- Oba Of Benin calls for peaceful campaigns, election
- Presidency blasts PDP over attacks on Buhari, Ize-Iyamu
- INEC: No plan to shift governorship polls
Before a teeming crowd comprising 11 state governors, ministers, All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains and party supporters, the APC on Saturday got its campaign in Benin for the September 19 governorship election underway, optimistic of victory.
Speaker after speaker at the rally held at the Sports Complex of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) said the party’s flag bearer in the election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has all it takes to take the state to a higher level of development if he wins the election.
The Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, told APC chieftains who paid him a courtesy visit shortly before the rally that the state deserves peaceful campaigns and election, and all the parties should play the game according to the rule.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it would not shift the election because of threats of violence by the political parties and their candidates.
National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said although the commission is disturbed by the situation in Edo State, it is not considering postponing the polls.
The immediate past national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, hailed the APC governors at the rally for identifying with the great people of Edo State and to “show that we will have a governor who will return Edo to earmark from ‘eyemark.’
He said: “I will tell you why the outgoing governor (Obaseki) is gone. G.O. in Godwin Obaseki means go. Pastor Ize-Iyamu will come and rekindle, re-energise, digitalise, consolidate, advance and prosper Edo people.
“Never again shall we have a governor who will describe Edo youths as miscreants. We do not have miscreants in Edo State. It is the business of the governor and the government to empower the poor and elevate them to the position of dignity.
When you have a governor who was unknown, talking down on his people, if you talk down on your people, God will talk down on you.
“Never again shall we have a governor who will invite the Vice-President (Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN) of Nigeria to come for groundbreaking of a forest for industrial park in Benin and that MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) had been signed and the Chinese would come, with electric power for 24 hours non-stop, but today, the bush is there.
“Even the 2 by 2 room they arranged for the Vice-President when the groundbreaking was done has been removed. Do you want government by MoU again?
“Never again shall we have a governor who will tell us that in two years, by November 2018, we are going to have a modular refinery, creating jobs for millions of Edo people.
“Never again shall we have a governor by MoU for MoU, benefitting only consultants. Do you want government by consultancy?
“Never again shall we have a governor who, when we have created a University of Education at Ekiadolor, a College of Education that was upgraded to a university and it was passed into law by Edo State House of Assembly, so that we can raise the quality of teachers to people who have at least Bachelor’s degree to teach in our secondary schools, a governor, who is a son of the land (Edo) closed down the institution.
“For nine months, nothing is going on. A governor that closed down the Institute of Nursing. A governor that closed down the College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi. It is a government of closure and closure. The next governor, Ize-Iyamu, from November 12, 2020, has the business of reopening and reopening.
“Edo must return to high mark. We cannot accept that
we spent Edo taxpayers’ money to build a five-star hospital (Edo Specialist Hospital, Benin) and it is equipped, but as we speak, the hospital is being managed by people who are not from Edo State and they are being paid money every day and only open to people who are rich.
“We did not build the hospital for the rich. We used the money/taxes of the motor mechanics, the market women, the youths, artisans and bricklayers when I was governor to build the hospital. When Ize-Iyamu becomes Edo governor, the hospital will be returned to the rich and the poor people of Edo State.
“Never again should a governor who knows that he has only three credits in Religious Knowledge, History and Geography, and he told the people of Edo State that the three credits took him to the University of Ibadan (UI). We will dismiss him in court.
“You can see the level of confidence of APC governors in Ize-Iyamu. For the past two days, our governors devoted their time in Abuja and in Edo State.
‘On Friday, I was excited when the Progressive Governors’ Forum Chairman and Chairman of the campaign presented our candidate (Ize-Iyamu) to President Muhammadu Buhari and it is now in history as the only man who got the flag from the President, right in the Villa. Can you now see the difference?
“When they want violence, say no. We have chosen peace. When they preach violence, preach peace. We rely on God. Every weapon of violence that is being fashioned by those who are about to lose election, shall not prosper.
“People that have come to provoke us, God will give us the strength to resist them. What we know is the weapon of PVC. Those who are looking for guns and bullets shall not prosper.”
