By Gabriel Enogholase
BENINâ€”AS the Action Congress (AC) flagged off its campaign for this weekend bye- election in Akoko-Edo 1 constituency into State House of Assembly, no fewer than 5,000 members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have defected to the party in the constituency.
Addressing the mammoth crowd at Ibillo Square, venue of the campaign rally, Governor Adams Oshiomhole denied claims by the PDPÂ that he (Oshiomhole) was their member, adding that a vote for the AC was a vote for quality education.
â€œToday, I want to repair schools but I cannot repair schools because the House will not approve of the board. If we have majority in the House, the board would have been approved. I want you to understand that in voting for him, you are voting for good education, in voting for him you are giving us powers to tar these roads.
â€œThe desire to set our people free and when our people go out to vote those vote must count. Nobody can be in government except at the pleasure of the people of Edo State and we will do everything possible”.
There will be no peace in the land if there is no genuine electionÂ Â and we are committed to that.
â€œWe learnt that some of them are saying that they donâ€™t need your vote and that soldiers would be brought to rig the election. As Governor of Edo State, the Nigeria Army is for the Nigeria people. If any retired colonel told you he would bring soldiers to rig election, tell him soldiers are for the Nigeria people and not to rig election. For us in Edo State, we have made a statement and we would defend it.
â€œThe vote of our people must count. We will ensure one man one vote. Anybody who is fooling himself, who think that Nigeria belongs to him, that we must remain a primitive country where the citizens have no right to vote, they must be fought and fought until we defeat them.
â€œI asked you on Saturday on the 22nd to use your voterâ€™s card to chase off election riggers. Do not be ashamed or afraid because you are not election riggers. Only those who have been caught in the act, whose election have been nullified, they are the ones who will go like conquered vultures.
â€œWhen you have all voted, who can defeat you? There is nothing that God has willed that man can stop. Kabiru has been fighting for two years with his bare hands.
â€œ Do not be tired. You know why we need him, we need to have men and women in the House who will legislate for the good governance of our state.â€
The contending candidates in the re-run election are Alhaji Adjoto Kabiru of the Action Congress, Mr. Anslem Agbabi of the Peoples Democratic Party, the All Nigeria Peoples Party candidate Mr. Agbaje Daniel and Mr. Olaniyi Salami of the Peoples Progressive Party respectively.
Also addressing the mammoth crowd, former Chief Whip in the Senate, Senator Roland Owie, told them not to be afraid of election riggers and urged them to visit Benin City and see the good works of AC led administration of Oshiomhole.
He said the PDP has failed in its responsibility of providing accessible roads for the community, and urged the people to reject the PDP candidate, Mr. Anslem Agbabi, who spent six years in the State House of Assembly without any concrete achievements.
Also addressing the rally, State Chairman of Labour Party, Dr. John Ogbeide, re-emphasised the alliance between the LP and AC in the state and called on LP members in the locality to vote en masse for AC candidate.
He told them that their votes would put an end to the frustration of Oshiomholeâ€™s laudable programmes by some disgruntled elements, adding that the fight against oppression, injustice, misrule, abuse of power would not be achieved if the AC had no majority in the Assembly.
State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr.Tunde Lakoju, said the PDP does not believe in the voting system but in rigging.
He alleged that the PDP has perfected plans to rig the re-run election by registering only PDP members in collaboration with INEC, who took the collating centre to Aiyegunle, Tunde Akogunâ€™s home town.