The All Progressives Congress (APC) says it is deeply humbled by the massive turnout, and support the people of Edo state extended to the Party’s National Campaign Council during Saturday’s campaign flagoff of its governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and running mate, Gani Audu ahead of the September 19 governorship election in the state.
The party spoke as Rivers State Governor, Barrister Nyesom Wike, berated former Edo Governor and APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s for questioning Governor Godwin Obaseki’s academic qualifications when he has nothing to show.
Said APC in a statement: “The Edo electorate have sent a clear message on the governance direction of the state – a progressive one which puts the people’s welfare and interests first. As a party, we don’t take this overwhelming support for granted.
“The Party particularly thanks the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II for the very warm reception and hospitality His Royal Highness extended to our party leaders during the courtesy visit to the Palace. We pray the Almighty God continues to grant the revered Oba of Benin the wisdom to guide the good people of Edo state on the right and progressive path.
“President Muhammadu Buhari in endorsing the APC governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu charged the APC leadership to prosecute and win the Edo State governorship election using all legal and constitutional means by avoiding the pitfalls that affected the party’s victory in Rivers, Zamfara and Bayelsa states during and after the 2019 elections. This we intend to achieve with the new and positive party disposition under the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led APC Caretaker Committee.
“We congratulate the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led APC Caretaker Committee for successfully bringing together party ranks as a repositioned, united and happy family in total support of the APC governorship candidate. Going forward, the task before us is to collectively showcase our evident people-focused development records to the good people of Edo state.
“As articulated in Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s six-point ‘SIMPLE agenda’ that stands for Security, Infrastructural development, Manpower development, Public Private Partnership, Leadership and Employment creation, the APC campaign will be issue-based and devoid of the do-or-die rhetoric and scare tactics the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is deploying ahead of the September 19 governorship election.
“We stand with the good people of Edo state that votes must count and the will of the Edo electorate must prevail.
Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike has denounced claims by former Edo Governor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governor Godwin Obaseki lacked required academic credentials to contest the September 19 poll.”
But Wike, in a statement by his Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, said Oshiomhole did not have the moral standing to question his successor’s qualifications.
The Governor, who is also Chairman of PDP National Campaign Council for the Edo 2020 Governorship Election, dismissed issues surrounding Obaseki’s certificates.
Reacting to comments by Oshiomhole during the flag off of the APC Governorship Campaign in Edo, Wike berated the former APC National Chairman for his continued claims despite affirmation by the University of Ibadan that Obaseki is an alumnus.
Wike challenged Oshiomhole to present his academic certificate and stop discouraging Edo people from voting a candidate he once claimed was the brainbox of his administration’s achievements.
He said: “The certificate claims about Governor Obaseki by the former APC National Chairman is a non-issue because he is the best candidate for Edo State.
“It is unfortunate that we are in a country that somebody that does not have a certificate will question the one that has.
“Oshiomhole has trade test which is not an academic qualification. I challenge him to show the world his academic qualification.
“Oshiomhole is trying to tell Edo people whatever he decides is what will be and this is an opportunity for Edo people to say no.
“His claim that if APC loses the election they will secure the mandate through the courts is a total confirmation that the party cannot win the Edo election through the ballot box.
“Securing victory through the courts will be null and void as there are still Judges in Nigeria with conscience who cannot dance to the tune of the APC”.
Meanwhile, the National Consultative Front, NCFront, a group that says it was newly floated mobilisation platform towards the formation of a credible alternative political bloc to the ruling power in Nigeria expressed concern at the violence and brigandage that greets elections in Nigeria.
The group add: “This ugly and unflattering development in our country runs against the tenets of democracy and civility and should trouble all patriotic citizens.
“It is in this regard that we view the signals emerging from Edo State in the run up to the September 19th, 2020 gubernatorial elections as advancing despicable acts of desperation clothed in violence and rascality of a frighteningly dangerous proportion. Elections, to us, should not be a matter of ‘do or die’ if the end intention is to provide selfless service to the citizenry. Therefore, when the level of desperation to win elections at all cost becomes evident as in the case of the run up to the Edo elections, it suggests that other considerations outside selfless service to the people may be the priority and this should not be allowed to fester as it endangers and negates civil democratic governance
“NCFront therefore cautions all participants and actors, especially lawmakers in the state, who are presently engage in political harakiri and brinkmanship to urgently turn a new leave to play by the rules and shun all acts that can further heighten tension and endanger the very wellbeing of the Edo people, their lives and properties these political gladiators claim to be aspiring to protect. The INEC is also enjoined to ensure a level playing ground for all participants, while security agencies are expected to maintain the neutrality required and necessary for their respectable non partisanship.
“Furthermore, granted that the presidency may have partisan political interests in the outcome of the elections, it must be understood that Government has a higher responsibility and duty of ensuring an equitably peaceful environment for all parties in the elections in ensuring a free and fair contest, if the outcome of the election is to enjoy popular legitimacy, reflect the choice of the electorate and stabilize the polity.
“The NCFront however wishes to observes that a combination of dwindling economy, unemployment, poverty, insecurity, poor infrastructure during the present COVID-19 pandemic etc have already in effect taken serious toll on the wellbeing and psychology of populace and therefore to introduce electoral violence into the mix may be too much for the Edo people and electorates to bear. The NCFront therefore wishes to admonishes all stakeholders, particularly the Federal Government, constitutionally charged with ensuring security in the electoral process to take urgent steps to de-escalate the palpable tension thrown up in Edo state, while ensuring that a peaceful, free and fair electoral process is enthroned devoid of violence and brigandage
“Finally, NCFront views INEC’s preemptive threat to halt the elections as unhelpful. What we think is needed is for security agencies to immediately get on top of the situation and provide formidable and dynamic security initiatives to secure a level playing ground in the run up to the elections, while working in harmony with INEC to guarantee the sanctity and integrity of the elections and its outcome.”
▪︎Additional reports by The Nation