Also speaking, the National Caretaker Committee Chairman of APC, Mai Mala Buni, said: “We are here to take back our mandate, to take back our state. Four years ago, we were here. You have voted for APC and we have no doubt in our minds that you are going to vote for APC and return our mandate in Edo State.
“We are here to admonish you not to be violent throughout the campaign processes and the election, because victory is ours. We are here to win and not to fight. But we must ensure that every vote must count.”
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, who is the chairman of the APC Campaign Council, said: “From the crowd that we have seen, we have to conclude that this election will be won by the APC.
“I have to congratulate you on the inauguration of 14 elected state House of Assembly members and also the election of the new principal officers of Edo State House of Assembly. We do congratulate you and we pray Almighty God to guide them for successful deliberations in Edo State House of Assembly.
“In fact, we were astonished. We were surprised. We were shocked. For 13 good months, 14 members were not inaugurated. But now, we have succeeded. Three other legislators, including the deputy speaker, have now joined the successful 14. Now, they have 17. Seventeen is more than two thirds of 24 legislators. We have more than two thirds. We thank you for that.”
Ize-Iyamu, in his remarks after receiving the party’s flag, thanked the people of Edo State, all the governors of APC, present and absent, other leaders and members of APC, for their support.
He said: “My job is just to thank all our national leaders for coming to identify with us. With the people (crowd) we are seeing today, will anybody say we are in opposition? Can anybody say we will be intimidated? Who will win the election? APC.
“I want to assure you that in this election (on September 19), we will not only win, we will win the 18 local governments.
“Let me assure you that never again shall we have a governor that is ungrateful. We will have a governor that will respect Edo people, a governor that you can access, a governor that can empower our people and, by the grace of God, I will do these and more.”
The governorship candidate said that from tomorrow, he and other APC stakeholders would begin to move from local government to local government, while encouraging members of the party to go back to their units to continue campaigning, in order to ensure victory on September 19.
Present at the rally were Governors Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Atiku Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Hope Uzodimma (Imo), Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger) and the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Chief David Onoja.
The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; the Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; and many leaders of APC were at also in attendance.
READ ALSO: Buhari endorses Ize-Iyamu in Aso Rock, tasks APC to win Edo
We want peaceful campaigns, election, says Oba of Benin
The Oba of Benin, during the courtesy visit by APC leaders, called on the candidates contesting next month’s election to preach peace and shun campaign of calumny.
He maintained that his palace has always remained neutral in Edo politics, because all the people involved in the election are his children and that the palace has been able to do that because of the strict adherence to the laid-down rules by their forefathers.
Ewuare II said: “The throne is not partisan. And this is because of the expectations of our people and because of the laid-down rules by our forefathers. We see everybody as our children.
“It is said that the voice of men is the voice of God. It is when the people make their choice to elect the person they want as a governor, and after that, we will pray for the person who has been elected as governor to succeed in office. The palace is never partisan.”
Oba of Benin also stated that the throne was particularly concerned about the person who would have respect for the throne, traditional institutions and create employment for the people of Edo state, so that they could take care of their family members.
He also placed emphasis on the importance of prayers for a peaceful election in Edo state, stressing that prayers were more powerful than guns.
Buni earlier informed the Oba of Benin that the APC leaders were in his palace to seek royal blessings for successful campaigns and election in Edo, while declaring that APC was ready to take Edo back from the PDP on September 19, in order to ensure good governance and move the state forward.
INEC: no plan to shift Edo polls
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said on Saturday that it would not shift the election on the strength of threats of violence by political parties and their candidates.
National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said that even though the Commission is disturbed by the situation in Edo State, it is not considering postponing the polls.
According to him, INEC has sufficiently warned candidates and parties participating in the election that it will not take kindly to attempts to compromise the electoral process by inviting violence.
He said: “INEC has warned that it will halt the process if the parties result to violence. We have met over the matter and warned that we will not allow any act of violence. But that does not mean that we are shifting the poll.”
INEC National Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, had said that the Commission would invite not just the candidates and their parties but the Campaign Councils.
He said: “We are carefully monitoring what is happening in Edo State and also in Ondo. The Commission will be meeting tomorrow and given the urgency of the situation in Edo State, we may have to immediately call a meeting of not just the candidates and the political parties but also the Campaign Councils, but whatever we have to do to stem the ugly report of violence so far or threat of it.”