the State Government to henceforth steer clear of the properties belonging to APC members,’ the statement said.
Similarly, the Concerned Owan Group in its reaction, described the demolition of Professor Ihonvbere’s property as ‘a pure political vendetta that will surely turn against the Governor in due time,’ saying that Governor Godwin Obaseki is showing total disregard for the rule of law.
Spokesman of the group Ohis Ahmed, while strongly condemning the demolition, said the group is concerned with the governor’s disobedience to the rule of law.
He said with valid evidence available to them, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, the current member representing Owan Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, has a C of O, a building plan from the Obaseki’s government.
‘Obaseki in a revenge mission against opposition in the state, has carried out his earlier threats to demolish properties belonging to APC chieftains in the state.
‘This ugly, inhuman act is taking place at a time when the entire state is bedeviled with unprecedented levels of insecurity kidnapping, banditry, cultism in the state which clearly shows that the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has left governance for politics of bitterness and witch-hunting.
‘It is shameful and sad that Godwin Obaseki has abandoned his constitutional responsibilities to chase opposition in the state by destroying their properties. It is clear that he has no regard for the judiciary, neglecting the fact that the case is before the court and hearing is still ongoing in the matter,’ Ahmed said.